You see so many healthy smoothie recipes and people promoting shakes. But are smoothies good for losing weight? Here is my review after losing 100 pounds.
I have lost 100 pounds myself and because I also run weight loss programs I'm pretty steeped in the whole world of weight loss.
And I constantly get different shakes (especially in my DMs on Instagram) like:
- Shakeology (from Beachbody)
- JuicePlus +
Chances are, if you've reviewed anything about weight loss or posted something related to weight loss, you've been inundated with ads and people telling you how bad it is. their specific weight loss smoothie or shake was crucial in weight loss.
And, of course, there are non-MLM shakes like Premier Protein that are hugely popular, along with endless “weight loss smoothie” recipes all over Pinterest.
But are shakes and smoothies really well to lose weight?
Usually my personal answer is no, but there is more to it than that, so I wanted to break down the pros and cons of smoothies for weight loss that I myself have experienced and seen in the women I work with. .
Keep in mind that these are general pros and cons, but every body is different.
What hasn't worked well for me might work well for you! I just wanted to share my own experience so that you have some information to take into account when making the best decision to create the diet that's right for you.
Weelicious drinks a smoothie every morning for breakfast and it works wonders for her and her family… but they don't use them for weight loss goals either.
I have found that when you bring any kind of food problem - overeating, binge eating, emotional eating, etc. - it really changes the way "normal" eating habits fit into your life.
So here are the pros and cons that I have found for using smoothies as part of your weight loss journey.
The benefits of smoothies and shakes
They are super practical.
So many protein shakes (like Premier Protein) come packaged and ready to drink, making them a very easy and convenient breakfast or snack option.
Even though they aren't completely premixed for you, they're quick and easy to mix in a blender or just mix with liquid and powder.
Everyone is always on the lookout for quick, ready-to-eat healthy snacks and meals, so I understand the appeal!
There was a short season of my weight loss where I would make a large batch of smoothies and pour them into little bottles and freeze them for a ready-to-eat breakfast.
They are a great way to incorporate good nutrition into your diet.
If your normal diet doesn't include a lot of fruits and vegetables, smoothies are a great way to pop them in to provide your body with extra nutrients.
When I was just trying to eat more vegetables (one small change at a time!), I used green smoothies to add spinach to my diet. I couldn't taste the vegetable at all, so it was really just a delicious and refreshing drink!
They taste good.
As I mentioned, "hiding" the spinach in a smoothie was easy when I covered the taste with fruit and protein powder!
Because most smoothies use a lot of fruit, they're pretty sweet and just taste great! Everyone loves when healthy foods are delicious too.
And the shakes can come in many mouthwatering flavor options - vanilla, chocolate, cake batter - yum!
The cons of smoothies and shakes
They are not as filling as real food.
This is the biggest downside to using a shake or smoothie for weight loss.
It seemed to me that no matter what ingredients I added to my smoothie, I would be hungry again an hour later. It's really bad for losing weight when you're trying to watch your calories, but they just don't fill you up, so you end up eating more and exceeding your calories or starving yourself (which usually leads to bingeing and exceeding your calories!).
Whole and raw foods are digested in our bodies very differently from mixed fruits and vegetables. When you puree food, you transform it, removing some of the work that your body would normally do (with chewing, etc.).
The simple act of chewing helps you feel full. And the faster you drink it, the less full you will feel.
Because you are able to drink a smoothie much faster than you could chew on all of the individual ingredients, you are not giving your brain and body enough time to sync up and tell each other that you have enough food to. feel. full.
Even though you technically get all of the fiber from the fruits and veggies you put in your smoothie, you've pulverized them, so your body doesn't have to work as hard to digest it.
Even protein shakes that tout a high protein content just aren't as filling as eating the same amount of protein in, say, a plate of eggs.
So if your shake has enough calories to replace a meal and you find that you are still hungry soon after drinking it, smoothies might not be a good choice for you.
They can be very low in protein
Protein is essential for weight loss, especially with breakfast, because it is very important in helping you feel full. When I don't eat enough protein for breakfast, it usually sets me up for a day of poor food choices.
Most of the smoothie recipes I've seen primarily include fruit, which won't do much to keep you full.
Adding protein (protein powder, Greek yogurt, nut butter, hemp seeds, etc.) can be a great way to make smoothies. more filling, so you can definitely try increasing your current smoothie recipes to see if that helps you feel fuller for longer.
Honestly? It never worked for me. It helped, but drinking a smoothie never kept me full as long as eating a real breakfast.
You can also try adding healthy fats (avocado, seeds, nuts, etc.) to strengthen your smoothie and see if that helps. Of course, adding healthy fats can cause those calories to skyrocket quickly, so be careful with the amounts of those!
They are often high in sugar.
Because smoothies are often filled with fruit, that means a high sugar content.
Normally, I wouldn't recommend worrying about the sugar content of fruits because of how fiber balances them out, but as we've talked about, fiber isn't digested the same way in smoothies. , so I recommend looking at the sugar content of smoothies.
Even Weight Watchers counts fruit in smoothies differently from whole fruit!
The richer your smoothie in vegetables, the better, because it contains much less sugar!
They could trigger food cravings.
Obviously this is not the case for everyone, but I have found that on the days I had smoothies, I had more food cravings later in the day (especially the cravings for sweets - chocolate, ice cream, Little Debbie, etc.).
Some common reasons for smoothies could induce cravings:
- they contain artificial sweeteners
- they leave you hungry
- they are low in protein
- they are high in sugar
Now I have also read that for some people smoothies also prevent cravings, so do some trial and error to understand how your body responds.
