If you're trying to lose some weight and get in shape, you know there are two key ingredients to it: exercise and diet. The good thing is that there are numerous ways to diet while still eating tasty foods and drinks. One common diet is the use of meal-replacement smoothies. Replacing a smaller meal or snack with a smoothie can be a great way to keep your calories and carbs low. But even smoothies can be your enemy if you're not careful about what you're putting in them!
There are some common ingredients like fat-free yogurt that you may think will help keep your smoothie light, but actually, it ups the dosage of sugar or carbs! These are 7 ingredients you may be putting in your smoothies that are hampering your weight loss. Make sure to avoid them the next time you're making a delicious cool diet drink.
While almond milk is by and large a healthy option for making your smoothie a little creamier, adding sweetened almond milk to the mix can result in drastically increasing the caloric and sugar content.
Even small amounts of sweetened almond milk can put an extra 5 grams of sugar in your smoothie. The best option is to add plain almond milk to give your smoothie a creamy texture and increase your fruit content to pump up the sweetness.
Since we’re on the topic of sweetness, the first thing to avoid while making smoothies is granulated sugar. You might be tempted to add artificial sugar-free sweeteners instead, but those are heavy in preservatives and other unhealthy factors. Naturally, the healthiest option would be natural sweeteners, right? Wrong!
Sweetening additives that seem healthy aren’t always quite diet-friendly. Just a single tablespoon of agave nectar will add an extra 5 grams of sugar to your smoothie. Add a tablespoon of honey and you’re also adding 17 grams of sugar. Even coconut nectar, which is a common ingredient in healthy smoothies, throws in 13 grams of carbs and sugar. Again, the best way to add some sweetness to your smoothie is with fruits.
Now that we’ve confirmed fruits to be our one-stop destination for super sweet smoothies, the difficulty arises in storing large amounts of fruits on a regular basis. Fresh fruits are, of course, the best option, but buying fresh fruits every single day or even every other day may not be an option if you don’t live next door to a farmer’s market! So you may be tempted to take the easy way out with canned fruits, but that is a big no-no.
Canned fruits usually come soaked in heavily sugared syrup or their own juices, so even if the fruit is unsweetened, it can lose a lot of its nutritional content. Frozen fruits can be an excellent replacement for canned fruits and usually tend to be fresher than their canned counterparts because they are typical frozen soon after being picked.
Reading the labels of frozen fruit packages will help you ensure that your natural sweeteners are free of sugar, sodium, or chemicals so that even your frozen fruits remain high in nutrients.
You might think that a fun way to get your smoothie to truly reach the heights of yumminess is to add in a hint of ice cream, sherbert, or frozen yogurt. The last two especially seem like they could be healthy options, but make no mistake, all three of these items are loaded with sugar. Instead of getting a diet drink, you’ll be mixing together a dessert drink.
Many smoothie bars and outlets offer smoothies with frozen yogurt and even frozen oatmeal, but these cream-based treats tend to be heavy on sweetness. Even a small amount of frozen yogurt can add around 17 grams of sugar, and in the case of ice cream, the number is even higher. The good news is these creamilicious creations can be replaced with equally effective unsweetened Icelandic or Greek yogurt.
This isn’t an ingredient that needs to be entirely avoided so much as added in extremely careful amounts. Nut butter, avocado butter, and coconut oil are all ingredients that are known to give smoothies and extra calorie-cutting kick. While you may want to scoop up half an avocado and toss it in the blender to give your fruit smoothie a creamy texture, nutritionists typically recommend adding no more than 1/5th for each serving.
Similarly, nut butter and coconut oil are two items where less is always more. 2 tablespoons is all you need to add a little savory deliciousness to your drink. These ingredients contain the good kind of fat, which isn’t stored in the body but rather burnt as energy. More than the recommended dosage, however, can overload you with these good fats which are less than optimal.
Adding 2 tablespoons of almond butter is another excellent option for creaminess, and also gives you a healthy dose of Vitamin E as well as manganese, riboflavin, and magnesium, all of which can improve your metabolic system.
Fruits are the absolute backbone of any good smoothie. This is an absolute fact, and you can consider it written in stone. So it seems perfectly normal to add a little bit of orange juice or grape juice. However, much like the actual fruits that we add to our smoothies, the juices we add to our smoothies also need to be ripe and fresh, and not poured out of a carton or a can.
Packaged juices and juice concentrates tend to be heavy not just in sugar but also in carbs and low on the nourishing fiber that fresh fruits provide for us. Adding just half a cup of orange juice to your drink can also add 13 grams of carbs to it. If you want to add a little extra liquid to your smoothie, use freshly squeezed juice. A good alternative for ice as well is to freeze these juices and throw your new juice-cubes into the blender.
You must be thinking “What?? How can fat-free yogurt not help me lose weight?”. Fat-free yogurts tend to be higher in sugar content, especially in the case of flavored ones, that come with mix-ins like honey or that have fruits at the bottom of the cup. On average, one cup of fat-free yogurts from most common brands contains at least 28 grams of sugar.
A 2015 American study revealed that high-fat dairy products can actually reduce the risk of diabetes, as it is heavy in nutrients like protein, calcium, and Vitamin D. The fat found in most dairy products along with Vitamin D play a great role in increasing muscle strength and decreasing the risk of muscle wastage. Stick to full-fat or reduced-fat yogurts!
Share this with anyone you know on the path to weight-loss!