Whether you’re new to dieting or not, you’ve probably heard the term “green smoothie” being thrown around as a part of a slimming diet. There are just as many versions of the smoothie diet, as there are recipes for this drink. However, the end goal is always the same – to lose weight by restricting intake of other foods. Before you get on any diet, it’s always a good idea to find out whether it works – from a science point of view. And like for most restrictive diets, evidence for the long-term efficacy of 30-day smoothie diet is wanting.
What Is A Green Smoothie?
A green smoothie is simply a blend of fresh fruits and vegetables. In theory – you are allowed to use any combination of these two ingredients, in order to create the healthiest version of smoothies possible.
For example – an average green smoothie recipe may include: 2 cups spinach 4 stalks celery 3 apples 1 cup water
The fruit will provide natural sugars (fructose) and fiber for a slower release into the bloodstream, which in turn makes you feel full for longer (8). The veggies will supply antioxidants and other nutrients necessary to keep your body healthy (12). And smoothies also offer an excellent way of getting more fruits and vegetables in our daily diet.
In fact, one study found that people who consumed more fruits and vegetables registered a greater weight loss (5).
However, you should know that not every smoothie is going to be as healthy as its recipe suggested. For example – there are frozen versions of smoothies in the grocery store with high contents of added sugars and dairy, which are not very healthy additions.
The smoothie diet is based on the principle that it will provide quick and sustained weight loss, while keeping you feeling full for long hours of the day. It also promises to help detoxify your body by “flushing” away harmful toxins from the digestion process.
Are Smoothies Good For Weight Loss?
Technically, yes. If you replace high-calorie, excessively processed meals with green smoothies then you stand to gain many benefits including weight loss.
As part of a balanced diet, smoothies can help you lose weight. However these factors matter as well:
- Smoothie ingredients – the healthier the ingredients, the less weight you’ll gain.
- Portion – the more smoothies you have in a day, the “fatter” you will appear.
- Calories – some people add extra calories (nuts, seeds) to their smoothies, which may tip the caloric scale too much for fast and effective weight loss.
If you want to lose 1 pound in a week, then please know that the average adult requires about 2000-2500 calories per day (3). The smoothie diet recommends a limit of 750 calories per day, which is 1/4 – 1/3 of your daily caloric needs.
Keeping all this in mind, if you create the perfect green smoothie with low sugar content, and add few nuts/seeds to give it some texture, then you will be adding fewer calories than the smoothie diet allows. And therefore – this can be a great way of maintaining your weight loss for a longer time period.
Improved Digestive Health
Green smoothies are packed with fiber, which will help improve the health of your digestive system (10). Fiber comes in two forms – soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves into a gel-like substance when it interacts with water. Therefore, it is able to slow down digestion and cause you to feel full for longer periods of time (4).
Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water, and therefore it moves through the digestive system pretty quickly. It is responsible for bulking up your stool, which can prevent constipation (4).
Both types of fiber are found in high content in green smoothies – especially if you use leafy greens like spinach and kale.
Stable Blood Sugar
Unlike juices, which are usually high in natural sugars, smoothies are known to have a slower release into the bloodstream. Therefore it helps keep your blood sugar levels stable.
This is particularly important for diabetics who may be prone to sugar spikes, which can cause them to feel “high” and sluggish at different times of the day (9). For everyone else – blood sugar stable is the best way to keep you energized for as long as possible.
Green smoothies are also known to be rich in antioxidants, which are responsible for the protection and repair of cells throughout your body. They help eliminate free radicals, which can lead to premature aging (2).
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What Can You Eat On A Smoothie Diet?
Depending on your body type and goals, the idea of drinking smoothies for weight loss might not be a good fit for you. However – they can definitely help speed up your weight loss process by adding fiber, antioxidants, and other nutrients to your diet.
Apples, blueberries, bananas, mangoes, peaches – almost any fruit that is both sweet and in season will do. You can also use other fruits, but keep in mind that some might add extra calories to your smoothie, which could thwart the purpose of weight loss.
Beets, cucumber, kale, melons – green smoothies are great because you can mix almost any vegetable into your smoothie. Leafy greens like spinach and kale will help add to the fiber content in your beverage, which is good for weight loss as well as improved digestive health. Vegetables are also low energy dense foods (11).
Almonds, pecans, sunflower seeds – adding nuts and seeds to your smoothie gives it some texture, as well as extra protein. This is especially important if you are not including animal products in your diet.
Almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk – pick the one that fits your taste preferences. Non-dairy milks can add additional nutrients to smoothies and make them creamier (6). Some people might like using dairy milk, but it is important to keep in mind that dairy milk is considered a processed food because it has been highly altered by refining and homogenizing.
Avocado, coconut oil – these are some of the best sources of healthy fats as they contain monounsaturated fatty acids (1). They can also be used for making smoothies creamier while boosting their nutritional profiles.
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How Much Weight Loss On 30-Day Green Smoothie Diet?
A lot of people who have tried the smoothie diet claim they lost anywhere between 5 and 20 pounds in a matter of weeks. However, it is important to note that these numbers are based on testimonials, which do not always represent the truth.
You should also be aware that any weight loss you experience from this diet is going to come down to your eating habits and exercise routine. Smoothies are not a magical potion – if you consume two smoothies per day, plus a regular meal, while still being sedentary, you are not going to lose weight.
It should also be noted that although smoothies can help you get a number of essential nutrients, the smoothie diet is still lacking when it comes to protein and fat. It is therefore important to have a source of protein with your meal (animal or plant based) so you can feel satiated throughout the day (7).
Sample 30-Day Green Smoothie Diet Plan
While on this diet, here’s how your menu for a day should look like:
- Before breakfast: start your day with a glass of warm water. You can add lemon slices for flavor
- Breakfast: Green smoothie made of spinach, coconut milk, and fruits
- Lunch: Raspberry oatmeal smoothie made with low-fat Greek yogurt
- Dinner: Oven-baked salmon with steamed vegetables
- Snack: A handful of roasted nuts e.g. pecans, or cashews
A Word Of Caution
To lose a significant amount of weight on this diet, you’ll have to take it beyond 30 days. It is not recommended to follow the smoothie diet for too long – limiting your meals to just smoothies will likely not provide you with sufficient amounts of protein, vitamins, and minerals found in whole foods.
Equally important to consuming a balanced diet is making sure you are getting adequate physical activity. Staying consistently active is key to improving your metabolism, burning more fat, and keeping a healthy body.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- A healthy approach to dietary fats: understanding the science and taking action to reduce consumer confusion (2017, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Antioxidants: In Depth (2013, nccih.nih.gov)
- Calories – StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf (2020, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Fiber | The Nutrition Source | Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health (n.d., hsph.harvard.edu)
- High intake of fruits and vegetables predicts weight loss in Brazilian overweight adults (2008, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- International Analysis of the Nutritional Content and a Review of Health Benefits of Non-Dairy Plant-Based Beverages (2021, mdpi.com)
- Protein, weight management, and satiety | The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2008, academic.oup.com)
- Sugar: fruit fructose is still healthy (2012, nature.com)
- Sugars and blood glucose control | The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition | Oxford Academic (1995, academic.oup.com)
- The health benefits of dietary fiber: beyond the usual suspects of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and colon cancer (2012, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The Relationship between Vegetable Intake and Weight Outcomes: A Systematic Review of Cohort Studies (2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Vegetables as Sources of Antioxidants (2013, researchgate.net)