If you go to a fast-food restaurant, grocery store, or even a coffee shop, chances are you’ll see smoothie options. Smoothies are among the most popular drinks today. Not only can you easily whiz up one smoothie recipe but you also can do that in a short duration. Such convenience is making these drinks popular, especially for individuals looking for an on-the-go breakfast or a nutritious snack. Smoothies are also excellent healthy drink options. Despite this, you will have to be extra cautious with the ingredients you use to prepare such a smoothie.
Since smoothies have various health benefits, you can consider just adding them to your diet. On the other hand, you may want to go completely off your regular diet and in this case you should look into starting a smoothie diet plan. If this fits the bill for you, you will have to choose your smoothie menu wisely for it to fit your daily diet.
The reason behind this is that the ingredients of your smoothie will influence your nutritional value and calorie intake. For example, if you pick healthy ingredients like vegetables, you are more likely to meet your nutritional needs and within your calorie intake.
In this article, we will discuss the smoothie diet plan. We will comprehensively examine what it involves, its effectiveness, the nitty-gritty, and how you can start such a diet plan. Take a look to determine if this diet plan is worth a shot.
What Is A Smoothie Diet Plan?
A smoothie merely refers to a blended drink prepared with ingredients such as fruits and vegetables. It is to mean that a smoothie diet plan refers to the creation of a meal plan involving smoothies.
These diet plans will require you to get some of your calories from these blended drinks. There are many types of smoothies, meaning the calories you attain from each drink will differ. To make sure that you get the most from such a diet plan, remember to first talk with your doctor.
You might not get the results you want from such a diet plan without any professional advice or help. So, before implementing any diet plan, always remember to consult for both medical and professional guidance and assistance.
How Long Can You Be On A Smoothie Diet Plan?
A smoothie diet plan is an example of a liquid diet plan. Experts acknowledge that most health care providers will recommend such a meal plan for a short period of time (9). This is especially the case when you are getting all your calories from these drinks.
If you are considering this diet plan as your reduced-calorie plan, WebMD suggests you try it for roughly three months (2). Such a duration is safe and can help one have safe weight loss, especially if this is the intended goal. Note that such a diet plan must only be implemented for such a goal if prescribed by your doctor.
Why Start Such A Diet Plan?
Usually, you may want to have a smoothie when you want to satisfy your sweet tooth using something healthy and nutritious. Otherwise you may choose to have these drinks when you are looking for a naturally filling snack.
In addition, there are other reasons why people often want to start a smoothie diet plan. In this case, you must first get the go-ahead from your doctor and nutritionist. You must follow this diet plan precisely according to what your doctor recommends it to help you reap the most from it. Here are some solid reasons why a healthcare provider may recommend or why you can consider starting this diet plan:
It Helps In Increasing Your Fruit And Vegetable Consumption
One excellent trait of smoothies is that they specifically incorporate fruits and vegetables. So, if you are not eating enough of these, your doctor may suggest starting this diet plan just to increase their consumption. Note however that they will restrict you to a particular serving. This will help with making sure that you get enough calories.
The good thing is that you can blend the two ingredients and still make them taste good. All you have to do is find a perfect combination that works just right for your taste buds. Besides increasing your fruits and vegetables, consuming the two together can also help reduce your risk of chronic diseases. Experts also state that fruits and vegetable consumption can help you maintain healthy body weight (10).
It Helps In Increasing Your Fiber Intake
When you blend your fruits and vegetables, your smoothie tends to be rich in fiber and healthy phytonutrients. Fiber helps with increasing your satiety levels (8). The advantage of this is that you feel full longer and as a result eat and snack less. This is quite important if you want to shed some extra pounds.
Similarly, fiber is significant in fighting poor digestion. Fiber helps in preventing poor digestion and some complications such as constipation. Because your smoothie uses fruits and vegetables, you will likely meet your daily fiber requirements. Additionally, it is less likely you will struggle with things like poor digestion and constipation.
It Increases Your Bone Strength
Some of the ingredients you use in your smoothies come in handy when it comes to bone strength. Using leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach gives your body vitamin K1 (5). According to WebMD, this vitamin decreases your risk of osteoporosis, bone fractures, and low bone mineral density.
It Supports Your Immunity
Following a smoothie diet plan can also help in supporting your immunity. The reasoning behind this is that most smoothies, particularly the green smoothies highly incorporate the leafy greens. These greens are rich in vitamin C, which is responsible for supporting and boosting your immune system. It also helps in fighting infection and maintaining healthy cellular functioning throughout your body (5).
It Can Promote Weight Loss
Perhaps the most common reason why people start such a diet plan is due to its link to weight loss. Theoretically, the key to weight loss is eating fewer calories than you use. This means that you must be aware of your required daily calories.
Your daily calorie limit is influenced by aspects such as your gender, activity level and age. Generally, Medical News Today states that women between 19 and 51 years must consume 1, 800 to 2, 400 calories daily (1).
They suggest men within the same age bracket consume roughly 2, 200 to 3, 000 calories daily. After you learn about your suggested calorie level, you can now work towards eating fewer calories to lose weight.
Medical News Today suggests you start by cutting 500 calories out from your daily limit (1). They acknowledge that cutting 500 calories out daily can help you lose up to a pound within a week.
With this knowledge, you can work towards creating a smoothie diet plan that cuts 500 calories out daily. Be very careful to avoid limiting your diet plan to diets to within 800 to 1, 000 calories daily. These may tend to cause nausea, fatigue, constipation, and/or diarrhea.
