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Adding More Fat to Smoothies Boosts Weight Loss — Here’s the Recipe to Follow

Many health food smoothies are missing a crucial weight-loss ingredient — and no, it isn’t protein

We’ve all heard how drinking fruit and veggie smoothies can help people drop a few unwanted pounds. Those green, purple and pink drinks seem like the perfect dietary tool. They are loaded with good stuff including vitamins, minerals and protein powders. So why aren’t they working for many of us? Weight-loss experts caution that most of the health-food smoothies concocted in kitchens and bought in stores are missing a crucial ingredient needed to rev weight loss. And while, sure, protein is important, it turns out that healthy fats are equally powerful. “People are short-changing themselves on fats in their smoothie recipes,” says integrative physician and weight-loss expert Eric J. Rosenbaum, MD. Keep reading to learn exactly how to make better weight loss smoothies.

How healthy fats help the body

Forget the low-fat craze of years past. Dietary fat is good for our health. Without healthy fats, our body can’t properly use all the fat-soluble nutrients (like vitamin D, calcium and magnesium) loaded into our meals, so our metabolism misses out. Plus, healthy fats help women’s bodies function better — building cell walls, keeping skin supple, supporting hormone production and boosting brain function.

Dr. Rosenbaum, who studied at Yale University and completed his residency at Harvard Medical School, says smoothies are the easiest ways to get healthy fats into our diet. What’s more, fat-rich smoothies are one of the best nutrient-delivery systems women can use to counteract menopausal hormone changes and weight issues. He adds, “Taking a super-shake daily covers a lot of other sins and gaps in a person’s diet.”

Adding fat to smoothies supports weight loss

Dr. Rosenbaum has helped countless women in his practice reach their weight-loss goals by adding things like coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil, seeds and nut butters into smoothies. Why does this work wonders? These delicious smoothie add-ins can be a weight-loss game changer. The doctor reminds, “It’s not fat that makes you fat. It’s carbs — especially carbs without fiber.” He adds, “It’s counterintuitive, but good fats in appropriate amounts help you lose fat and not lean muscle.”

How fat-rich smoothie recipes lead to flat-belly results

1. Fat-infused smoothies silence hunger

“Healthy fats can help us feel fuller for longer and aid in weight management,” says Daniel Pompa, MD, co-founder of the Pompa Program for people suffering from chronic illnesses. Indeed, when researchers followed people in one study who swapped their usual breakfast for smoothies with ingredients rich in omega-3 fatty acids and fatty liquids like coconut milk, subjects quashed hunger within 15 minutes — an effect that lasted for hours. Plus, they lost up to 18.5 pounds in 12 weeks.

Dr. Rosenbaum adds, “Good fats actually turn on your metabolism. They tell your stomach, Hey, let’s slow down, and signal that you’ve eaten enough.” He adds, “You’ll feel much fuller after a smoothie with added fat than with a fat-free one.” Another slimming benefit, according to Dr. Pompa: “Smoothies with protein and fat help manage blood sugar.” The result? Cravings disappear! (Learn how to quiet food noise naturally.)

2. Fat-infused smoothies slash calories

Drinking smoothies with omega-3 fats in them staves off hunger so well that participants in one research study out of India ate up to 35% fewer calories throughout the day, compared to those who sipped smoothies made with other ingredients.

More promising news: One type of dietary fat, called medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), is made of small, rapidly digested molecules that heat up quickly inside the body. And in an Italian study, researchers found that when we eat a meal that contains this special type of fat, we burn three times more calories for 6 hours after eating! (Learn the 11 best MCT oils to use.)

3. Fat-infused smoothies target belly bulge

“Eating inflammatory foods causes deposits into the ‘pot belly fat’ that wraps around our organs,” says Dr. Rosenbaum. But healthy smoothies do the opposite, shrinking the belly, thanks to their naturally anti-inflammatory ingredients. Dr. Rosenbaum calls his smoothies a “super punch” of healing nutrients. “Since your body is getting exactly what it craves at a cellular level you’ll eat less at your next meal.”

Related: Inflammaging Could Be the Cause of Your Fatigue — How One Woman Finally Found Relief

How to upgrade a weight loss smoothie recipe

Given the benefits of dietary fat, it’s no wonder that experts started zeroing in on how to improve popular smoothie recipes. Gut-health specialist and five-time New York Times bestselling author Frank Lipman, MD, says, “A protein shake for breakfast is no longer just about packing in the protein, greens and fruit. It’s about functional medicine ingredients.” Dr. Lipman, who developed the ActivatedYou Superfood Plant Protein shake, which contains fat-rich hemp, likes to blend nut butter or whole nuts into his drinks.

The type of fat you add to smoothies matters

If weight loss is your goal, you can’t just toss any kind of fat in your daily smoothie, says Dr. Rosenbaum. “The types of fat you choose are critical.” You’ve likely heard that the saturated fats in animal products and the inexpensive omega-6 fats in processed vegetable oils and fast food can harm health by increasing inflammation in the body.

“But good fats, in balanced proportions, decrease inflammation and decrease weight,” assures Dr. Rosenbaum. With them, you get a creamy, rich smoothie experience. “Fats just taste good and have a good mouth feel.” (Learn more about using omega 3-6-9 for weight loss.)

