Protein smoothies and protein shakes can be a great way to help you stay full and fuel you with nutrients.
However, if you buy some of the premade smoothies at “smoothie stores” you need to be careful about how they are made.
They can easily get loaded with sugar which would be going against the reason why you’re drinking protein smoothies in the first place.
But even the smoothies you make at home can sabotage your weight loss efforts if you’re not careful.
Top Reasons Your Smoothie May Be Hurting Your Weightloss Progress
Here are some reasons why your homemade protein smoothie may not be carrying its weight in your weight-loss efforts and what to do about it.
1. You’re Skimping Fiber
If you’re not using enough fiber-rich ingredients in your smoothies, you run the risk of feeling hungry sooner than you would otherwise.
Fiber keeps you feeling fuller longer because it slows down digestion.
Not only does this prevent a blood-sugar spike (and the resulting crash which heads you straight for something to eat), but the fiber is indigestible meaning it doesn’t add calories to your diet.
By including berries, seeds, fruit, and dark green vegetables in your smoothies, you can be sure you are getting enough fiber.
Even the type of dark green veggies can make a difference. For example, kale has twice the fiber as spinach.
Pro Tip: Add tasteless Glucomannan powder to your shakes for the added fiber.
2. You’re Not Using Enough Protein
Having enough protein in your smoothies works toward weight loss in a couple of different ways.
The hormone leptin in protein keeps you feeling fuller longer by blocking the hunger signal to the brain.
At the end of the day, blocking the hunger signal reduces the number of calories you would normally eat.
Also, the amino acid leucine found in protein helps prevent muscle loss thus forcing your body to burn fat instead of muscle.
An easy way to get more protein is to add a scoop of protein powder, greek yogurt, plant-based milk, or peanut butter to your smoothie.
Pro Tip: Collagen powder has protein so can get an extra boost of protein and health benefits by adding a scoop of collagen to your smoothie.
3. You’re Using Too Much Fruit
Fruit makes a smoothie taste good, adds fiber and nutrition, but some fruit is loaded with sugar.
And yes, it is the natural sugar fructose but it is still sugar and still has 9 calories per gram.
Reduce the sugar content by replacing some of the fruit used in your smoothies with lower-calorie vegetables, such as kale or spinach.
4. You’re Adding The Wrong Sweetener
If you are using fruit in your smoothies, don’t use an additional sweetener such as honey or maple syrup.
These natural sweeteners will add 60 calories per tablespoon – calories that you don’t need.
Pro Tip: Use stevia if you want to add a little more sweetness to your smoothie.
5. Your Protein Powder Contains Artificial Ingredients
Poor quality ingredients in protein supplements can include artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and additives that may have negative effects on weight loss efforts and overall health.
- Artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame and sucralose (Splenda), can disrupt the balance of gut bacteria and affect metabolism.
- Preservatives, such as sodium benzoate, can cause inflammation and disrupt the balance of gut bacteria.
- Additives, such as food dyes and emulsifiers, can cause inflammation, disrupt the balance of gut bacteria, and lead to weight gain.
- Fillers are added to the supplement to increase the volume, but they don’t add any nutritional value.
6. Your Protein Powder Contains Toxins
Protein powders that contain toxins can negatively affect weight loss efforts and overall health. These toxins can include heavy metals, pesticides, and other harmful substances that can be present in the protein source.
- Heavy metals, such as lead, mercury, and cadmium, can accumulate in the body over time and can cause a wide range of health problems, including weight gain. They can disrupt the balance of hormones in the body, leading to increased appetite and cravings.
- Pesticides are often used in conventional farming practices to protect crops from pests and disease, but they can also be harmful to human health. They can cause inflammation and disrupt the balance of gut bacteria.
Additionally, consuming protein powders that contain toxins can lead to other health issues such as headaches, fatigue, and digestive problems.
7. Your Protein Powder Isn’t Grass Fed Whey
Using grass-fed whey protein is considered to be more beneficial for overall health and weight loss efforts than using whey protein from grain-fed cows.
