This article has been Fact-Checked by Kendall Kennedy MS, RD, RYT
It’s true that eating more vegetables and fruits can help you lose weight. But what about smoothies? Are they also good for weight loss?
Difference between smoothies and juices
Some people think of smoothies and juices as the exact same thing. There are commonalities but also important differences between the two.
Both of them try to make nutrients in fruits and vegetables more easily consumable.
Juicers remove fiber from your ingredients. All that you’re left with is the juice, which is basically water + micronutrients (vitamin, minerals, antioxidants,..) + calories
Smoothies on the other hand is just pureeing the ingredients together with some liquid. You keep pretty much all of the nutrients, including fiber.
Which one is the best for weight loss?
Removing fiber might not sound like that big of a deal at first but it acutally is.
Fiber is very good for weight loss. It has multiple benefits. First of all, it feeds your microbiome, the microbes that live in your intestines. The health of your microbiome influences your body’s health and weight. Feeding it well is usually not a bad idea.
Fiber also helps you feel less hungry without adding a lot of calories to your diet. Hunger and cravings can be a big pitfall for people trying to lose weight, so avoiding this is a big plus.
Downside of juicing for weight loss
Juicing vegetables might not be that bad since they are generally pretty low in calories and high in micronutrients.
Fruit on the other hand often contains a lot more sugar than vegetables. In terms of nutrients the only significant amounts are from vitamin C, vitamin A and antioxidants. You need those but there are also plenty of other micronutrients you need.
If you juice fruit all that you are left with is a drink rather high in calories from sugar and a few vitamins and antioxidants.
Juicing might be good if you’re looking to increase your micronutrient intake but it’s usually not so great for weight loss.
Smoothies are better
Smoothies keep most of the nutrients from the ingredients. You are basically consuming more vegetables and fruits in a pureed form. This is often good for weight loss.
This does not mean that all smoothies are equally good. Some ingredients are just better than others.
Most smoothies available at the store contain all kinds of unhelpful ingredients. The best way to guarentee a good one is to learn what the right things to add are and to make your own smoothies.
Ingredients matter for weight loss
To make the ultimate smoothie you would have to order all the vegetables and fruits in terms of nutrient contents.
Luckily there are also just some general principles you can follow to make a high quality smoothie for weight loss.
Often the ingredients are mixed with a liquid. Some examples are water, fruit juice, plant milk, dairy products like milk and ice.
If you’re looking to lose weight it’s best to stick to water and ice. The other options contain easily consumable calories. This is not very helpful if you’re looking to create a calorie deficit.
Vegetables versus fruits
Vegetables are usually lower in calories and higher in nutrients than fruits. This makes them a better option for your smoothie in terms of health and results.
Unfortunately the commonly used banana is one of the more below average fruits for a weight loss smoothie.
Some smoothie recipes will urge you to add sweeteners like honey, sugar and artificial sweeteners.
If you’re looking to lose weight you want to avoid these ingredients. The honey and sugar because they contain a lot of calories without filling you up.
The artificial sweeteners because they can increase hunger and cravings and mess up your microbiome.
How much weight loss can you expect from smoothies?
There are plenty of smoothie detox plans that promise magic results. However, when you look at smoothies there is nothing really magical about them. They are just a way to consume more vegetables and fruits.
This most likely results in you eating less foods that are bad for weight loss.
The amount of weight you will lose with smoothies depends on things like activity levels, what the rest of your diet looks like, how fast your metabolism is, ….
Some people might even gain weight if they add a lot of sweeteners or fruits to their smoothies.
There are too many other factors in play to predict just how much progress you will see.