Consuming smoothies are a great way to get some of the nutrients you need, plus these have become one of the essentials for many mainly because of their convenience.
All you have to do is just add in whatever vegetables or fruits you like, blend according to your needs, and add other stuff like whole grains, nut butter, seeds, or even protein powders.
This is what sets smoothies apart from many other beverages. Also, for more versatility, you can even purchase one from almost all grocery stores or cafés.
However, convenience aside. The burning question in many individuals today is “Are Smoothies Healthy And Do They Help With Weight Loss?“
If you have that exact same question, I’m happy to say that it’ll be answered. In this article, I’ll go through everything you need to know about smoothies, their health benefits, their role in helping to lose weight, benefits, drawbacks and many more.
What Are Smoothies?
Before we get into the nitty-gritty, first, let’s take a look at what smoothies are all about.
Smoothies are thick, smooth blended drinks that have a somewhat shake-like consistency. It usually contains veggies, fruits, whole grains, seeds and nuts, milk, protein powders, yogurt, fruit juice and vegetable juice, all of which are purred in the blender.
Are Smoothies Healthy?
This largely depends on the ingredients you incorporate. Typically smoothies are considered healthy because the main ingredients are usually fruits and vegetables.
However, suppose the smoothies you drink are a sugar bomb because of sugary yogurt, frozen yogurt or high-glycemic-index fruit such as mango, grapes, oranges and bananas. In that case, it’s better to stay away.
This is because if your smoothie includes all these, there is a chance that it can increase sugar levels, which can lead to blood sugar spikes. So it’s better sometimes to steer clear of these types of smoothies.
Common Ingredients Found In Smoothies
These are some of the common ingredients that smoothies include.
Vegetables: carrots, avocado, cucumber, spinach, kale, wheatgrass, microgreens, cauliflower, beetroot and arugula.
Fruits: apple, banana, berries, mango, peach and pineapple.
Herbal And Nutritional Supplements: protein powder, bee pollen, spirulina, and powdered vitamin or mineral supplements.
Herbs And Spices: parsley, basil, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, cacao nibs and cocoa powder.
Liquid: water, non-dairy milk, fresh juice, coconut water, vegetable juice, cold brew coffee, milk and iced tea.
Sweeteners: honey, maple syrup, simple syrup, stevia, ice cream, raw sugar, fresh juice concentrates, sorbet and pitted dates.
Nuts And Seeds: sunflower seed butter, peanut butter, chia seeds, almond butter, walnut butter, flax meal and hemp seeds.
Additional Ingredients: cooked white beans, cottage cheese, soaked oats, dairy or non-dairy yogurts and vanilla extract.
Ingredients You Can Use To Make Your Smoothie Healthy
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As you can see above, there are a lot of ingredients that go into smoothies. However, not all of them are healthy for some. If you want a nutritionally-balanced smoothie, incorporate a combination of ingredients mentioned below.
Fiber: pears, raspberries, chia seed, flaxseed and strawberries.
Healthy Fats: coconut oil, ghee, avocado, MCT oil and almond butter.
Greens: chard, super greens powder, celery, kale and spinach.
Protein: hemp protein powder, pea protein powder, brown rice protein powder and collagen protein powder.
Do Smoothies Help With Weight Loss?
If your goal is to shed some pounds, then yes, smoothies can help. However, it’s not easy; smoothies aid in weight loss only when done right, though!
You should be able to lose weight if your smoothie does not surpass your daily caloric intake. Also, even if you incorporate a smoothie that’s nutrient-dense into your diet, it’ll keep your hunger levels intact and might promote weight loss, but it’s not a guarantee.
The thing is, even if your smoothie is perfect, there is not a hundred percent chance that you’ll shed pounds. There are a lot of factors that go into play when losing weight with this beverage, such as activity level, age, medical history, sleep, stress, hormones, just to name a few.
That said, losing weight with smoothies is not for everyone. Some might find these an easy and effective way, while others will simply not be satisfied with drinking their calories rather than eating.