Grass-fed cows are fed a diet that is more natural for them, which results in a higher-quality protein source.
This higher-quality protein contains higher levels of:
- Essential amino acids, such as leucine, which are important for muscle building and weight loss.
- Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which has been shown to have fat-burning properties.
- Vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin A, vitamin E, and beta-carotene, which are important for overall health and weight loss.
- Antioxidants, which can help to reduce inflammation and improve overall health.
Additionally, grass-fed whey protein is generally considered to be more sustainable and humane than whey protein from grain-fed cows.
Grass-fed cows are usually raised on pasture, which is better for the environment, and the cows are not given any hormones or antibiotics which can be harmful to human health.
It is important to note that grass-fed whey protein supplements may be more expensive than conventional whey protein supplements but in the end, could be better for your health.
How to Reduce the Sugar Content of Your Smoothies
Here are some tips on how to reduce the sugar content, thus making your smoothies healthier.
Important Note: If the smoothie you are making is helping you reach your weight loss goals don’t switch it up!
1. Use a base with lower sugar content.
If you are currently using bananas, try switching to using avocado instead.
(Or use only half of a banana if you enjoy the taste).
Instead of adding in 9 grams of sugar, you’ll be adding in only one.
Besides, the healthy fat in avocados is more satisfying and will help keep you fuller longer.
If you need more sweetness try using stevia instead.
Remember: Avocado is fat and will change up the macros in your smoothie.
2. Add in more fresh vegetables.
By adding in green vegetables like kale, spinach, or collard greens, not only do you significantly cut down on the sugar content, but also add in antioxidants, fiber, and a host of good nutrients.
3. Use less-sweet fruit
Try using blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries in your smoothie.
Raspberries are one of the lowest fruits as far as sugar content – 3 grams of sugar per half-cup instead of 7 in peaches for example.
Mangos, pineapples, and bananas should be used very sparingly since they contain alot of sugar.
4. Use unsweetened liquid
Using unsweetened plant-based milk, like almond or coconut milk will drastically cut the sugar.
Better yet, use green tea or just plain water as your liquid so you’re using a zero-calorie and sugar base.
5. Stay away from maple sugar and honey.
If you need additional sweetener use stevia or monk fruit.
6. Use powdered nut butter
Usually, peanut butter doesn’t have a lot of sugar but it can make your smoothie taste really good, especially when made with cocoa.
I buy this powdered peanut butter for fewer calories but with the same taste benefit as regular peanut butter.
Related: 11 Workouts To Help You Burn Fat
5 Superfoods To Add To Your Smoothies
Blueberries taste great, they are full of healthy fiber, they add a wonderful blue/purple hue to your smoothies, and they decrease your risk of contracting heart disease.
Eating blueberries regularly can lower unhealthy cholesterol levels and has been directly related to lower rates of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and early death, while promoting healthy, young-looking hair and skin.
These yummy little berries deliver phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, iron, calcium, manganese, and vitamin K, all of which contribute to healthy bones.
Additionally, zinc and iron are two minerals many people have insufficient levels of in their bodies, which are important for keeping your joints healthy.
Because of the above-mentioned minerals, regular consumption of blueberries decreases blood pressure naturally, helps diabetes sufferers manage their condition, prevents the development of cancer, improves mental health, and promotes healthy digestion.
2. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds get healthy levels of omega-3 essential fatty acids into your body.
As you probably know, omega-3 is present in very high levels in fish.
Chia seeds are also chock full of calcium and dietary fiber.
This means they promote bone health and a strong digestive process that promotes a healthy body weight maintenance.
A tablespoon or two in your smoothie and a little extra time blending can deliver a lot of health benefits.
By the way, Chia seeds are almost totally tasteless in a smoothie, so you don’t affect the flavor of your favorite recipe.
Get chia seeds on Amazon here
Along with blueberries, avocados have long been considered a superfood.
