Smoothies can be a great ally in the battle of the bulge, but if you’re not careful, they can also be a double agent, working against your efforts to burn fat.
In fact, most people who are turning to smoothies for weight loss are actually sending their fat storage into overdrive because they’re making some critical mistakes…
In today’s post, I’m going to teach you the most common smoothie mistakes, and what you can do to use meal replacement shakes as a convenient and effective fat loss tool. Finally, if you want to jump right to Dr. Ray’s personal smoothie recipe for weight loss, then check out this post!
Mistake 1: Using Too Much Fruit
Fruit is a great source of fiber, minerals, phytochemicals, and, most importantly, flavor. By simply adding fruit to a bland smoothie, it can totally change the taste, which is critical for preventing the boredom. Most people, however, add way too much fruit…
The primary sweetener in fruit is fructose, which goes right to the liver where it’s converted to fat. Fructose in small quantities is natural and easily tolerated by the body, but in high quantities, it wreaks havoc with the metabolism.
So, how much is too much?
Although it likely depends on the type of fruit that you use, in general, I recommend the following starting guidelines. For low-sugar fruits, 1/2 to 3/4 cup per smoothie. For high-sugar fruits, 1/4 to 1/2 cup. This brings us to the next mistake…
Mistake 2: Using the Wrong Fruits
All fruit is fair game in smoothies for weight loss; that being said, as mentioned above, all fruits are not created equal…
Choose fruits that contain darker pigments as these fruits bring more antioxidants and natural anti-inflammatory compounds, both of which can improve fat burning.
Also, choose fruits that are lower sugar because you can add more to the smoothies, which means more bulk, more fiber, and more antioxidants.
Mistake 2: Choosing a Protein With Too Many Carbohydrates
A quality protein is essential for a well-balanced smoothie. I recommend using a low-sugar whey protein, such as Dream Protein by Doctors for Nutrition.
If you don’t tolerate dairy-sourced proteins, I recommend Plant Fusion, as this vegetarian protein best mimics the amino acid profile of whey. Be sure to choose a whey that has 5 grams of carbs or less. Try to avoid protein powders that use artificial sweeteners, colors, and flavors. I recommend using 20 grams for women and 30 grams for men.
Mistake 3: Not Adding Vegetables
Vegetables in your smoothie? Ewww! Well, generally I would agree, however, a few veggies are bland enough to include in your smoothie without negatively impacting the flavor. Spinach and carrots are my favorite addition to my smoothies! Just a handful of spinach and a few pieces of carrots will supercharge your smoothie with disease-fighting carotenoids, fiber, minerals, and nutrients. It’s an easy way to get one to two of your 10 recommended servings of veggies with little effort. Try it, you won’t even notice!
Mistake 4: Not Having Enough Calories
If you’re using a smoothie as an addition to an existing meal, such as breakfast, then you can get away with a simple recipe that provides 150-300 calories. If, however, you’re using your smoothie as a meal replacement for weight loss purposes, you may need to aim for between 350 and 500 calories to provide enough support to keep hunger at bay.
The best way to reach this goal is to add coconut flakes, coconut oil, or half of an avocado to the smoothie. This will add an extra 100-150 calories in a form that your body can use and is unlikely to store.
Mistake 5: Not Using Supplements To Supercharge Your Smoothie
If you listen to the Cut the Fat Podcast, then you know that we rarely discuss supplements. We do this because we believe that lack of supplements is not the cause of weight gain, and likewise, supplements alone will NOT promote significant weight loss. With smoothies, however, supplements can turn a good smoothie into an outstanding smoothie for weight loss! Here are some supplements to include in your smoothie:
- Whole food fiber – By adding a scoop of fiber, you can add bul, which can decrease appetite and make the satiety benefits last.
- Spirulina – I love spirulina as an addition to smoothies as it adds powerful whole food nutrients and gives it a healthy green color.
- Essential Fatty Acids – Adding a tablespoon of EFAs is essential to having a well balanced smoothie. EFAs are so deficient in our diet and can be the missing link in many people’s health programs.