Smoothies or juice diets are often thought of as a really healthy way to diet – think of all that fruit and veg that you're packing in. But how good for you are they really, and how do they compare to using meal replacement shakes for weight loss?
If you aren’t good at eating your fruit and veg then smoothies and juices can seem a great way to fit them into your diet. Everything from carrots and cucumber to apples, bananas and berries can be mixed up into one tasty drink with you fitting 5 or more different types into each one.
And fruit and veg is good for you right, so this has got to be the perfect answer to dieting and being healthy all at the same time?
Well perhaps not. There are a few reasons why smoothies and juices aren’t as good for you as you might think.
Firstly, when you juice the fruit and veg you miss out on a lot of the fibre and goodness that you would get if you ate these individually. Experts recommend that smoothies and juices should only count as 1 of your portions of fruit & veg per day for this very reason – drinking your fruit and vegetables just isn’t as good for you as eating it!
Fruit smoothies and juices in particular are also incredibly high in sugars. They are natural fruit sugars, so not as bad for you as the processed white stuff you spoon into your tea and coffee, but you should still limit the amount that you have.
A particular reason why sugars aren’t good when you are dieting, is their simple structure and how quickly and easily they are processed by your body. Drinking a juice or smoothie will give your body a quick rush of sugar, your insulin levels will spike and then you’ll suffer from a sugar slump. Your body will then want more sugary foods to help you feel better again. This can result in you suffering from sugar cravings, snacking on unhealthy foods and having a lack of energy.
Compare this to meal replacement shakes and there is a huge difference. Meal replacement shakes contain whey protein. This is digested much more slowly by the body and therefore keeps you feeling full much longer and prevents you getting cravings. With meal replacement shakes you should find it much easier to stick to your diet plan.
Smoothies are seen as being good for vitamins and minerals. But if you choose a good meal replacement shake then this will include a wide range of these to help you get all the nutrients you need whilst you’re dieting. A shake developed by anyone who understands dieting will be boosted with a range of vitamins, iron, folic acid and more to help keep you feeling in tip top condition whilst you lose weight.
Of course another benefit of meal replacement shakes is their controlled, low calories per portion. A typical shake contains 200-250 calories. Even whilst dieting you should be eating a minimum of 1200 calories per day in order to keep your metabolism up and your body healthy.
So this means that you have enough calories to have some planned snacks in between your meals. This is a perfect opportunity to eat some of the fruit and veg that you would have put in your smoothie – and get the full benefits from it. One snack for less than 100 calories could be a cup of blueberries or an apple. Another could be carrot sticks, broccoli or peppers with low fat houmous. Keep it varied and it’ll help to keep things interesting plus giving you a really healthy balanced diet.
Juices and smoothies can certainly play a part in your diet. But for a healthier, more effective and sustainable weight loss plan you would be better off choosing meal replacement shakes and eating fruit & veg for snacks. Meal replacement shakes have been shown by a number of studies to help weight loss, when used to replace 2 meals per day and as part of a calorie controlled diet.
Why not check out our 5 tips for choosing a meal replacement shake here…