The 21 Day Smoothie Diet is a weight loss plan advertised as an easy and effective alternative to fad diets.
In fact, the creator of the plan claims that the diet is associated with a long list of benefits and can help improve sleep, keep your skin glowing, increase your energy levels and accelerate weight loss almost instantly.
However, there are several serious drawbacks associated with this weight loss diet, as it can cause more harm than good when it comes to long-term adherence.
This article will discuss the 21 Day Smoothie Diet, the risks and side effects that may be associated with it.
What is a smoothie diet?
The 21 Day Smoothie Diet is a weight loss plan developed by Drew Sgoutas.
The plan involves replacing two of your meals each day with smoothies, and the principles of the program are outlined in The Smoothie Diet e-book, which is available online.
The eBook includes 36 smoothie recipes, breakfast ideas, shopping lists, weekly schedules, and tips for making smoothies and maintaining long-term weight loss.
According to Sgoutas, the 3-week diet plan can help promote healthy eating, improve immune system function, detoxify the body, improve skin and gut health, and increase energy levels.
Sgoutas also claims that the diet can promote weight loss. In fact, some of the testimonials shown on the website claim that the plan has resulted in weight loss of up to 4 kg in just 3 days.
How is the diet going?
The 21 Day Smoothie Diet involves replacing two meals each day with the smoothie recipes in the e-book.
The book features 36 recipes created from ingredients such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and almond or coconut milk.
In addition to these two smoothies, the plan allows you one hearty meal a day and two healthy snacks.
Solid meals should consist mostly of whole foods, and snacks should be low in sugar and high-fiber foods, around 150-200 calories per serving.
You are also allowed one day a week where you don’t have smoothies, although your meals should still consist mostly of whole, minimally processed foods.
If you want, you can start the plan with a 3-day detox, where you have to eat smoothies with two healthy snacks in between instead of three meals a day.
According to the program’s website, the diet works by creating a caloric deficit, meaning you burn more calories than you burn each day.
The diet is also high in fiber and claims to help reset your taste buds and reduce sugar cravings.
The program is designed for 3 weeks, but you can repeat it as many times as necessary until you reach your target weight.
Foods to avoid
The 21-Day Smoothie Diet encourages nutrient-dense foods like fruits and vegetables while limiting processed ingredients.
Foods to enjoy
Most of the smoothie recipes included in the 3-week program consist of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds mixed with coconut milk, coconut water, or almond milk.
Additionally, the plan emphasizes whole, minimally processed foods for your remaining meals while following the diet.
Some specific examples of foods that are encouraged on the 21 Day Smoothie Diet:
- fruit: bananas, pears, apples, oranges, pineapples, raspberries, strawberries
- vegetables: spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, peppers, carrots, broccoli
- Protein foods: chicken, turkey, salmon, eggs, legumes, yogurt
- Whole grains: brown rice, quinoa, oats, buckwheat
- Nuts and seeds: flaxseed, almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, nut butter
- drinks: almond milk, coconut milk, coconut water
- Herbs and spices: vanilla extract, fresh ginger, parsley, mint, cinnamon
- Other ingredients: unsweetened cocoa powder, unsweetened coconut flakes, granola, honey
Foods to avoid
On the 21 Day Smoothie Diet, you should limit your intake of sugary drinks and processed foods, including processed meats, refined grains, and fried foods.
Here are some examples of foods to limit or avoid while on the diet:
- Processed meat: bacon, ham, sausages, salami
- Refined grains: white rice, white pasta, white bread, tortillas
- Fried food: fries, mozzarella sticks, doughnuts, fried chicken, fish sticks
- Processed foods: semi-finished products, biscuits, chips, pretzels, bakery products
- Sugar-sweetened beverages: soda, sweet tea, sports drinks, energy drinks
Does it help you lose weight?
According to the creator of the 21-Day Smoothie Diet, the plan provides a total of about 1,500 calories per day.
Consuming 1,500 calories a day will cause weight loss for many people. However, this can vary based on many different factors, including your age, body size, health and activity level. (1)
The diet also encourages a variety of nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, which are high in fiber.
Fiber moves slowly through the digestive tract, helping you feel fuller for longer, which can aid in weight loss. (2) (3)
Although the 21 Day Smoothie is low in calories and high in fiber, it is also very restrictive and difficult to follow.
Additionally, research shows that liquids like smoothies are less filling than solid foods, meaning you may be hungrier if you drink mostly smoothies each day. ( 4 )
Some studies have shown that weight loss programs that use meal replacements may be associated with a higher risk of weight regain when continuing with a standard diet. (5) (6)
Although replacing some of your meals with smoothies may result in short-term weight loss, it is unlikely to be effective in the long term.
Disadvantages and side effects
In addition to being restrictive, unsustainable, and difficult to follow, the 21 Day Smoothie Diet can have many other drawbacks and side effects.
It increases the risk of nutrient deficiencies
Eating only solid food once a day and replacing the other two meals with smoothies can increase the risk of nutritional deficiencies.
Although the smoothie recipes recommended by this program contain nutrient-dense ingredients such as fruits and vegetables, they also omit or limit many foods that are typically included in a balanced diet, such as whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins. .
Some are also low in protein. For example, the Green Detox Smoothie—made with kale, coconut water, bananas, ginger, and lemon—contains less than 4 grams of protein per serving.
This makes it difficult to ensure you meet your protein needs, which negatively affects tissue repair, muscle growth, immune system function, and more. (7)
Also, although the diet claims to provide about 1,500 calories per day, most smoothie recipes are very low in calories and likely won’t provide enough calories to meet the needs of most healthy adults.
Eating too few calories each day can slow your metabolism and cause serious negative side effects, including hunger, nausea, headaches, and fatigue. (8) (9)
It can contain a lot of sugar
Many of the smoothies in the 21 Day Smoothie Diet contain multiple servings of fruit, including bananas, pineapple, peaches, and strawberries.
Some also contain other high-sugar ingredients, such as honey or granola.
Although these ingredients can be taken as part of a healthy, balanced diet, the large amounts included in this diet may not be suitable for everyone.
People with diabetes in particular may need to watch their intake of foods high in carbohydrates, such as fruit or honey, to prevent spikes in blood sugar levels. ( 10 )
It is not based on evidence
One of the biggest downsides to the 21 Day Smoothie Diet is that there is no research to back it up.
While smoothies can be a great addition to a well-rounded diet, there’s no evidence to suggest that eating smoothies in place of other nutrient-dense foods can improve your skin, gut health, or immune system function as the diet claims.
In addition, the official website of the diet is full of testimonials from customers who claim to lose large amounts of weight very quickly.
Not only is this unrealistic and unsustainable, but it can also be harmful to your health. ( 11 )
The 21 Day Smoothie Diet is a 3-week weight loss plan that involves replacing some of your meals each day with smoothies.
Although the diet promotes many nutrients, it is also restrictive, unsustainable, and very low in calories and protein, increasing the risk of nutritional deficiencies and other side effects.
It is also not supported by research and is high in carbohydrates and sugar, which may not be suitable for people with diabetes.
Instead of reaching your goals through various fad diets, consider combining a nutritious, well-rounded diet with a healthy lifestyle for the best results.
This is more beneficial for weight management and overall health in the long run, and is also much simpler, sustainable and effective.