At least right after your workout that is. I know I sound like the Soup Nazi from that beloved episode of Seinfeld, but Smoothies!it’s for good reason. This idea concerning post workout shakes and fat loss first caught my attention in an article by my buddy Rusty Moore of the Fitness Black Book. But more recently, the LA Times has done a story about how having a smoothie rich in antioxidants may in fact throw off your insulin sensitivity after exercising:
In a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers at Harvard Medical School and elsewhere studied the vitamins’ effect on 39 young men. Half of the participants regularly got more than six hours of exercise per week and were assessed as pretty darn fit; the other half normally got less than two hours of exercise a week, which included the not-too-strenuous demands of daily life.
During the study, some of the men got extra daily doses of vitamin C and vitamin E (1,000 milligrams and 400 IU, respectively). Some of them didn’t. All were put through a four-week regimen of exercise.”
So what does this have to do with post workout smoothies??
And those workouts did increase insulin sensitivity — as such exercise is supposed to do — but only among the men not taking the vitamins.
The key here is free radicals – much-maligned molecules that we’re all happy to fight, regardless of whether we understand their function. Antioxidants, of course, are free-radical fighters — noble chemicals we’re all happy to purchase and consume, regardless of whether we understand their impact.
In this case, free radicals seem to enhance the body’s sensitivity to insulin. And antioxidants get in the way of that. Even in nutrition, few things are black and white.”
And as the dedicated readers of Go Healthy Go Fit that you are, I’m sure you know the consequences of insulin sensitivity and weight loss. But wait a minute… don’t most of the whole foods that we enjoy and recommend to each other contain lots of good antioxidants? What the heck are we supposed to eat after a workout anyways?!
The difference between a smoothie and a solid, wholesome meal is that a smoothie usually has extra vitamin supplements that simply bombard your system with more antioxidants than it really ever needs, post workout or not. Remember folks, sound health and nutrition is a balancing act. So simply over consuming things with ‘keywords’ like antioxidants, fiber, or protein is not necessarily the answer to your problems. You have to find that happy middle-ground where nutrients, calories, and variety produce a body that is in harmony with itself.
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