The nutrition and health scene will introduce you to many different techniques, phenomena, anecdotes, natural remedies, “cures”, and indubitably, myths. You may have come across the notion that blending your drinks can essentially kill off any nutritional value your drink may have.
Does this claim bear any weight? Well, the answer isn’t a straightforward yes or no.
The quick answers to this main question…Will probiotic bacteria be killed off during the blending process? Yes. Does it kill off enough bacteria to make a difference? No. Can loss of beneficial bacteria be prevented? Yes.
We’ll discuss all the details below, so make sure you read through our mini guide.
Does Blending Destroy Nutrients?
Blending is a harmless process to fibrous foods- all it will do is change the physical state of your nutrients. Fibrous foods may become more runny, but that’s about it. Blending doesn’t affect the richness of real grains’ nutrients and fibre, for example in nuts, beans, legumes, and pulses.
The notion that blending can result in nutrient loss is primarily a resultant thought of the oxidation process. The idea follows that oxygen enters the blender, getting sucked in and changing the molecular compound of the ingredients- hence reducing their nutritional value or richness. That’s why we’re told to always eat our ingredients wholly, in their raw, solid state- to preserve as much natural goodness as we can.
Most oxidation actually doesn’t occur during blending. There are far more common domestic processes that have higher risks of food oxidation- such as heat (boiling, steaming, poaching), air (drying), and UV light. The claims don’t hold much weight when considered relative to other commonly-used and overlooked processes.
So how much loss is there, really?
Many claims will tell you that you’ll lose up to 80% of the nutrients in your drink- which is anything but true! There are no scientific studies or backings, or even academic reports/theories from any previously-conducted experiments to validate these claims. Don’t pay too much heed to them.
Your blender requires power to blend, and the general rule of thumb is that energy is always wasted when it’s used by a process, in one form of the other. For a blender, the noise is one way in which energy is wasted- and the second is heat. Have you noticed how the base of your blender heats up after vigorous blending? This heat is likely to contribute to oxidation and result in minor nutrient loss.
Take this information with a grain of salt. Other processes such as chopping, juicing, peeling, cutting, and even chewing can result in oxidation- so don’t worry too much.
Why Does Blending Kill Probiotic Bacteria?
Probiotics are the “good bacteria”, or “live cultures” which reside in your fermented dairy products- such as cheese, butter, milk, and yoghurt. Cultures quite literally refer to a particular ‘culture’, or society, of bacteria. These are what catalyse many bodily process to help break down foods into energy, produce acids and chemicals which are beneficial to your body’s overall health, or help burn fat- for example.
The process of blending is designed to rapidly break down compounds into smaller ones, hence you are able to change solids like strawberries and bananas into a runny, liquified drink. Blending your drink as normal at around room temperature will only kill a minute quantity of bacteria. The amount is so insignificant, it won’t make a difference. However, if you’d like to be extra cautious, you may want to eliminate any chance of bacteria loss possible.
To ensure that as minimal as possible bacteria loss occurs, we recommend adding the yoghurt in towards the end of the blending process. This reduces the likelihood of negative reactions caused when probiotic bacteria comes into contact with the metal blender blades, hence lower breakdown of compounds. Essentially, it isn’t that easy to destroy your beneficial probiotic bacteria. You need to use various strong enzymes and high mechanical power to break down enough bacteria to a point where the drink just isn’t beneficial anymore.