20th Jul

Why Fruit Smoothies Can Block Weight Loss?

Many people are willing to do whatever it takes to lose weight – even if doing so means putting their body through the wringer. A number of articles in recent years have touted the efficacy of liquid calories in the quest for weight loss.

I’ll be frank, though: the thought of this nauseates me.

I’m an absolute foodie. I really mean it when I say I LOVE food.

Liquid diets are for people who have just had gastric surgery, and you’re peddling them to someone who can eat solid food.

Seriously?

Don’t get me wrong; I’ve tried the liquid diet.

I was once a big proponent of fruit smoothies as a way to satiate hunger without overindulging. Now, though, I can give thanks that my views have evolved over the years.
I’m more interested in eating a balanced diet, enjoying real food, and nourishing my body.

No more yo-yo dieting, no more counting calories, and definitely no more liquid diets.

Whatever a person’s health or weight goals, it’s time to stop treating fruit smoothies like the holy grail of diets.

And here’s why:

Fruit smoothies are obscenely high in sugar.
Yes, it’s naturally occurring sugar, but it can still cause blood sugar to spiral out of control without the fibre of whole fruit to mitigate it.
These spirals inevitably lead to hunger spikes and energy dips.

Plus, natural sugars generally correlate with calories…

So one may be consuming more than they think.

Even with fruit, a calorie is a calorie; if the body burns less than consumed, that leftover sugar will turn to glycogen and stay in the body.

Most health experts agree that too much of anything – even water! – is not a good idea.

Even though fruit is generally regarded as healthy, we now know that more than two servings per day could sabotage weight loss goals.

This is especially true for individuals with a lot of weight to lose.

If you fall into this category, your dietary changes should involve vegetables, protein, and healthy fats like raw coconut oil and nuts. This way of eating will help stabilize hunger and provide nutrients while reducing calorie intake.

If a patient of mine is trying to lose weight, I don’t recommend any more than two servings of fruit per day, and definitely no more than one fruit smoothie.

And rather than simply choosing any fruit smoothie, I recommend a blood sugar balancing option.

In most cases, it doesn’t leave a person feeling hungry two hours later.

Blood Sugar Balancing Green Smoothie (Good Choice)

Blood Sugar Spiking Mango Banana Smoothie (Bad Choice)

1/2 Cup Coconut Milk, 1/2 Cup Water 1 Cup Orange Juice
Large Handful of Greens, Like Spinach 1 Cup Cut-Up Mango
½ Avocado 1 Banana
2 Sprigs Parsley 1/3 Cup Low-Fat Vanilla Greek Yogurt
1 Tbsp Raw Coconut Oil ½ Tsp Vanilla Extract
2 Drops Stevia 1 Tbsp Honey

This green smoothie, with healthy fat from coconut oil, is much lower in fructose than the mango banana smoothie.

It tastes just as great, and provides more vitamins and nutrients in lieu of too much sugar.

Why should you care about balancing your blood sugars?

Well, for one thing, blood sugar levels are directly connected to appetite – it’s how the body gauges the energy sources we’re putting into our body.

People who start their morning with a high sugar fruit smoothie typically…

  1. Snack more throughout the day.
  2. Have more food cravings.
  3. Consume more calories.
By balancing blood sugars, a person is likely to achieve faster weight loss. On top of that, paying attention to how you start the day can improve metabolism, energy levels, and overall health in the long run.

While fructose does not raise blood sugar immediately, it does have a significant effect on glucose levels.

Some experts believe that, since fructose is already very high in the North American diet (from processed foods), additional fructose in the diet (even in fruit form) may be stored as fat, leading to metabolic dysfunction.
Since the fibre in whole fruit slows the rate that sugar is absorbed, eating whole fruits enables a blood sugar rise more gradually.

In order to achieve healthier blood sugar levels every day, I recommend including a good source of protein at breakfast.

Add an egg, a handful of nuts, hemp seeds, or whey protein powder to a morning green smoothie.

The mistake most people make when creating smoothies is they rely too heavily on high-glycemic fruits like bananas.
The Glycemic Index (GI) is a numerical classification that measures how quickly a carbohydrate produces a rise in circulating blood sugar. A higher number means a greater rise in blood sugars, which triggers the pancreas to release increased amounts of insulin. Insulin assists with the transport of sugar into the cells to be used as energy, but high amounts of insulin can prevent fat burning. Some fruit smoothies offer 80 grams of carbohydrates per serving, which would easily send blood sugar levels (and insulin) through the roof.
 (Side note regarding liquid ingredients: definitely don’t add juice to smoothies. Opt for water, almond milk, coconut milk, or coconut water instead. A glass of orange juice has about 36 grams of sugar which is almost as much as Coke, containing 39 grams of sugar.)
It’s now evident that high-sugar fruit smoothies, particularly ones that contain high GI fruits, may sabotage weight loss efforts.

While the occasional sugary smoothie isn’t terrible, fruit smoothies may not be the best option when trying to lose weight.

It’s clear that although some sugar is necessary for the body to function, too much can hinder weight loss efforts, even in the form of fruit.

Although fruit provides the body with fuel, I don’t know anybody who is deficient in fruit. 1-2 servings per day is generally more than enough to get vitamins and nutrients you need.

This may come as a surprise for some, because we’ve been taught for years that we need to eat 4-5 servings per day.

Although a fresh bowl of fruit is refreshing and tasty, too much of it can add pounds and make weight loss difficult.
Struggling to lose weight? Many people have 3 or more fruit servings in their morning smoothie alone.

Orange juice contains virtually the same amount of sugar as Coke. Surprised? Most people are.

In the end, it’s simple.

If a person is trying to lose weight, they ought to limit their intake of fruits. It may help them achieve their goals faster.

So, the take home message…
Having a high-sugar fruit smoothie at breakfast, a banana mid-morning, a strawberry daiquiri at lunch, or a bowl of fruit before bed is not helping drop those pounds.
It’s just keeping a person hungry and possibly adding to their waistline.
Enjoy whole fruit in moderation!

 

Dr.Sara Celik
Dr. Sara Celik is a board-certified Naturopathic Doctor and is the Spokesperson for Renew Life Canada. She is a leader in the health and wellness industry and is regularly featured as a sought-after expert on television programs and in health publications. Dr. Sara carries over 15 years experience and her clinical practice and work in the community Is focused on digestive health, detoxification and weight loss.
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