At Verywell, we believe that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to a healthy lifestyle. A successful nutrition plan must be individual and consider the whole person. Before starting a new eating plan, consult your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian, especially if you have an underlying health condition.
The 21-Day Smoothie Diet, developed by health coach Drew Sgoutas, claims that substituting some of your meals for smoothies will result in quick and easy weight loss. 1 As with many weight loss plans, including strict diets like these, details are important. .
As part of a balanced diet, smoothies can help you lose weight. But ingredients, portion sizes, and your overall meal plan matter. 2 However, a diet consisting primarily of smoothies may not be everyone’s solution to long-term weight loss success. 3
Sgoutas (who is not a registered dietitian) created the 21 Day Smoothie Diet to help his clients lose weight. Her e-book, The Smoothie Diet, includes 36 smoothie recipes, a grocery list, and a three-week schedule detailing which smoothies to make each day. This e-book also features a “detox” plan with recipes and instructions for replacing three meals a day with smoothies for a total of three days.
The 21 Day Smoothie Diet suggests you eat normally (but stay “healthy“) one day a week and provides a list of recommended foods for that day. Sgoutas suggests repeating the 21-day cycle each time you want to lose weight, but limited research shows that the smoothie diet is an effective weight loss method.
In the short term, followers of this diet can lose weight. But to maintain them, they may need to stay on the diet after 21 days, which is not a healthy long-term solution because it means the main food groups containing essential nutrients are continuously restricted.
For most people, two homemade meal replacement shakes and one “regular” meal may not provide the proper balance of calories, protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats that the body needs. It’s difficult to stick to a meal replacement diet for a long time because these foods are often not as satisfying as solid foods.
The 21 Day Smoothie Diet has followers making and drinking two smoothies a day as a meal replacement. The smoothie ingredients are varied, focusing on lots of fruits and vegetables with a little protein and healthy fats.
The diet e-book offers several guidelines for solid foods that it recommends to followers each day (including what to eat recommendations and several “whole food” recipes), as well as suggestions for low-sugar, high-fiber snacks. You are also allowed to eat normally one day a week as long as the food follows the recommendations in the e-book.
what you should know
A strict “detox” plan replaces all three daily meals with smoothies for three days. In the 21 day plan, you consume two meal replacement smoothies (breakfast and lunch), one solid meal, and a few snacks. While not part of the “official” smoothie diet, some plan “flex days” to make the diet more sustainable.
However, Sgoutas points out that if regular foods are too high in calories, the diet may not be suitable for weight loss. Also of note: the e-book advises that this diet is not for people with food allergies.
The recipes included on the 21 Day Smoothie Diet contain lots of fruit and vegetables, are generally low in calories, and provide important phytonutrients. While fruits offer healthy nutrition, they also contain natural sugars that may not be suitable for you if you are trying to reduce your sugar intake. Some smoothies also call for honey, which just adds more sugar.
Plus, most diet smoothies are very low in protein and some don’t contain healthy fats. Sgoutas emphasizes getting enough protein throughout the day and recommends at least 50 grams a day, at each meal and snack. However, some people may find it difficult to get their daily protein requirements from this plan, especially those who don’t spend a lot of time planning their meals.
If you use your smoothie as a meal replacement, make sure it contains all of the major macronutrients: protein, fat and carbohydrates. You may consider consulting a nutritionist or registered dietitian for further advice – although they may suggest that you avoid a smoothie-based diet and try other, healthier strategies.
Many of the smoothie diet rules and instructions are detailed in the included e-book. While it may seem easy, making two or three smoothies a day (and cleaning out the blender afterward) takes time. And while you can easily make a morning smoothie for a quick breakfast on the go, it’s even more difficult to make a smoothie for lunch when you’re away from home and don’t have access to all the ingredients and a blender.
Unlike other eating plans, the smoothie diet does not require carbohydrate counting, food journaling, or calorie counting. Still, she recommends keeping track of the number of calories in your daily intake of solid foods. Recipes and weekly meal plans (i.e. smoothie plans) are also provided in the e-book, as is a grocery list broken down by smoothie and week. But, despite this convenience, experts remain concerned about the overall effectiveness and sustainability of the smoothie diet.
Is the Smoothie Diet the Healthy Choice for You?
In general, fruit smoothies contain calories from carbohydrates and little fat. But to ensure complete nutrition, they also need a good source of pure protein. Protein helps build muscle, which you need to maintain a healthy metabolism. A diet consisting mainly of smoothies is unlikely to make up for your daily protein intake.
Smoothie diets such as the 21-Day Smoothie Diet are popular, but you will also find similarities between them and other short-term, low-calorie meal replacement diets such as SlimFast. Note that this diet does not follow expert advice on healthy eating plans
The 2020-2025 USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend eating a variety of nutrient-dense foods and drinks while maintaining the recommended daily limit of 2,000 calories for weight control. 6 The 21-Day Smoothie Diet doesn’t follow federal guidelines because it doesn’t include many healthy foods. foods that make up a balanced diet.
For weight loss, the USDA recommends a daily calorie intake of about 1,500 calories. 6 While the Sgoutas in the e-book recommends about 1,500 calories per day, the smoothie recipes in The Smoothie Diet are much less, making it difficult to reach 1,500 calories. Goal Caloric Intake without going overboard with one solid meal a day.
Creating a calorie deficit is often the best way to lose weight successfully and sustainably. But healthy daily calorie goals are different for everyone based on factors like age, gender, weight and activity level. Use this calculator to determine a calorie goal that might work for you.
People tend to lose weight quickly when they start the 21 Day Smoothie Diet because they cut calories (and potentially reduce nutrients like protein and healthy fats). But replacing food with fluids and living on few calories is something most people cannot do safely in the long term
There is no convincing scientific evidence to support the idea of a detox diet – in part because there is no clear definition of what a “detox diet” does. 3 The body naturally “detoxifies” itself through digestion and elimination (e.g., B. defecation). ). and sweat). Detoxification is an important function of organs such as the liver and kidneys. No one food or food combination can do this alone.
The high sugar content in the smoothie diet can be a problem for people with certain medical conditions (which is why this diet is not recommended for people with diabetes).7 It is also possible to lose muscle mass if you lose weight too quickly. And if a dieter goes back to their usual eating habits and increases their caloric intake, they may not maintain their weight loss in the long term. This is probably why the e-book suggests repeating the 21 day diet as many times as needed.
While you can get recipe ideas from The Smoothie Diet e-book, you should consider making your own healthy smoothies and using them as part of a sensible, balanced meal plan. For best results, measure each ingredient and calculate the full calorie count for your drink. This can save you from a common weight loss mistake — underestimating the impact of liquid calories.
Remember that long-term or short-term diets may not be necessary for you, and many diets don’t work, especially long-term diets. While we don’t condone trendy food trends or unsustainable weight loss methods, we do present the facts so you can make an informed decision that best fits your dietary needs, genetic plan, budget, and goals.
If your goal is to lose weight, remember that losing weight is not necessarily the same as being your healthiest self and there are many other ways to strive for health. Exercise, sleep and other lifestyle factors also play an important role in your overall health. The best diet is always one that is balanced and fits your lifestyle.