Over the past few years, smoothies have become increasingly popular and a staple in many diets.
Packed with plenty of fruit, vegetables, and other add-ins, these nutrient-rich drinks are a great way to get in your 5 a day.
But how long does it take to digest a smoothie?
How Long Does It Take to Digest a Smoothie?
There is no simple answer to how long it takes to digest a smoothie – as so many factors come into the equation.
Different ingredients, supplements, and liquid content all can make a difference to the time it takes.
However, it typically takes between 4 to 8 hours, depending on the person and ingredients used in the smoothie.
What Factors Affect How Long It Takes for Smoothies to Be Digested?
All smoothies are different depending on the different ingredients inside.
Several different ingredients can have diverse effects on how long it takes your body to digest each drink.
The first factor that can affect how long it takes your body to digest a smoothie is the fruit and vegetable content.
Smoothies that include fibrous fruits and vegetables can take a lot longer to digest.
Fiber aids digestion – but too much can mean the opposite. Excessive fiber can cause prolonged digestion, especially when combining fiber-rich ingredients like chia seeds or leafy greens every single day.
If you’re adding protein powders to your daily smoothie, the additional nutrients and various additives can require more time to be broken down and absorbed when compared to fruit-rich smoothies.
Your Body’s Health:
Your own body’s health plays a huge factor in how long it will take you to digest a smoothie.
Furthermore, your metabolism, gut health, and any underlying digestive issues can all play a part in how long it takes to process the drink.
The healthier your gut is, the quicker and more efficiently you’ll be able to process the smoothie.
Size matters! Quite simply, the bigger the smoothie, the longer it will take to digest. Smaller smoothies, with fewer ingredients, can be processed a lot quicker.
What Happens Once a Smoothie Is Eaten?
Involving several different stages, digestion is a complex process. After you eat a smoothie, a chain reaction of events is set off in your body, with the digestion process beginning as soon as you take that first sip.
While many of us assume digestion starts in the stomach, it actually begins the moment you start eating.
The saliva in your mouth includes different enzymes that begin breaking down the food almost immediately.
#2. The Smoothie Is Broken Down In The Stomach:
Once you have swallowed your smoothie, it heads straight to your stomach.
Like your mouth, your stomach is full of enzymes ready to break down your food, as well as stomach acid, which helps to break down various proteins.
Your stomach muscles will also work together to “churn” your stomach and help break down the smoothie into a more liquid form, ready for its long journey through your body.
#3. The Smoothie Travels To The Small Intestine:
After the stomach, your smoothie makes its way to the small intestine.
This is where your body will absorb the nutrients of your drink, and more enzymes will further break down the carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in your smoothie.
Once the different vitamins, minerals, and sugars in your smoothie have been broken down, they will be absorbed through the walls of the small intestine and sent around your body.
#5. Waste Goes In The Large Intestine:
Any undigested parts of your smoothie – such as insoluble fiber – will then travel into the large intestine. Once there, any water left in the smoothie is absorbed, and what remains is later excreted as waste.
#6. The Waste Exits The Body:
Finally, it’s time to use the bathroom – how long that process takes varies from person to person and depends on different factors such as fiber and protein content.
If you find your digestion is taking too long, use less fibrous ingredients for a few weeks to see if it makes a difference to your overall digestion.
If that doesn’t work, try adding more fiber for a few weeks to work out what works for you and your body.
How Long Does It Take to Digest a Smoothie: FAQs
How Long Does It Take to Digest a Smoothie And Poop It Out?
Digestion varies from person to person and on the ingredients inside your smoothie. For most people, this process takes between 24 and 72 hours from start to finish – however, many different factors can lengthen or shorten this time.
How Long Does it Take To Digest a Fruit And Vegetable Smoothie?
Fruit and vegetable-heavy smoothies can contain a lot of fiber; while fiber aids digestion, too much can make the process slower. A fruit and vegetable smoothie with high fiber content can take 2-4 hours at the stomach stage of digestion.
How Long Does It Take to Digest a Banana Shake?
Bananas are one of the easiest foods to digest and can be processed through the stomach in as little as 1-2 hours, unlike other fruits and vegetables, which can take double that time. That said, when you make a banana shake you’re often adding other ingredients – like protein powder, other supplements, and various liquids – each individually affecting the digestion time.