The best fats to use for weight loss smoothies

Below, Dr. Rosenbaum shares his favorite fats to add to your blender. Whichever ingredients you choose, the key is enjoying two or more different healthy fats in every smoothie. Choose from…

1. Omega-3s from flaxseed

While eating omega-3s from clean food sources like organic salmon is beneficial, most people don’t like adding fish oil to a smoothie because it leaves behind a fishy aftertaste. Instead, Dr. Rosenbaum recommends using plant-based omega-3s in the form of ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), which is found in flax oil or a product called BodyBio Balance Oil.

Another option: Add store-bought ground organic flaxseeds right into your shake. Dr. Rosenbaum says, “It makes your shake really thick and tasty.” Other sources of these polyunsaturated fats include chia seeds, walnuts and hemp seed. Dose: 1 Tbs. flax oil or 2 Tbs. ground flaxseeds.

Related: Good Fats for Weight Loss: The Easy Add-In One MD Calls “Extraordinary”

2. MCTs from coconut oil

Research shows that MCTs, which are abundant in coconut oil, have anti-inflammatory benefits. And they are also nearly effortless to absorb and process: Our body needs to go through about 17 biochemical steps to break down most fats, but it only needs two steps for MCTs. That means our liver — a major organ when it comes to metabolism — isn’t even needed to handle MCTs. So consuming this type of fat eases stress on the overworked organ. Dose: 1 Tbs. coconut oil or MCT oil. (Read about the best MCT oil for weight loss.)

3. Monounsaturated fats from avocado

The monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) in avocados are linked to lower cholesterol, better blood-sugar regulation and improved heart heath. Avocados also contain a fatty molecule that blocks cellular processes linked to belly fat and diabetes. Another source of MUFAs: extra-virgin olive oil. Dr. Rosenbaum says, “I swear it tastes good in a smoothie.” Dose: 1 avocado or 1 Tbs. olive oil. (Try this Avocado Boat Recipe.)

4. PCs from soy

While many of the fats above may sound familiar, Dr. Rosenbaum shares a lesser-known secret slimming weapon: phosphatidylcholine (PC). It is a lipid found naturally in soybeans and egg yolks. He says, “It’s a critical component in building healthy cell walls, making your skin glow and your brain fire on all cylinders. PC works synergistically with other good fats to build a healthy body.” It’s available as a liquid supplement (try BodyBio PC Liposomal Phospholipid Complex) or toss frozen soybeans into your blender. Dose: 1 Tbs. PC.

Results of drinking weight loss smoothies

Dr. Rosenbaum sees women lose 1 or 2 pounds a week drinking fat-rich smoothies. “They’re almost universally surprised how well it works.” And for those who add in lifestyle changes like exercise, “losing 2 to 3 pounds a week is possible.”

Gina Myrmel lost 15 pounds in one month with the help of drinking avocado smoothies, shedding 107 pounds overall on her own. And Lora Douglas lost 43 pounds with MCTs.

Related: These 2 Fats Aid In Healthy Slimming

Sample weight loss smoothie recipe

Ready to try Dr. Rosenbaum’s weight loss smoothies for yourself? Use the flexible recipe guidelines below… Enjoy one shake a day for either breakfast or lunch. To make, combine the following ingredients with at least 1 cup of water in a 32-oz Magic Bullet-style blender.

• Fruits and veggies: Start with organic wild blueberries, strawberries, leafy greens or coleslaw base. Use enough to fill 2/3 of your blender cup. “It’s really important to keep changing up ingredients in the smoothie,” says Dr. Rosenbaum. “Don’t make the exact recipe the same way every day.” This approach delivers a broad spectrum of vitamins and minerals to support your metabolism and gut health.

• Healthy Fat: Mix and match at least two different healthy fats. For example: Add 2 Tbs. of flaxseed and 1 Tbs. of liquid PC (like BodyBio PC), plus a spoonful of olive oil or 1 avocado

• Protein: Use 1 scoop of unsweetened whey or plant-based protein powder (like Almased)

• Herbs: Add in 1 Tbs. grated and frozen ginger ice cubes, matcha, unprocessed cocoa powder or ground turmeric

• Supplements: Toss your multivitamin and other supplements in and the blender’s blades will grind them up. Dr. Rosenbaum says, “It saves on swallowing.” 

Weight loss smoothie success: Mollie Sparks lost 42 lbs

Before and after photos of Mollie Sparks who lost 42 lbs with weight loss smoothies
Mollie Sparks

Mollie Sparks looked at the event invitation and knew she’d have to decline. Lately, her days were filled with brain fog, fatigue and body aches. But when her husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, she sprang into action, knowing: I have to be around to help him.

Smoothies became part of Mollie’s healing regimen

So Mollie visited Eric J. Rosenbaum, MD, at the Gedroic Medical Institute to detox her body of heavy metals, mold and parasites. One thing she did to rebuild her health was drink breakfast smoothies with healthy oils. She’d blend avocado, berries, coconut milk and ice with 2 Tbs. of oils that contained omegas.

After three weeks, Mollie stepped on the scale and discovered she’d lost 10 pounds. “Weight loss wasn’t my goal, but my goodness was it ever effective. It was such a big motivator to keep going.”

“I feel better than I have in 20 years!”

Six months later, Mollie shed three pant sizes and was slimmer than she’d been in decades. What’s more: Her husband lost 47 pounds, got off some prescription meds and relieved his sleep apnea with the help of smoothies!

Mollie says, “It’s incredible. We feel like doing everything.” They’ve overhauled their garage, redesigned their backyard and are attending events again. Best of all, the couple’s future has been transformed. Mollie says, “Now we work on building each other up!”

This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.

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