Benefits Of Smoothies
Smoothies are consumed by a lot of individuals, and quite rightly so! This beverage can help you get into healthy eating. So here are some of the benefits you can expect from adding smoothies into your diet.
- Enhances Fiber Intake
Fiber is known to help the digestive system and reduce the risk of colon cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
- Increases Vegetables And Fruits Consumption
Both of these are the primary ingredients of smoothies. So, if it is a part of your diet, your intake of veggies and fruits can increase quite a bit. These have a wide array of benefits, such as providing essential fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
Fruits and vegetables can also lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular, stroke, and cancers.
- Smoothies Control Cravings
This beverage is nutrient-dense, along with a very good amount of protein. This means that you can overcome food cravings and stay away from junk food.
- Can Make Your Skin Glow
Smoothies contain carotenoids like pumpkin, these greatly aid with skin and complexion. So you can expect smoothies with these ingredients to make your skin glow.
Drawbacks Of Smoothies
Along with the benefits, there are some drawbacks to smoothies too. Below are some of the downsides you can expect from consuming these drinks.
- They Do Not Replace Meals
Even Though some smoothies can help you replace meals, not every one of them is capable of doing the same because they’re not just capable of replacing full meals. Also, avoid consuming only smoothies throughout the day.
- Smoothies That Are Bought Is Not Always Healthy
The majority of the pre-packaged smoothies are not healthy. They sure contain some unhealthy ingredients and sweeteners, which are not good if consumed regularly. Make sure to check everything thoroughly if you buy smoothies instead of making them on your own.
- Even The Smoothies You Make May Not Be Healthy
Depending on how you make the smoothie, they can sometimes be unhealthy.
Types Of Smoothies
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Smoothies are categorized into three types. Below are all three of them.
As the name suggests, these smoothies include a lot of greens such as kale, celery or spinach along with some fruits for sweetness and are blended with either water, milk or juice.
Fruit smoothies, on the other hand, contain a lot of fruits such as strawberries, pears or raspberries and are blended with water, milk, ice cream or fruit juice.
Unlike green and fruit smoothies, protein smoothies use just one vegetable or fruit with any of the liquids mentioned above. However, they contain major protein sources such as protein powders, cottage cheese or silken tofu.
A Healthy Alternative To Smoothies For Weight Loss
Smoothies aren’t always the answer if you’re dead set on losing weight. As I said before, they may not work for everyone. Not to worry, though, because meal replacement shakes can help. These shakes, from what I know, are excellent alternatives to smoothies.
You might already know about these shakes due to how popular they are. Meal replacement shakes are everywhere these days because of how seamless they’re in replacing whole meals.
With these shakes, you can replace up to two meals per day, be it breakfast, lunch or dinner. And as for weight loss, these shakes are proven. A variety of research has been done, and all of them are pretty positive.
For reference, here’s a study that tracked two groups of people on a weight loss journey over the course of three months. The group that did not use meal replacement shake lost just 1.5% of their body weight, while the meal replacement gang lost 7.8%.
As you can clearly see, meal replacement shakes well and truly help with weight loss. But if you are still on the fence, feel free to visit http://shakeslab.com/ to learn A to Z about meal replacement shakes.
Can I Replace My Meal With A Smoothie?
Not all smoothies are able to replace meals. Just adding some fruits in the smoothie and replacing a meal with it simply isn’t going to work. If you are thinking of replacing your meal with smoothies, it’s up to you to make a smoothie that has the relevant ingredients that’ll replace a meal.
Do Smoothies Make Healthy Breakfast?
If your smoothie has a good balance of nutrients such as healthy fats, carbs and proteins, there’s no problem in having it as your breakfast.
Smoothies are for sure healthy, but when it comes to weight loss, those can be a hit or miss. That said, there’s no denying its potential health benefits.
Drinking smoothies are overall a great way to get the nutrients you need, plus it’s supremely convenient too, which is why most people come back to drinking it.
However, try your best to prepare these beverages on your own and only if you’re finding it seemingly impossible go for a pre-packaged one.