As I came out of the gym the other day, I caught wind of a conversion between two middle aged women which mostly went like this:
“OMGGG GREEN SMOOTHIES!!!”
After I thoroughly busted out laughing, I sat down and pondered for a second that this is really the biggest fad in the health and wellness space right now.
And it seems like everyone has a story of someone who has lost a bazillion pounds from juicing – but what are the facts?
Do drinking smoothies just lead to other health habits that aid in weight loss, or are they a magical and effective tactic for weight loss?
What’s The Dealyo With Smoothies For Weight Loss?
Smoothies Versus Just a Normal “Weight Loss Diet” – Here’s Who Lost More Weight
A 2003 study wanted to evaluate whether or not smoothies and meal replacements were actually effective for weight loss and weight management because of their popularity.
In the study, the researchers put participants into two groups:
Either the people were on a standard “lower calorie diet” or a meal plan with 1-2 meals that were replaced by meal replacements/smoothies.
After the 3 month and 1 year evaluation, the people using meal replacements & smoothies had improved in every way more than the standard “low calorie diet” people.
They lost 7-8% of their total bodyweight, versus 3-7% – and the smoothie people lost an average of 5 more pounds ove rthe year. what’s more, the dropout rate for the smoothie people was much lower than the people just starving themselves.
Bring the kale shakes my way…
Before You Go Chugging That Kale Shake, Remember This Though….
There’s no doubt that smoothies, juicing, or having green juices help a ton of people lose weight, but there are some things I would caution against here.
I’ve seen how well they can work for people that either hate vegetables, or just are having a hard time actually getting more vegetables in their diet, as well as people that flat out want to jumpstart their weight loss.
I recently interviewed a friend and reader who struggled his entire life to consistently stick with any kind of health habits, and he didn’t want to exercise.
He decided that he needed to be a lot healthier (after being put on high blood pressure medication in his 20s), so his primary focus was just FEELING good.
Because he had a hard time sticking with anything, he told himself he’d cultivate just one habit: make a smoothie in the morning. The smoothie wasn’t even a full green juice – it had loads of fruits as well.
Ryan lost 15 pounds, dramatically improved his heart health and blood pressure readings, felt noticeably different and magically noticed other health behaviors showing up in his life.
In fact, this one simple habit produced such dramatic changes in his life that it almost seemed like a miracle for him that he didn’t fully get.
Use them for snacks.
I would also recommend not using these for your main meals, but primarily as the snacks throughout the day or just in addition to your breakfast.
The reason for this is that you sometimes see people that go hardcore green smoothie for a while, and the diet is so low in calories (and tragically low in protein) that they end up losing muscle mass when they lose the weight – which makes it hard to continue losing weight.
Not only is loss of muscle mass a bad idea if you want to keep weight off, since it keeps your metabolism higher, it’s also more important the older you get.
So I would make it first thing in the morning, blend it all up, and bring it to work to just use as a snack throughout the day. If you have a work fridge, even better.
My go-to green smoothie. In this particular study they used a meal replacement shake, and Ryan that I mentioned used vegetables and lots of fruits, but I have one favorite in particular here:
- One apple
- A handful of romaine lettuce
- 1/4″ of ginger
- A handful of swiss chard
- Some honey to taste
Your Tiny Habit For Today
So, today’s tiny habit is simple: if you’re having a hard time with snacking, eating more vegetables, or even just want something that’s a quick breakfast, consider adding smoothies to the mix, in addition to whatever health and wellness regime you’re doing already.
Personally I find them to be awesome as the “lazy person’s guide to breakfast/eating veggies” which is something most of us struggle with.
What’s Your Favorite Smoothie? Share Below
Study on smoothies: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12704397