Green Smoothies Gone Wrong: 3 Common Side Effects & How To Fix Them

Green smoothie side effects.

Green smoothies are the ultimate health food! They have a wide range of health benefits including weight loss.

I have collected hundreds of incredible testimonials from readers over the last decade describing incredible health transformations.

However, there can be a few side effects and I’ll talk about the three most common ones there, and how to fix them.

These side effects include gas and bloating, constipation, and a burning sensation in the mouth and throat after drinking one.

Let’s start with gas and bloating…

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1) Gas & Bloating After Drinking Green Smoothies

Gas and bloating can be caused by a variety of foods or medical conditions.

Since there are so many possible causes ranging from certain food combinations to serious gastro-intestinal health problems, this article will only address acute gas and bloating immediately after consuming a green smoothie. I’ll assume that you are a healthy individual who doesn’t typically get indigestion.

I will also assume that you’ve only noticed gas and bloating after drinking green smoothies (or eating more fruit than usual). If this does not describe you, you should consider consulting a licensed physician or practitioner who can diagnose the problem (perhaps it’s a food intolerance).

In my experience, the three most likely causes of gas and bloating after drinking a green smoothie are:

1 – Sudden Increase Of Fruit & Fiber

If you are coming from a typical diet, then suddenly start drinking meal-replacement green smoothies, your body may need a few days to adjust to the change.

The sudden increase of fiber and fruit can shock your digestive system. It tends to work itself out after a few days.

The simplest solution to this problem is to temporarily reduce your green smoothie consumption. If you make a full blender pitcher, drink half now and then finish the other half an hour or so later.

While it’s rare, a condition known as fructose malabsorption may cause gas, bloating, and intestinal discomfort after eating fruit.

2 – Mixing Too Much Fat With Fruit

The second common cause for feeling bloated after drinking a green smoothie is mixing too much fat with fruit.

Fruit digests rapidly while fats from nuts and seeds take much longer to digest. While a little fat digests fine with fruit, too much fat can cause gas and bloating.

If you eat a high-fat meal, then follow it with fruit, the fat will take its precious time digesting while the fruit, held up in your intestines by the slow-digesting fatty food, ferments in your gut. As a result, you feel like a balloon that is about to pop!

Everybody is different, so while I can add a tablespoon of ground flax seeds to my green smoothie with no effects, some people might feel a little bloated after such a combination – especially if they are new to green smoothies.

If you feel bloated after drinking a smoothie with avocado, cacao, or seeds in it, switch to some ultra-simple smoothie recipes for a week and only use one type of fruit and greens.

Be sure to drink your green smoothie by itself and do not eat anything for at least two hours before and after you have your smoothie. Simply have your smoothie first thing in the morning or as a snack between meals.

3) Food Intolerance

Some people might be sensitive to certain fruit combinations like sweet banana with acidic citrus.

Certain foods may cause digestion problem for sensitive individuals. Pineapples, kiwifruit, and citrus tend to be the most common fruits that cause digestion problem for people with sensitivities.

I have found through trial and error what foods I can safely add to or eat with my green smoothie. Unfortunately, it is different for everybody so I can’t tell you what you should or shouldn’t do. You have to figure it out for yourself.

2) Why Am I Constipated After Drinking A Green Smoothie?

Constipation can be a surprising side effect of increasing the amount of fiber in the diet for some people. Usually, this is a result of a sudden increase of fiber coupled with dehydration.

Let’s say that your usual fiber intake is around 12-15 grams per day, which is too low and the average most Americans get according to experts.

Then you suddenly hit your body with green smoothies. You dramatically increase your fruit and vegetable intake, which also boost your fiber. Maybe you double or triple your fiber intake suddenly.

On top of that, you have not increased your water intake. All of that soluble fiber in fruits and vegetables is now absorbing moisture in your intestines and slowly trudging through your bowels.

If you previously had a low-fiber diet that was not rich in fruits and vegetables, then increase your water intake. Cut back on your fruit and vegetables for a few days, then slowly increase them. This helps you acclimate your body and digestion to greater amounts of fiber.

Avoid taking fiber supplements if you are getting adequate fiber from green smoothies, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables. Reduce your consumption of dried or powdered foods (including superfoods).

If constipation continues to be a problem, or if it is a common problem for you no matter what diet you are on, then consult a qualified health practitioner who can help rule out any health issues.

3) Burning Sensation In The Mouth & Throat After Drinking A Green Smoothie

Green smoothies are delicious, nutritious super-meals. But for some people, certain ingredients used in a smoothie can bite back by inflicting a burning or itchy sensation in the mouth, or even causing blisters.

There are three main reasons why drinking a green smoothie might give you a burning sensation in your mouth or throat.

1) Oral Allergy Syndrome

The most common is that you have an allergy to one of the ingredients you used to make the smoothie.

Some of the most common allergenic fruits include bananas, mangoes, papaya, kiwifruit, apples, oranges, cantaloupes, and strawberries, to name a few. These fruits contain proteins that are similar to protein antigens found in pollen.

Itching, burning and even swelling of the lips can result from eating fruits that you are allergic to.

If you do not know which fruit is causing the allergic response, simplify your green smoothies by using only one fruit at a time.

For example, make a simple banana-spinach green smoothie, and if that has no negative effect, then add one additional fruit every few days until you isolate the culprit.

An allergy doctor can also help you determine what you are allergic to so that you can avoid fruits and/or vegetables that provoke a response in the future.

2) Bromelain Enzyme Burn

While I have never experienced a burning sensation from eating pineapple, some people do. For some, it may be Oral Allergy Syndrome.

However, that pineapple burn might not be allergies at all, and could be caused by a protein-digesting enzyme found in the fruit called bromelain.

If you are sensitive to this enzyme, it can cause tongue pain and burning shortly after eating fresh pineapple. Bromelain isn’t harmful, though, and the enzyme is deactivated by your stomach acid.

Bromelaine is especially concentrated in the tough, fibrous core of a pineapple. If you are sensitive to bromelain, don’t blend pineapple core into your green smoothies. Rinsing your mouth with salt water (bleck!) is said to quickly neutralize the burn.

3) Combining Maca Root Powder With Kale or Other Cruciferous Greens

While I haven’t found anything written about this, both my husband and I experience a burning sensation in our throats when we drink a green smoothie made with raw maca powder and kale. It also happens when we mix maca powder with any other cruciferous green.

I can make a maca-spinach green smoothie, or blend maca and dandelion greens just fine. And I can add all the kale I want to any combination of fruits in a green smoothie. But I just can’t choke down maca with crucifers.

I suspect that there is a naturally-occurring chemical compound in both maca and kale that becomes too concentrated when I mix the two.

I also need to be mindful when using certain protein powders that contain maca, because even just a little bit will cause the reaction.

While the above are the top three side effects that I’ve heard about with green smoothies, a few others include:

Detox Symptoms While Cleansing: Changing diets, or doing a cleanse, can cause a variety of unpleasant side effects known as “detox symptoms”. I’ve written an article about this here.

Gaining Weight Instead of Losing Weight: This is not caused by green smoothies (and no, it’s not because fruits have carbs or “too much sugar”. There is usually some other area of the diet that is interfering or blocking weight loss. Here’s some tips for a holistic approach to losing weight with green smoothies and whole foods.

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Magick Monday

Medical Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended to be used as medical advice or to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional. The statements made on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Always work directly with a qualified medical professional before attempting to treat any illness or medical condition with diet and lifestyle, or when changing or discontinuing any prescription medications. Always check with your doctor before starting any new diet or fitness program.