Weight loss smoothies have got a lot of attention during the last few years. The free flow of information, health consciousness of the people, and health advice from medical professionals have placed green smoothies at the top of the list to reduce chances of heart-failure, cancers, and obesity.
Why do we become obese?
Morbid obesity was not a problem at all in the first half of the 19th century. Even after industrialization in 1840, it took around 100 years to convert into a general public issue. The processed foods are generally high in energy density, so they have a causal relationship with heart diseases, cholesterol, and obesity problems.
The foods with high energy density have disturbed the energy balance (intake = utilized) that our bodies have been maintaining for centuries. This leads us to gain more weight than our unique bodies require.
In layman’s biology, our bodies have to perform a lot of functions for which they need energy which comes from food. When our bodies need energy, the stomach releases a hormone Ghrelin, and we feel hunger. If we take high energy-dense foods like processed foods and fats and fail to utilize the total energy for body functions, the extra is saved in the shape of fats. When we follow this practice regularly, our bodies continue to amass fats and ultimately become resistant to another hormone Peptide YY which tells body that no more energy is required.
There are two ways to get rid of this extra energy in our bodies. First, take foods which are low in energy density like vegetables and fruits. Second, increase your physical activity to get rid of extra pounds of fats.
World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) has published its research report (https://www.paho.org/hq/dmdocuments/2011/nutrition-AICR-WCR-food-physical-activ.pdf) and concluded that the factors which cause various cancers also cause weight gain and obesity. In its exact words:
“The evidence that obesity, weight gain, and also overweight short of obesity increase the risk of a number of cancers, is more impressive than was the case in the mid-1990s.” (Chapter 8 of the report)
In other words, every overweight and the obese person has more chances to suffer from cancer, heart failure, and other physical problems. The WCRF further reports:
“The evidence showing that body fatness is, or probably is, a cause of a number of cancers, as well as a large number of disorders and diseases, is impressive; and overweight and obesity are now pandemic, including among children and young people.”
The WCRF has observed an “associations between specific foods and food groups with weight gain, overweight, and obesity” and concluded that “energy density is a probable causal factor” between foods and obesity.
“Yes, I have learned that, but I want to know whether weight loss smoothies can help me to get rid of obesity or not,” you may ask again!
While looking at weight loss smoothies in the broader energy intake from foods, there is every probability that they can reduce our weights. While setting global targets to reduce obesity and cancer, the WCRF has set its 4th goal as:
“Population average consumption of non-starchy vegetables and of fruits to be at least 600 g (21 oz) daily.”
Doesn’t seem a high amount?
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests:
“Replacing foods of high energy density (high calories per weight of foods) with foods of lower energy density such as fruits and vegetables can be an important part of a weight management strategy.”
It also suggests that every adult should include 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) also recommends that you should fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables.
However, most of the people in the world are failing to achieve these targets as in the USA only 1 out of 10 people are found using 5 servings of food or around 600 grams of vegetables and fruits daily.
Interestingly, some experts suggest to include 60%-40% ratios of vegetables and fruits, respectively. Yet many recommend using 100% of veggies as five servings/a day to get the best results.
There are several factors which don’t allow us to utilize the required quantity of vegetables, including bitter taste of vegetables, indigestion problems, and presence of pesticides’ remains in vegetables and fruits.
The best option is to go for the weight smoothies which are prepared from organic vegetables and fruits. You can add Stevia leaves to make the taste more acceptable. However, you must avoid adding cane sugar in the weight loss smoothies.
Unfortunately, there is very little research done on weight loss smoothies or even green smoothies. The latest one investigated impact of daily consumption of green smoothies on 29 volunteers for 30 consecutive days. The smoothies were prepared with leafy green vegetables, fruits, and water. The study “demonstrated trends toward improvements in waist circumference (p = 0.026), waist-to-hip ratio (p = 0.05), and symptoms of burden linked to diet (p = 0.04), small intestine (p = 0.04), large intestine (p = 0.05), and mineral needs (p = 0.04).”
This study proves many health benefits like controlling blood pressure but improvement in the waist circumference and waist to hip ratio shows the weight loss smoothies working. Their effectiveness enhances when you use them habitually for a long time.
In my opinion and experience, weight loss smoothies work for everyone. However, some of them may create problems related to indigestion or oxalate buildup. When your challenge is with ingestion of vegetables, it is better to boil them a little to make them more digestible. However, if you have kidney stones or fear of oxalate buildup, you must avoid to include vegetables which are high in oxalate like spinach.
You can build your own weight loss smoothies as per your taste. It is advisable to go for vegetables alone or include only little fruits. However, when you ask me of my favorite weight loss smoothies, I prefer this combination of ingredients.
• 1 teaspoon of green tea in a cup of water
• Juice of 1 lemon
• 1 teaspoon of moringa dried and ground leaves (a small cup of loosely packed moringa green leaves can work better)
• 1 cup loosely packed organic baby kale (or cabbage)
• 1 cup of organic mint leaves
• 1 cup of fresh mint leaves
• 1 cup of organic cucumber
• 1 tablespoon of grated fresh ginger
Preparation of this weight loss smoothie is straightforward. Put all ingredients in your best blender for green smoothies, and let it run till the ingredients become smooth. It is recommended to avoid adding sugar for the best results.
By: Saqib Ali Ateel