Yes, smoothies are incredibly delicious, fun to concoct, and can make ingesting superfood boosters and adaptogens easier than it is to actually pronounce them. But there’s something else that they’re doing for you that you don’t even realize: They make you feel fuller for longer.
According to a recent study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and reported by Science of Us, thick beverages keep you satiated for a decent amount of time (at least for an hour to an hour and a half)—no matter how many calories they contain.
It’s called “phantom fullness,” since more dense drinks make you feel more full, regardless of their nutritional value (though these healthy recipes for glowing skin are as healthy as they are delicious).
This contrasts with other more liquid drinks you mindlessly gulp down—like sodas or sugar-ridden beverages like orange juice—which don’t do you any favors when it comes to satisfying your hunger, according to the study.
To measure the effect of thick beverages, the study took 15 healthy volunteers who drank milkshakes (lucky!) that were either thick or watery and 500 or 100 calories, but had the same nutritional makeup. The volunteers were then scanned by an MRI various times to measure their stomachs and were asked at different time intervals to rate their level of fullness.
The thin, low-calorie shakes left the volunteers’ stomachs the quickest, and the lower-calorie ones took less time overall. But thickness had the highest influence on the volunteers feeling satiated—not calories.
“The viscosity is more important to increase the perceived fullness,” the conductors of the study wrote. “These results underscore the lack of the satiating efficiency of empty calories in quickly ingested drinks.”
So now we have more reasons to keep blending away—hey, if they’ll help fight that mid-morning attack of hunger pains, sign us up.