The Downside Of A Smoothie Diet Plan
For the most part, you will be safe with such a diet plan if you stick within the ranges recommended by your doctor. These include aspects such as duration and calorie intake. The problem comes in when you defy their restrictions. Doing so not only affects your smoothie diet results but also aggravates other issues such as:
High Blood Sugar Levels
Remember that some smoothie recipes will ask you to use some sweeteners or added sugars. Added sugars have detrimental effects on your health. They may increase your risk of diabetes and tooth decay. Again, remember that fruits also contain sugar. Using so many fruits in your smoothie coupled with added sugars can increase your blood sugar levels (5).
Overconsumption is always a possible hidden danger when it comes to the smoothie diet plan. Most people forget portion control when it comes to such a diet plan. They forget that these drinks contain calories, which they should be cautious of if the goal is weight loss.
For effective smoothie diet weight loss results, you must be cautious of your servings. No matter how good your smoothie tastes, try to stick to the recommended servings.
How To Create A Practical Smoothie Diet Plan?
It is extremely important to take time and create a smoothie diet plan instead of just implementing one you found online. The advantage of such a move is that you get to prepare your diet plan the right way. You also get to use the right ingredients to help and design it to meet the intended purpose. Here is a checklist detailing vital aspects you must consider to make a healthy smoothie diet:
Your Intended Goals
There are numerous reasons why people choose to start a smoothie diet plan. For some, the goal is to increase their vegetable and fruit intake. In this case, their diet plan will lean more towards smoothies prepared from such ingredients.
Another goal could be to use this diet plan to promote weight loss. Again, there will be a shift in the ingredients used. There will tend to be more of those products that can support weight loss. With that said, be specific about what you want to accomplish with such a diet plan. This plays a crucial role in determining the ingredients of your smoothies.
Your Calorie Limit
As mentioned earlier, you must be aware of your daily calorie intake. Such knowledge will help create a low-calorie smoothie diet plan if your goal is weight loss. It will guide you on how to use more low-calorie fruits and vegetables for better and perhaps faster results (7).
In a perfect world, the last thing we should be worried about is what we eat. After all, such a perfect world would not entail getting fat or adding extra pounds after eating certain foods. This however, does not exist.
In the real world, what we eat highly influences our body weight. You must be cautious when creating your smoothie diet plan and only include foods that help you maintain healthy body weight. Foods that increase your body weight increases your risk of health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and fatty liver disease (6).
To avoid these conditions, use healthy ingredients when you prepare your smoothies. Some healthy food options you can consider according to Medical News Today include (11):
Fats help in increasing your satiety levels. You can add healthy fats to your smoothies from sources such as chia seeds, avocado, peanut butter, and raw walnuts. Keep track of how much of these fats you use as excessive usage may promote weight gain.
You also need proteins in your smoothie to help in boosting your satiety hormone. You can use protein sources such as almonds, unsweetened Greek yoghurt, whey, and pea protein.
A healthy smoothie also has some traces of carbs. Most people target 15 g of carbs in their smoothies. To attain this limit, they prefer to go for ingredients like one small banana, a three-quarter cup of blueberries, or half-a-cup of granola (11).
What Kinds Of Smoothies Can Fit A Smoothie Diet Plan?
There are numerous smoothie recipes that you could choose to include in such a diet plan. However, the trimming factor will influence your intended goals of implementing this diet plan. You cannot include weight gain smoothie recipes yet your goal is weight loss. It will only contradict the effectiveness of this diet plan. Let us look at some smoothie recipes you can include depending on various goals.
There are no quick fixes when it comes to weight loss. Weight loss generally means that you need to maintain a calorie deficit, exercise regularly and eat healthily. There is no particular beverage that can lead to weight loss (13).
However, there are some drinks like the weight loss smoothies that may support the required lifestyle changes to promote weight loss. Most weight loss smoothies may tend to contain low calories.
The Green Smoothie
When you think of the green smoothie, perhaps you picture something unappetizing. You perhaps think of this due to its color and texture. However, the green smoothie is quite delicious, especially if you use a sweetener such as a banana. Here is a simple and delicious green smoothie recipe that supports weight loss (4):
- One banana, four tablespoons of lemon juice, half a cup of strawberries, half a cup of other berries such as blueberries or blackberries, two ounces of fresh raw baby spinach, one cup cold water or ice, and fresh mint to taste.
- Put all the ingredients in your blender and mix to get your drink.
The recipe above has a serving size of at least six fluid ounces. The nutritional content of one serving is as shown below:
- Calories- 64
- Total carbohydrates- 12 g
- Fiber- 2 g
- Cholesterol- 0 mg
- Protein- 1 g
- Total fat- Trace
- Sodium- 15 mg
- Total sugars- 7 g
- Added sugars- 0 g
Maintaining A Healthy Body Weight
If you are starting such a diet plan to maintain healthy body weight, you can consider the following recipe. It is from the Mayo Clinic website and is a perfect breakfast smoothie diet plan consideration. It is as follows (3):
- One cup fresh pineapple chunks, half a cup cantaloupe or any other melon chunks, one cup fresh strawberries, juice of two oranges, one cup of cold water, and one tablespoon of honey
- Place all the ingredients in your blender and puree until you get a drink with the desired consistency
This recipe accounts for a serving size of eight ounces. The nutritional information of one serving is as follows:
- Calories- 72
- Cholesterol- 0 mg
- Fiber- 1 g
- Total carbs- 17 g
- Sodium,- 17 mg
- Protein- 1 g
- Total fat- 0 g
- Total sugars- 13 g
- Added sugars- 4 g
The Bottom Line
You can consider starting a smoothie diet plan for various reasons. It could be to lose weight, maintain healthy body weight, or increase your fruits and vegetable intake. Whatever the case may be, always first seek help from a licensed doctor and nutritionist. Again, remember to only try this diet plan for a short duration or as recommended by your doctor.