But fortunately for us, there is an incredible alternative.
While they may look a little different (some would suggest that a bright green beverage isn’t all that appealing… they’re wrong of course!), green smoothies have taken the health and fitness industry by storm in recent times, seeing a huge boost in popularity due to their ability to promote weight loss without reducing our intake of essential nutrients.
Green smoothies are an incredible alternative to more traditional cleanse and detox beverages as they are full of key vitamins and minerals, contain a huge amount of fibre, and are relatively low in energy content.
It is recommended that green smoothies replace 1-2 meals per day to promote optimal weight loss. In doing so, we can cause a serious reduction in the amount of total energy we consume on a day to day basis, leading to a substantial energy deficit and subsequent weight loss.
By implementing the following steps, you can create a green smoothie that can lead to sustained and healthy weight loss, which is both full of essential nutrients AND low in energy.
Start your green smoothie with either water plant based milks
The base of your smoothie is best made with either water, or for those of us who like a more creamy texture, plant based milks (think coconut milk or almond milk). Each of these offer a relatively low energy content (water in particular…obviously).
More traditional dairy such as milk and yogurt should be avoided as they are generally quite high in energy content, while also containing an abundance of sugar and other additives .
Add in a small portion of health fat
While fat is unquestionably high in energy, a small portion of healthy fats (those full of monounsaturated fatty acids) can both promote improved cell health and function, while causing a small boost in the breakdown of fats for energy  – which can contribute to fat specific weight loss over time.
I recommend including a small portion of avocado, or a spoonful of chia seeds, flaxseeds, or even fresh coconut.
It is important to realise that I have said small portion a number of time – this is because it is integral that we limit the absolute amount of fat in our smoothie. While a small amount can promote fat metabolism, it is important to note that fat has the highest energy content of any macronutrient, and as such can lead to weight gain if consumed in abundance.
Sweeten our smoothie with some fruit
The addition of delicious fruits such as bananas, apples, mangoes, grapes, and melon will increase the sweetness of our smoothie without the addition of nasty processed sugars. It is important to note that these fruits are beneficial as they have a very low energy content, while also providing a vast amount of vitamins and minerals.
Traditional sweeteners such as syrups and sugar should be avoided like the plague, as they provide a lot of energy and have zero nutritional value.
Finish with some protein powder
The addition of protein powder can provide a heap of value in a smoothie of this nature. By increasing the protein content of the meal, we increase our satisfaction after that meal (as protein offers the most satiety of all the macronutrients). This reduces hunger cravings throughout the day, making us less likely to snack on unhealthy foods, thus reducing our daily energy intake and leading to subsequent weight loss .
Additionally, protein has the highest thermic effect of food (or TEF for short) . TEF describes the amount of energy required to breakdown and digest the food that we eat. By increasing the protein content of our shake, we increase the energy required to breakdown that food, leading to an increased daily energy expenditure.
For this step, we can use either dairy based (think whey or casein) or plant based (think pea) protein powder as they are both low in energy content while quite high in protein content, making them perfect for this type of smoothie.
A note on fresh foods
One thing that is important to mention, is that when we are making our green smoothies, fresh is always best. We should stick to fresh fruit, vegetables, and fats, rather than their canned or packaged alternatives.
Fresh fruit offers a much better nutritional value, lower energy content, and in my opinion, a much better flavour – and as such should be prioritised over all else.
Putting it all together
Now we know how to make our smoothie, it is time to put it all together. Here I will provide some of my favourite green healthy smoothie recipes to promote weight loss (although don’t be afraid to experiment and make your own – that is arguably the best part!).
Green coco apple vanilla smoothie
8 ounces of water
1 Tablespoon of mashed coconut
2 Fuji Apples (cored)
1 Tablespoon of vanilla protein powder
Choc-Berry Green Smoothie
8 ounces of coconut water
1 cup of blue berries
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
(optional) 1 tablespoon chocolate protein powder
Almond Banana Chia Green Smoothie
8 ounces of almond milk
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon vanilla protein powder
So, in summary – green smoothies provide a fantastic way to promote rapid weight loss when used effectively. By replacing 1-2 of our daily meals with a healthy green smoothie, we can cause a serious reduction in our daily energy intake while maintaining a high intake of vitamins and minerals.
This can lead to rapid weight loss without the negative health effects associated with more traditional detoxes and cleanses.
By ensuring that we use a small portion of fat, additional protein, and fresh fruits and vegetables, we can maximise the quality, taste and effectiveness of our green smoothies, leading to long lasting and healthy weight loss.
- Güven, M., and O. B. Karaca. “The effects of varying sugar content and fruit concentration on the physical properties of vanilla and fruit ice‐cream‐type frozen yogurts.” International Journal of Dairy Technology 55.1 (2002): 27-31. Viewed at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1471-0307.2002.00034.x/full
- Parker, Barbara, et al. “Effect of a high-protein, high–monounsaturated fat weight loss diet on glycemic control and lipid levels in type 2 diabetes.” Diabetes care 25.3 (2002): 425-430. Viewed at: http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/25/3/425.short
- Halton, Thomas L., and Frank B. Hu. “The effects of high protein diets on thermogenesis, satiety and weight loss: a critical review.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition 23.5 (2004): 373-385. Viewed at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07315724.2004.10719381