Drinking Smoothies for a Healthier Lifestyle
Smoothies have become very popular for people on the go that want to get in extra nutrition. However, they become a liability if loaded with sugar and fat. Those extra ‘empty’ calories may lead to fat gain or even compromise your metabolic system. Many commercial smoothies found at fast food restaurants or even specialty smoothie stores can be filled with sugar, fat and other ‘empty’ calories. However, there is a way to build the perfect smoothie. Disregard ingredients like chocolate syrup, ice cream or whole milk that lead to bigger fat gain and instead follow these three critical steps:
- Eliminate Added Sugars
Most of us love to add things to our smoothies that make them taste sweeter. Maple Syrup, honey, sugar and even dates can increase the chance that some of this drink will be stored as fat. Why? Added sugar spikes our blood sugar which then spikes our insulin levels that are trying to clear this sugar from the bloodstream. Some of this sugar will go into our muscles to be used for immediate energy. However, a large part of this sugar will be stored as fat, negating the health effects we strive for to begin with. Sugar is a high-glycemic food, meaning it is absorbed into the bloodstream at a very fast rate. The higher the glycemic load, the more insulin is produced and released to get rid of it. Insulin is a storage hormone, so the primary role is to store this excess sugar as fat.
- Add Protein
Usually this comes in the form of protein powder when referring to smoothies. It could include items such as chia seeds or nuts as well. Either way it will help slow the rate of digestion while also providing the building blocks to build muscle and burn fat. Remember that one pound of lean body mass burns roughly 35-50 calories a day at REST…so don’t forget that protein for growth, maintenance and repair of those working muscles. Additionally it stimulates the release of hormones that help with satiety so you don’t reach for the junk food after finishing that smoothie. Overall, if you want to boost your fat loss, protein is critical.
- Include Vegetables…and a Little Fruit
In order to make a healthy smoothie, make sure to load up on vegetables. Feel free to add just a little bit of fruit as a sweetener for taste, but don’t go overboard due to the simple sugar content. The naturally-occurring sugars in vegetables are lower on the glycemic index (they’re absorbed at a slower rate) which could prevent sharp spikes in blood sugar and insulin. Plus they’re filled with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants critical for lowering inflammation and maintaining optimal health…while also boosting fat loss.
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