The debate over whether or not smoothies are a healthy and efficient way to lose weight has gone back and forth for many years now, with the ongoing confusion stemming from the different varieties of smoothies out there. The fact is, there are some smoothies that are good for you and just as many that are bad for you, making it impossible to make a general statement as to whether or not smoothies are beneficial because it really comes down to the specific smoothies you’re enjoying. For example, fad juicing diets and most store-bought smoothies fall under the unhealthy categories due to the added fillers, preservatives and sugar. On the other hand, smoothies made with fresh fruits and vegetables have been proven to be a successful way to boost your overall health and wellness by providing your body the nutrition it needs to thrive, while also helping shed some extra pounds. These are the same type of smoothies that studies have found to be beneficial for weight loss when used as a meal replacement. But how do you use this to your own advantage? Let’s find out.
What are Smoothies, Really?
First things first, let’s get down to the blender: what are smoothies? By definition, smoothies are beverages made from a puree of ingredients. They’re often made with a liquid base of some sort, often achieved with ingredients such as yogurt, milk, juice and non-dairy alternatives, and blended with delicious and nutritious fruits and vegetables. You can add in some herbs, spices, nuts and seeds for an extra dose of flavour and healthy benefits, or enjoy the smoothies with just the basics.
Smoothies can also be made with ingredients, such as ice cream, added sugar, preservatives, additives and food coloring, that aren’t the healthiest or even the slightest bit beneficial for your weight loss. This is why it’s absolutely crucial (and highly recommended by health and nutrition experts) to avoid store-bought versions. Instead, to ensure you’re always enjoying healthy and nutritious smoothies, they should be made at home with whole fruits and vegetables.
Using Smoothies To Lose Weight
There’s no denying that weight loss is a complex topic that varies from person to person, as there are many individual actors that come into play. However, research suggests that smoothies can be an effective weight-loss tool, and one that everyone can benefit from.
In order to use smoothies to lose weight, it’s imperative that you use whole fruits and vegetables, and make your smoothie concoctions at home instead of purchasing them from the store). This is to ensure you receive the many nutritional benefits that can activate your body’s metabolism and additional fat-burning capabilities. Making your smoothies on your own can also help you burn off some extra calories as you zip around the kitchen. And remember, expending more calories than what you take in is one of the main factors for effective and sustainable weight loss and every little bit counts!
But there is one other thing you should be aware of when using smoothies to help you lose weight: too much of a good thing can be bad. While using a smoothie to replace all of your meals can be tempting and seemingly harmless, health and weight loss experts highly suggest against doing so. Instead, smoothies should be an addition to your diet. It’s recommended that you incorporate them into your diet alongside delicious and nutritious meals that also promote your weight loss goals. As a rule of thumb, aim to enjoy a smoothie for breakfast, lunch or even as a late-night snack, instead of using smoothies to replace all of your meals for the day. It’s all about finding a healthy balance.
Benefits of Using Smoothies to Help Weight Loss
Smoothies aren’t just delicious! They’re also filled to the brim with incredible health benefits that can help you achieve your weight loss goals, while also boosting your overall health and wellness goals (as long as you’re making them at home using fresh fruits and vegetables).
It’s actually quite simple. When using the right ingredients, smoothies can help you stay within your daily caloric goal by offsetting the calories you would have consumed otherwise. They can also help replace unhealthy food options you may have had otherwise and they’re also great for getting specific ingredients into your diet that you wouldn’t likely snack on. For example, when you don’t like a specific ingredient, you probably aren’t going to opt for it as much as you should (if at all), which means you miss out on its nutritious benefits. Adding this ingredient into a smoothie allows you to cover up the flavour or texture you don’t like, while still harnessing the benefits. Smoothies are often high in fiber and protein as well, which can help weight loss by allowing you to feel fuller for longer – a great way to prevent overeating.
Smoothies are also quick and easy to blend together, making them a viable option for those mornings when you’re in a rush or when hunger creeps up on you. Instead of grabbing an unhealthy snack, you can just as easily opt for a nutrient-dense smoothie. All you need is your blender and some ingredients, and you can curb your hunger and cravings within minutes. As long as you’re using healthy, nutritious ingredients, you don’t have to count calories, do massive food restrictions or spend hours running on a treadmill every week just to shed some pounds.
Here’s a quick recap of the powerful benefits that you can expect:
- Allows you to get nutritious vegetables in your diet that you wouldn’t have otherwise
- Easily stay within your calorie intake goal by using a smoothie as a meal replacement (remember only to use smoothies to replace 1 meal, not all 3)
- Increase your daily nutrition and feel better
- Gain more energy to exercise
- Increase certain enzymes that help the body dissolve fat
- Quick and easy solution that enables healthier snacking
- Quickly curb your cravings and hunger
- Less calorie-counting, food tracking and portion controlling
Potential Drawbacks of Smoothies
The biggest drawback of enjoying smoothies is if you aren’t a smoothie-drinker. While it is rare, some people don’t like the texture of smoothies or the idea of drinking pureed ingredients. It happens! However, the potential health and weight loss benefits are certainly worth trying to overcome these obstacles. Plus, there are thousands of different smoothies out there and ways to change the taste and texture if needed, making it easy to find options that best suit your preference. For example, if you don’t like the thickness of smoothies, simply add in more liquid or use the blender for a bit longer than recommended. If you prefer super cold beverages or “slushies”, toss in some ice cubes and crush it into the mix. These are only two of the many ways smoothies can be personalized to suit your preferences.
How to Start using Smoothies to Promote Weight Loss
Grab your blender and ingredients. That’s all you need to get started. Don’t have any recipes or even the slightest idea of what to add into your blender? No problem. There are plenty of helpful options that can get you started. You can grab a smoothie cookbook or use a smoothie program that has done all of the research and planning for you. These often come with all of the information, recipes and meal plans needed so you can start blending and sipping the good stuff straight away. Alternatively, you can create your own smoothie meal plan based on the information you learned here and the flavours you desire.
Here’s a recap of what you need to know, along with some handy tips to help you get the most out of your delicious and nutritious smoothies:
- Invest in a good blender (never underestimate the power of a good blender)
- Avoid store-purchased smoothies (and typically, most smoothie bars)
- Always make your smoothies at home using whole fruits and vegetables
- Incorporate smoothies into your day instead of using them as meal replacements
- Be careful of recipes that call for added sugar
- Use a smoothie weight loss program. One of our recommendations is The Smoothie Diet program.
- Avoid added sugar and opt for healthier alternatives
- Enjoy smoothies that are rich in fiber and protein to feel fuller longer
- Use different smoothie recipes to satisfy all of your cravings
Find Your Calorie Deficit
Creating a calorie deficit is a key factor for losing weight and as mentioned previously, smoothies can be an excellent way to do just that. However, in order to capitalize on this advice, you must first know what your specific calorie goal is, as it is different for everyone and varies depending on age, sex, weight and physical activity. Once you have determined your specific calorie goal, you will be able to align your smoothies and meals with it to ensure you use more calories than you take in.
Smoothies aren’t only delicious and nutritious; they can also be an excellent addition to your weight loss regime by providing your body with the nutrition it needs to thrive and to burn off calories quickly and efficiently. However, it’s imperative that smoothies are only used as a weight loss tool, as opposed to being relied on solely for weight loss or as an entire weight loss remedy. It’s also key that you use high quality whole fruits and vegetables, and avoid any added sugar to maximize the weight loss and health benefits.