About Dr. Gourmet

My name is Timothy Harlan and I am both a physician and a chef. This blog is a general collection of information and random ideas on eating great food and eating healthy.

You can find out more at the Dr. Gourmet web site. Eat well, eat healthy, enjoy life!


Fruits; Juicing : Ask Dr. Gourmet

Dear Dr. Gourmet,

 Q: I understand that the sugar in fruit, when eaten in its natural form, is less fattening that its juice, because of the fiber. Am I losing this fiber when I pulverize the fruit for a smoothie in my blender?

A: Juice is a challenging drink that is often misunderstood.

When you compare the number of calories in a glass of apple juice vs. the calories in an apple, there is a dramatic difference. A 16 ounce bottle of apple juice contains 220 calories. A large apple, by contrast, comes in at only 116 calories. The problem is that most of the juices you purchase in the store have had all the good stuff removed. Juice and Fiber

 Q: I recently read in Woman’s World magazine that “A recent Texas Woman’s University study suggests that eating a half a cup of blueberries daily reduces the amount of fat your body stores from food by an incredible 27% and the more you eat, the more gets zapped! The berries are loaded with polyphenols that block the formation of new fat cells, as well as trigger the breakdown of existing fat cells, explains lead study author Shiwani Moghe, M.S. Avoid eating blueberries with milk or yogurt – proteins in dairy can block the polyphenols from being absorbed by the body.”

I always eat blueberries with yogurt. Is there credence to these claims about polyphenols blasting fat and that dairy can block them from being absorbed by the body? Do dairy products negate any of the other healthful benefits of any/all berries?

A: This is another one of the sensational items reported in the media as if it were a fact. They are knitting together a number of research studies in order to draw conclusions that have simply not been shown to be true in humans. The study you cite was performed in test tubes with cloned mice cells. It is an interesting finding, but at this time not much more than good dinner table conversation.

Likewise, there is no evidence that consuming fruit high in polyphenols and other antioxidants, in combination with yogurt or with other dairy products, has a significant effect on your health (other than the known positive effects of antioxidants). This is another place where people leap to conclusions that, while based on interesting research, don’t have known clinical significance in humans. Blueberries and Polyphenols

 Q: I am looking into getting a blender (not a juicer because I want to eat the fiber/nutrients in my fruits & vegetables). I have done some online research about Vitamix & Blendtec but they are very expensive. I was wondering if you have any recommendations. I should also say that I am on a budget as I am a school teacher and really don’t have a ton of money to spend on either of these.

A: You don’t need a fancy blender to juice. It is easier to juice with a more powerful blender, and you do risk burning out the motor if you use one that is not as powerful.

For instance, blenders like Vitamix and Blendtec are generally well over 1,000 watts, while a more common blender, such as those made by Oster, come in at about 400 watts. The difference can be, however, as much as 5 times the cost, with an Oster being about $60.00 and a Vitamix easily $300.00 or more. Blenders and Juicing

Have a question? Send it to askdrgourmet@drgourmet.com and your question may be answered in this newsletter. Dr. Harlan regrets that due to time constraints, he can not answer all questions submitted. Your question may already have been answered in our Ask Dr. Gourmet archive.

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