Can Smoothies Help You Lose Weight?
I have a confession to make: I am not usually a fan of smoothies. Too many of my patients over the years have enjoyed them but have made too many mistakes in the making of them. The most common error is that they are too high in calories and too low in protein. Blending a lot of fruit together would seem like a great idea, however, as healthy as fruit is, it does have calories and they do add up. And a smoothie for breakfast, without adequate protein, can make you hungry too soon after your last sip.
So, needless to say, I was not thrilled when I saw Harley Pasternak's new book The Body Reset Diet. In his book there are three phases: Phase one consists of a smoothie for breakfast, lunch, and dinner instead of solid food, plus some healthy snacks such as air-popped popcorn and raw veggies and hummus for five days. During phase two, one smoothie is replaced by a solid meal, and in phase three, two are replaced.
Pasternak claims that people who lose a large amount of weight quickly are more motivated to stick with it, and I can't argue with that. But with any kind of diet that replaces solid food with liquids, I remain a skeptic because I truly believe that in order to be successful long term, a person must learn portion control, which foods are healthy, and how to maneuver through any social distractions. It would seem to me that having smoothies for all your meals is more of a Band-Aid to a problem.
That said, I have seen worse diets by far. Pasternak also encourages a high intake of fiber, a positive because fiber helps to fill you up and possibly eat less. And since phase one is only five days, for a healthy individual, I don't think any harm will come from drinking one's meals as opposed to chewing them. I do hope, however, that no one tries to stay in that phase for longer than five days just because they are losing weight. The "more is better" attitude always backfires in the end, which I hope Pasternak would agree with.
I also think that once people transition to actual food, they should be careful not to drink the smoothies, no matter how delicious they are, in addition to their meal since that would only lead to extra calories. I much prefer water with meals-no calories there.
What I find most intriguing, though, is that Pasternak makes it seem that whipping up three smoothies a day is easy. Perhaps he should meet my patients; getting them to simply grab a yogurt and a piece of fruit sometimes can be a challenge.
So do I think that Body Reset Diet is for everyone, especially "middle America" as Harley claims? No. But if someone wants a healthy quick start, it might work, and definitely if Harley works out with them one-on-one like he has with Kanye and Kim.