Because I haven't really used shakes or smoothies on my weight loss journey, I don't have a lot of smoothie recipes on my site!
When I make smoothies it's often this (or a variation of this) basic green smoothie recipe. I often add protein powder and it's usually more of an afternoon snack than a meal replacement.
I also like the taste of it mango and chia smoothie! It has a bit of extra protein from Greek yogurt and chia seeds.
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Losing weight is never easy and there’s no one tip that’s going to change that. However, it doesn’t have to be as complicated a process as many of us make it, like counting every calorie or stripping our diet of entire food groups while trying to follow aggressively restrictive diet plans.
Instead of adopting a radical or all-encompassing approach, try adopting a series of healthy habits and making them an integral part of your eating routine first. As these vêtements start to become ingrained, you may well find that losing weight and, crucially, maintaining a healthy weight become natural to you. And you’ll get to keep on eating carbs throughout.
Losing weight is never easy and there’s no one tip that’s going to change that. However, it doesn’t have to be as complicated a process as many of us make it, like counting every calorie or stripping our diet of entire food groups while trying to follow aggressively restrictive diet partouze.
If you’re not sure what those habits could be, then we have advice from the experts to help. We have nutritionist Orla Hugueniot and former footballer John Barnes from Public Health England’s Better Health campaign, which aims to help people lose weight, plus other dietitians and registered nutritionists sharing tips that have worked for the people they’ve helped to lose weight.
You don’t have to try to take on all the tips at once. In fact, we’d definitely advise against trying that, because you’ll overload yourself and may lose détermination. Pick a few that you think you can manage to start with, then keep coming back and adding more into your lifestyle.
“Time and again, personnes say to me that they are disappointed that they have ‘only’ lost a pound in a week, ” says George Hamlyn-Williams, principal dietitian at The Hospital Group. “The reality is that one pound ( 454g ) of fat equates to around 3, 500 kcal. This means that over the week the pound was lost, they have eaten on average 500 calories less per day – a massive achievement ! It’s so easy to eat or drink an additional 500 calories – two standard 50g bars of chocolate would do it. However, to eat 500 calories less is much more difficult and to be consistent with it is even more challenging – so give yourself a break and pat yourself on the back if a pound comes off. Remember, if you keep going, that’s 52lb ( 26. 5kg ) over a year – over 3½ stone ! ”
“Often in clinic, if someone wants to lose weight but is not getting a good night’s sleep, I won’t begin by talking about food, ” says dietitian Nichola Ludlam-Raine. “We talk about getting the sleep right first or they’ll be fighting a losing battle.
“The research shows that if people are chronically sleep-deprived they consume more calories the next day. When you are sleep-deprived, the hunger hormone called ghrelin increases, which means that you genuinely, physiologically, feel more hungry. Your brain function is also impaired so that you’re less likely to be able to resist high-calorie, palatable foods. Also your energy level and your motivation are going dip so you’re less likely to want to prepare a healthy meal.
“Ideally, go to sleep before midnight, get between seven to eight hours a night, and stick to consistent bedtimes and wake times – even on weekends. Ensure your bedroom is dark, not too hot, not too cold, and ideally keep screens out of the room. Watch your caffeine intake – with your last cup of tea or coffee 4pm at the latest – and alcohol intake. People think alcohol helps, but actually it leads to restless sleep. ”
“If you’re mindful of portion sizes you can say goodbye to calorie counting, ” says Kerri Major, a registered dietitian and SENr sports dietitian, and author of The Dietitian Kitchen. “It can be useful to look at the recommended portion size on food packaging and see what you’re eating in comparison with this.
Additionally, a portion of fruit is one piece of whole fruit, like a banana, or one handful ( approximately 80g if you have scales to hand ), and Major advises aiming for three portions of dairy or dairy alternatives a day. “Portion sizes of dairy vary depending on the product, ” says Major. “Again, I recommend checking the food label, which usually indicates an appropriate serving size. ”
If you want to make portion control that little bit easier, Hugueniot suggests using smaller plates, and then dividing that plate up by food group. “Make sure that half your plate contains vegetables or salad, ” says Hugueniot. “The other half should be protein and carbohydrates. ”
Increasing the amount you cook for yourself will make you more aware of what’s going in your food and help you avoid high calorie and fat counts, especially those from unexpected places. Also, cooking is fun ! If you’re not sure where to start in the kitchen, saine recipe boxes can be a big help.
“You could try doing your own burgers, ” says Hugueniot. “Add chopped kidney beans, some chopped onion and an egg to the leanest beef mince you can get, grill it and serve with salad – making a much healthier meal than a traditional burger and chips. ”
“Snackotage” is a word we just made up ( although it’s probably a trending hashtag by the time you read this ), but it sums up a problem that can ruin many diets – too many unhealthy snacks that sabotage all your good work at meal times.
“Try to make sure you are eating meals at regular times, with saine fruit and veggie snacks in between, and drink plenty of fluids, ” says Hugueniot. “This will help stop you snacking on unhealthy foods, and keep you more full during the day. The best snacks are those containing veggies, but if you’re having packaged snacks go for those with around 100 calories and stick to two a day at maximum.
“Healthier snacks include : fresh fruit, low-fat and lower-sugar yogurt with fruit, plain rice cakes or crackers with lower-fat cheese, unsalted nuts and seeds, veggie sticks with lower-fat dips such as reduced-fat hummus and salsa, malt loaf, fruit loaf or a currant bun, crumpets and scotch pancakes. ”