I have seen it enough that I have to say something now. It may be time to throw some shade at your smoothie (that’s how the kids say it, right?). I’ve seen too many people be sabotaged by their smoothie. It’s the great health seductress. It can be all natural, plant-based, full of antioxidants, and tastes amazing.
The problem is that the carbs load is shooting your feet as you lace up your shoes to get started. If we take the average American looking to replace their morning bowl of cereal with a healthy option, the smoothie gets chosen 9 out of 10 times (my estimate). And if you Google ‘smoothie recipes,’ something like this will appear at the top of the search engine. Winner, winner, I’m going to get thinner…except you’re not.
Where I have seen the most sustainable changes for weight loss, a decrease in inflammation and insulin regulation is when people keep their carb load in the window of 50-100 grams per day. There’s a lot of play in that range but a good starting point for people to start tracking. Another way to look at it is to keep the percentage of calories from carbs under 30%.
Looking at the smoothie in those confines, here’s why it becomes a saboteur.
1 cup of mixed berries: 17 grams of carbs
1 banana: 23 of grams carbs
1 cup vanilla almond milk: 14 of grams carbs
That’s 54 grams right there, in one drink, without considering what else you’re going to eat the rest of the day. I don’t care if you add a lot of fat and protein to it, they don’t take away the carbs you added. If you want a lot of fat and protein, then mix some protein powder with full fat coconut milk.
If you really want to sabotage yourself, go with the Food Network ‘healthy’ endorsed smoothie and add some yogurt, orange juice, and honey and blame your lack of weight loss on your thyroid. Your diet will look phenomenal to your endocrinologist, so it can’t be that, right?
If you’re struggling to lose weight yet ‘eating healthy,’ I can’t recommend enough that you start tracking your macros (carbs, fats, and proteins). Most of the time, shifting to a diet void of grains will have a massive impact in lessening your carb load. But if you’re just replacing that normal breakfast of cereal and toast with a smoothie, you may be flirting too much the great saboteur. If you’ve changed your macros to what is outlined above and still having problems, you know how to find me.