For those of you just beginning your weight loss journey, one of the easiest entry points is the weight loss shake. These drinks offer controlled calorie intake, little, if any prep time, and flavorful choices that don’t feel too much like “diet food.”
However, despite the popularity of store-bought weight loss shakes, health experts have begun questioning not only their efficacy, but also their overall contribution to your nutrition and health. Many have begun recommending natural weight loss shakes instead which contain whole foods and/or organic ingredients.
But would this really make a difference? To find out, let’s take a look at some of the biggest questions on this topic.
What is a Natural Shake?
Generally speaking, a natural shake is one that you either make at home, or purchase from an all-natural juice stand. Ingredients usually include fruits, vegetables, natural protein powder, organic milk, Greek yogurt, chia seeds, flax seeds, avocado, wheatgrass, nut butter, and natural sweeteners like honey or stevia. These will obviously vary based on personal preferences, sensitivities, allergies, and availability.
Advantages over Store-bought Shakes
First and foremost, since natural shakes are blended immediately before drinking, there is no need to add any preservatives or artificial ingredients to extend shelf life, or to prevent ingredients from “settling.” Many people like the peace of mind that comes from knowing exactly what’s going into each and every shake, and having that very important measure of control over what they are consuming.
Furthermore, natural shakes offer you an opportunity to provide nutrition specific to your needs. Rather than searching the shelves for products containing specific amounts of protein or vitamin C, you can ensure that you are getting everything you need by customizing your own shakes.
Also, by blending up your own ingredients, you’re keeping all of the dietary fiber that’s found in fruits and vegetables right in your shake. Nothing is strained out.
Finally, from an environmentally conscious perspective, natural shakes produce far less waste. Store-bought shakes tend to come in aluminum cans, plastic bottles, or cardboard containers, all of which can contribute to landfills.
There are a few disadvantages to consider. For one thing, unless you are taking very accurate measurements, it can be difficult to accurately calculate your caloric intake. The shake you make today may contain 100 calories more or less than the shake you make tomorrow, despite using the same ingredients. In this regard, store-bought shakes have the advantage of offering a set calorie count for every shake.
Also, there is more prep time involved. The washing, cutting, storing, and blending of ingredients takes time and creates kitchen mess. So if you’re continually in a hurry, store-bought shakes may be the better option.
Lastly, the availability of ingredients can change from season to season. If you’re really craving a strawberry shake in the dead of winter, you might need to look for a store-bought option.
Do Natural Weight Loss Shakes Really Make a Difference?
If you do a web search for natural weight loss shakes, you’ll see health coaches, nutrition experts, and physicians all weighing in with their favorite recipes. This is because even though there may be some trial and error involved, health experts agree that the best way to achieve optimum nutrition is through whole foods.
Not to mention the fact that many people who replace a meal each day with a healthy, low-calorie weight loss shake begin seeing results in short order. The fiber and water content in a shake will keep you feeling full for a long time, and whole foods take longer to break down and digest than refined processed foods, therefore reducing the need to snack.
So in short, yes. Natural weight loss shakes really can make a difference to your overall health, both in terms of nutrition and in slimming down. Ready to get blending?