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Are Smoothies Great For Losing Weight?

Low-carb diets have become a popular way to lose weight and by making smoothies at home instead of buying processed, store-bought smoothies, you can make smarter choices.


Smoothies and Weight Loss

Weight loss is not easy and usually requires a period of negative energy balance, which is something that is difficult to reach and maintain especially in individuals who are more susceptible to gaining weight. Studies have found that liquid meal replacement beverages can aid in weight loss when they are used in combination with an energy-restricted diet (1, 2) and during the weight loss maintenance phase (2, 3).

The success of smoothies and meal replacement beverages is often within the portion control nature of the drink and also the ease of use (i.e. a reduction in meal planning and preparation). A meta-analysis of six research studies found that weight loss appeared to be greater in those groups who also had meal-replacement beverages or smoothies as opposed to the participants who were asked to follow a traditional calorie replacement diet, despite the calorie goal for both groups being the same (4).

A weight loss trial study from 2012 found that participants reported feeling relatively full only fifteen minutes after consuming a smoothie, with the sensation of fullness lasting more than two hours. Many participants reported that they noticed significant improvements in their physical functioning, general overall health, along with their mental health. The study concluded that smoothies can help in weight loss by curbing hunger during a reduced calorie diet. (5).


Tips For Making Healthier Homemade Smoothies

Some of the healthiest, low-carb smoothies manage to keep the fibre from the fruits and vegetables which would otherwise be lost through juicing. Fibre can aid your digestion and also keeps you feeling satisfied for longer (6). You can also choose to add in chia seeds into your smoothie for the fibre, healthy fats and also protein benefits – chia seeds can also thicken beverages.

Often people prefer to add bananas into their smoothies to make them thicker in texture; however a three ounce serving of a banana comes with over ten grams of sugar (7). Fruits such as cherries, mangos and grapes are also high in sugar content (8, 9, 10). Instead, you can try using frozen fruits which have no added sugars, as this make the smoothie thicker and frostier. By using a high powered blender you can make your smoothie taste as smooth and creamy as possible also.

Also by avoiding store-bought juices in your smoothie and opting for plain water, ice or plant milks, you can further reduce the carbohydrate and sugar content of your smoothie. Regular cow’s milk is also suitable; however be mindful that milk comes with additional calories (11).

For more energy and power you can add in yogurt to further increase the protein content, which is ideal pre-workout (12). If you add in half of an avocado you can get vitamins and nutrients such as antioxidants, vitamin B complex and potassium into your smoothie (13). Previous research also suggests that protein plats an important role in satiety and weight management (14, 15).

Remember that green smoothies are popular for a reason – they offer the benefits of fewer sugars, more antioxidants, fibre and other essential nutrients. Often just a few handfuls of greens in your smoothies won’t negatively impact the taste, especially as the taste becomes milder once blended with fruits. To further mask any bitterness without adding sugar, you can add in fresh lemon or lime juice and benefit from the extra vitamin C (16, 17).


For more information on smoothies and weight loss, see our weight loss management course.


Sources

1. Annunziato, R.A., Timko, C.A., Crerand, C.E., Didie, E.R., Bellace, D.L., Phelan, S., Kerzhnerman, I. and Lowe, M.R., 2009. A randomized trial examining differential meal replacement adherence in a weight loss maintenance program after one-year follow-up. Eating behaviors, 10(3), pp.176-183.
2. Rothacker, D.Q., Staniszewski, B.A. and Ellis, P.K., 2001. Liquid meal replacement vs traditional food: a potential model for women who cannot maintain eating habit change. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 101(3), p.345.
3. Vázquez, C., Montagna, C., Alcaraz, F., Balsa, J.A., Zamarrón, I., Arrieta, F. and Botella-Carretero, J.I., 2009. Meal replacement with a low-calorie diet formula in weight loss maintenance after weight loss induction with diet alone. European journal of clinical nutrition, 63(10), p.1226.
4. Heymsfield, S., Van Mierlo, C.A.J., Van der Knaap, H.C.M., Heo, M. and Frier, H.I., 2003. Weight management using a meal replacement strategy: meta and pooling analysis from six studies. International journal of obesity, 27(5), p.537.
5. L Frestedt, J., R Young, L. and Bell, M., 2012. Meal replacement beverage twice a day in overweight and obese adults (MDRC2012-001). Current Nutrition & Food Science, 8(4), pp.320-329.
6. Slavin, J. and Green, H., 2007. Dietary fibre and satiety. Nutrition Bulletin, 32, pp.32-42.
7. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fru...
8. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fru...
9. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fru...
10. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fru...
11. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/dairy-and-egg-...
12. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/dairy-and-egg-...
13. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fru...
14. Johnstone, A.M., Horgan, G.W., Murison, S.D., Bremner, D.M. and Lobley, G.E., 2008. Effects of a high-protein ketogenic diet on hunger, appetite, and weight loss in obese men feeding ad libitum–. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 87(1), pp.44-55.
15. Paddon-Jones, D., Westman, E., Mattes, R.D., Wolfe, R.R., Astrup, A. and Westerterp-Plantenga, M., 2008. Protein, weight management, and satiety–. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 87(5), pp.1558S-1561S.
16. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fru...
17.
http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fru...