If you are looking to thicken up a smoothie, a healthy avocado is perfect for the job.
You get more than 20 essential vitamins and minerals, healthy fats and protein, and healthier, younger-looking skin.
Avocado is also good at making you feel full longer, which means you may eat fewer calories throughout the day, leading to weight loss.
Related: The #1 Reason You Aren’t Losing Weight With Your Diet
Spirulina is a microalgae that grows naturally in fresh, warm-water lakes.
Actually, its blue-green color is what gives some freshwater a greenish tent.
It can be purchased in a powder form that works great in smoothies.
You get the protein, amino acids, and antioxidants your body craves, you promote the detoxing of dangerous toxins and poisons from your body, and you also benefit from an excellent source of iron.
Spirulina is between 55 and 70% protein, a higher level than chicken, beef, or soybeans.
Add 18 essential and nonessential amino acids and more than a dozen other minerals, vitamins, and nutrients, and you see why you should probably start adding spirulina to your next smoothie today.
Get spirulina powder on Amazon here
5. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is so unbelievably healthy that it definitely qualifies as a superfood.
Adding just 2 tablespoons of coconut oil to your daily diet means stronger, healthier, younger-looking skin, hair, and nails.
When you cook with coconut oil, you enjoy the highest flash point of any healthy oil.
This means that unhealthy oxidation does not occur, which is what happens when commonly using other oils to fry, sauté, and bake.
You can rub coconut oil into your hair for a shiny glow, apply to your skin for multiple health benefits, and coconut oil helps you lose weight by aiding your body in the way it metabolizes fat.
You can also plop some into your next smoothie.
If you are making a 16 to 32-ounce smoothie, a tablespoon or two of coconut oil will go unnoticed. It will not affect the taste of your smoothie, and studies show coconut oil supports healthy mental functions.
You also experience an increase in natural energy, while this wonderful oil goes to work killing harmful bacteria, fungi, and viruses in your body.
Get coconut oil on Amazon here
Beginner’s Weight Loss Smoothie Recipe
By limiting the number of calories while still consuming dietary fiber and liquid, you should feel full after drinking a smoothie.
This means you eat fewer calories throughout the day, and with fresh fruits and vegetables in your body, it should reduce your cravings for unhealthy processed foods and snacks.
- The fat in this smoothie is “good” fat, essential fatty acids that lead to optimal health.
- The natural sugars in this recipe are not like refined sugar and they won’t cause your body to store fat because they are accompanied by fiber and nutrients, proteins and vitamins, and add healthy flavor.
Beginner’s Weight Loss Smoothie
- 8 ounces filtered water
- 1/2 medium avocado
- 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 tablespoon honey (optionally use stevia or maple syrup or 1/2 banana to sweeten)
331 cal, 4 g protein, 31 g carbs, 11 g fiber, 24 g fat
You might like: My favorite premade superfood shake that tastes like Birthday Cake!
Smoothie Tips For Beginners
- Don’t spend a lot of money on a blender at first because any blender can get you started.
- Buy produce in season for the best prices and the most nutrition.
- Get to know your grocer or produce provider. You will get better access to information like sales, as well as exactly when each new shipment of produce arrives.
- If you think your smoothie needs to be sweeter try adding stevia instead of fruit. (this is the brand I get on Amazon)
- Add protein powder for extra protein but only if it is organic and grass-fed whey (Isagenix is my favorite brand)
- If money is tight, buy organic foods listed in the Dirty Dozen. The Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 are published annually, revealing the dirtiest and cleanest produce. You can find this year’s lists at EWG.org
- Buy a meal replacement shake for days you don’t feel like messing with all the ingredients. (Isagenix is my favorite brand)
Have fun! Experiment.
Getting healthy is your goal, but why not enjoy the process and create new, tasty, one-of-a-kind recipes along the way?
Keep Reading: Learn how to use protein shakes, smoothies, and bars for weight loss keep reading here