Homemade smoothies are much healthier than the pre-made ones you buy in the store. Most of them are loaded with sugar, going against the reasons why you added smoothies for weight-loss to your healthy eating plan in the first place. But even the smoothies you make at home can sabotage your weight loss efforts if you are not careful. Here are 4 reasons why your smoothies may not be carrying their weight in your weight-loss efforts.
Skimping on the fiber
If you are not using enough fiber-rich ingredients in your smoothies, you run the risk of feeling hungry sooner than you would otherwise. Fiber keeps you feeling fuller longer because it slows down digestion.
Not only does this prevent a blood-sugar spike (and the resulting crash which heads you straight for something to eat), but the fiber is indigestible meaning it doesn’t add calories to your diet. By including nuts, berries, seeds , fruit and dark green vegetables in your smoothies, you can be sure you are getting enough fiber. Even the type of dark green veggies can make a difference. For example, kale has twice the fiber as spinach.
Not using enough protein
Having enough protein in your smoothies works toward weight loss in a couple different ways. The hormone leptin in protein keeps you feeling fuller longer by blocking the hunger signal to the brain. At the end of the day, blocking the hunger signal reduces the number of calories you would normally eat.
Also, the amino acid leucine found in protein helps prevent muscle loss thus forcing your body to burn fat instead of muscle. An easy way to add protein to your smoothies is using protein powder. Use a plant-based milk, peanut butter and oatmeal to up the amount of protein in your smoothies. As far as yogurt, use the plain Greek type. Not only does it contain more protein, but is does not have the added sugar that many other types of yogurt have in them.
Using too much fruit
Fruit makes a smoothie taste good, adds fiber and nutrition, but some fruit is loaded with sugar. And yes, the argument some use is that it is the natural sugar fructose and they are correct … but it is still sugar and still has 9 calories per gram.
Reduce the sugar content by replacing some of the fruit used in your smoothies with lower calorie vegetables, such as kale or spinach. Add in some nuts and seeds for some healthy fat without boosting the sugar content.
Adding a sweetener
If you are using fruit in your smoothies, don’t use an added sweetener. Even the natural ones like honey or maple syrup will add 60 calories per tablespoon – calories (and sweetener) that you don’t need.
Now that you know four of the reasons why your smoothies might be hindering your weight loss efforts, you can make your smoothies more weight-loss friendly and still enjoy the goodness of them.