Wow two posts in one day, lucky you. One thing that has been on my mind for some reason, and worth posting about here, is the consumption of smoothes or shakes. This can be either as a meal replacement or as a post workout recovery drink. Either way, I’m against it, and I consider the consumption of a smoothie as part of the 20%, regardless of how paleo its ingredients are. I am especially against anything made with protein power, as these powders are not paleo and will result in a spike of blood sugar level, especially post work out (more on that below).

That is not to say if I come across a great smoothie recipe I won’t post it here, but I definitely do not advocate the consumption of smoothies on a daily basis, especially post workout.

Why so down on smoothies? With food as a liquid, you are able to consume twice as many calories than if you eat real food. Plus as a liquid, your body will absorb, process, and digest what you just took in more quickly than it will with real food, leaving you hungry again in a short time, regardless of how much protein was in that thing. So if you’re starving again shortly, you gotta do something about it. Hello more caloric intake. Make sure this go around its more paleo though.

But doesn’t that mean I can consume twice as much protein in liquid form than by eating right? Technically, yes. But where is that protein coming from? Did you throw a couple of chicken or turkey breasts into the blender with some ice cubes and blend it? If so, and you drank it, you’re a better person than I am. But I’ll ask you, unless your jaw is wired shut, why didn’t you just eat the meat with some tobasco on it and stay full for a while? If you didn’t go for the blended meat option, was it made from a powder? Might as well just eat a handful of sugar cubes next time. Was it from Smoothie King or your local gym? Again, just eat some Peeps and get it over with.

Since we want a smoothie that also tastes great, they are typically sweetened. Whether it is naturally (fruit) or artificially (not fruit) it will tend to give you an insulin spike. After crushing a WOD, you need to refuel your body so it can repair the damage (literally) that you have just done. Your body is working to restore the muscle protein and glycogen that was spent during the workout.

With the consumption of a post workout smoothie (or protein shake) your blood sugar levels will rise or spike, resulting in your body over producing insulin to clear the blood of this spike. This spike is because of the short amount of time required for your body to process liquid food. The body will be able to clear your blood of the sugar but then store the excess insulin, and this storage is probably why you can’t lose that extra layer of body fat. Oh, and then you’re gonna be hungry again in a few minutes.

So, with a post workout meal, you fill up, and stay full. Plus with the food in your stomach, your blood sugar slowly rises (doesn’t spike like above) as the food is digested, resulting in a slow steady production of insulin. Since excess insulin isn’t produced it also isn’t stored in our “problem areas.”

This is the same response you’ll experience if you have a smoothie as a meal replacement too. The insulin response may not be as severe as post-WOD, but more damage than help will be done.

For more information on this topic, check out these references here and here.



About Mike

I work, I eat, I CrossFit and I blog about it. Contact me with questions, concerns, requests, gripes, and bitches at View all posts by Mike

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