Do Green Smoothie Cleanse Diets Work ?
I don’t know about you but it seems like green detox smoothie diets are all the rage lately in books and magazines but I bet you are wondering if they work ?
Well, in this article I will get into how a smoothie detox is different from other diets, what detox plans are the most popular, and what to expect if you do a detox.
What exactly is a Green Smoothie Detox ?
A green smoothie cleanse or green detox cleanse is a way to reset your body to prepare for a healthier lifestyle. Your body already naturally cleanses many toxins that you get from your everyday environment but a green smoothie cleanse is a way to help detox your diet and boost your body’s natural detoxification efforts.
By eating large amounts of healthy vegetables, fruits, and natural ingredients in your green smoothies you are giving a significant boost to your body’s primary detoxification organs. This results in potential benefits like weight loss, healthier skin, and increased energy.
Problem with Common Detox Diets
Many detox diets involve severely limiting your calories and not eating nutrient rich foods for days or weeks. This is definitely not healthy and there is usually no medical evidence supporting these restrictive detox diets. They don’t result in lasting weight loss and can be risky to your health.
With a smoothie cleanse, I am not talking about those crazy no-calorie, diet fat cleanses made popular by some celebrity like the lemonade cleanse where you only drink lemon water.
A green smoothie detox is not a starvation diet. Green smoothies can act as a full meal replacement and are made with leafy greens, fruits and healthy proteins.
How Green Smoothie Diet Works
You will generally consume less calories with a smoothie detox diet because you are filling your body with nutrient dense foods rather high calorie sugar and carbohydrate foods. The green smoothie calories that you do consume are healthy and can be processed by the body more efficiently which can lead to healthy, sustainable weight loss.
The green detox smoothies use certain fruits and vegetables full of antioxidants and other nutrients that support better detoxification in the body.
Most green detox plans have you drink up to 3 smoothies a day for your 3 meals.
You can search around online and find various detox smoothies. Detox smoothie recipes usually follow the same pattern:
- 2 cups of fruit (berries, banana, pineapple, apple are all popular for detox)
- 2 Cups of leafy greens (Spinach, chard, and kale) and other vegetables
- 1 cup of liquid (Water, almond milk, rice milk)
- Optional: Add a little protein like nut butters, nuts, flaxseed, protein powder, superfoods, and/or detox herbs(turmeric, ginger)
Most people decide to just follow a proven detox plan so they don’t have to think out their calories and ingredients. This is especially important when you are distracted by dealing with sugar and caffeine withdrawal symptoms the first couple of days.
Things To Watch Out For With Green Detox Diets
Some green smoothie detox recipes don’t have many calories so if you just start drinking some detox smoothie recipes that you found on the internet you might not be getting enough of a health balance of calories, fat, and proteins for sustainable energy and weight loss.
As mentioned above, you want to have green smoothies with fiber, proteins and fats to provide energy since they work as a meal replacement.
Initial tiredness and low energy is a common side effect that people experience when starting a green detox diet. These withdrawal symptoms result from cutting out processed sugars and caffeine and eating a clean diet. Once you get past the first couple days you will see a rebound in energy and no longer feel sluggish.
Other symptoms like bloating, constipation, headaches, and diarrhea can also occur the first couple days as your gets used to the clean diet.
Generally, it helps to follow a proven green detox plan with balanced recipes so that you are getting enough calories and nutrition.
Smoothie Cleanse vs. Juicing Cleanse
Some people choose to do a juice detox using a juicer which was made popular by the documentary Sick, Fat, and Nearly Dead but many people find is easier to detox with smoothies which are more filling and more versatile.
Juicing removes the pulp and fiber from fruits and vegetables which can cause you to feel hungry sooner because it the juice is less filing. Whereas, a smoothie includes the whole fruit and vegetable which can provide a more balanced meal replacement and essential macronutrients which is the goal of a cleanse.
Another benefit of Green smoothies is that they not only include fiber which helps with digestion of foods but also can contain ingredients that add protein.
Many people prefer a smoothie detox rather than a juicing detox diet because juicing only is generally calorie deficient and therefore difficult to stick to.
Some people can feel the detox symptoms mentioned above more with a juice cleanse because they aren’t getting enough nutrition and are constantly hungry.
Review of 4 Popular Smoothie Cleanse Diets
Green Smoothie 7 Day Detox Diet Plan
It provides a detailed 7 day detox diet plan to follow with meal plan templates, color photos, printable shopping lists, specific ingredients to use and why, detailed ingredient substitutions if you have any food allergies, and customer support.
I have tried some of Katherine’s meal replacement smoothie recipes that she calls “Green Thickies” and love them. A meal replacement green smoothie is like a traditional green smoothie but it adds in a healthy carbohydrate like whole oats or quinoa to give you needed energy. With the healthy carb added, a basic green thickie smoothie is just over 400 calories.
The smoothies in this plan taste good and include some wonderful spices and flavorings that I haven’t seen in other green smoothie recipes.
Here is an example of a green thickie recipes:
Chocolate Covered Marzipan Smoothie (Makes 1 16ounce serving)
1 Cup Almond Milk or any dairy free milk
½ cup mango chunks (frozen mango chunks work great)
1 Cup of Spinach (or a scoop of Amazing Green Powder)
2 Tablespoons ground almonds (almond flour also works)
3 Tablespoons of cacao powder (or cocoa or carob powder)
1/4 cup raw oats
1 teaspoon of Almond Extract
3-4 small pitted dates
Overall, the 7 Day Detox Diet Plan is terrific and will provide you solid guidance with a step-by-step layout to follow and customer support. The smoothie and dinner recipes are delicious and simple. The plan also details how to follow the diet after the 7 days so you continue to see results. Learn more here.
JJ Smith 10 Day Green Smoothie Cleanse
It claims that you can “lose up to 15 pounds in 10 days” which can occur for those that have a lot of weight to lose. (Disclaimer – that is a pretty extreme claim and I wouldn’t expect results like that.)
JJ Smith suggests having smoothies for all three daily meals and add in several light protein snacks during the day like apple slices with peanut butter.
The book states that the first couple days will be the hardest as your body transitions to the new diet(see withdrawal symptoms mentioned earlier in this article).
Example Recipes from the book:
Spinach Pineapple Smoothie
2 cups fresh spinach
2 cups frozen peaches
1 cup pineapple
1.5 packets of stevia
2 cups of water
2 Tablespoons ground flax-seed
Apple Berry Smoothie
1 cup spring mix green
2 cups spinach
2 cups of water
1 apple sliced and cored
1 1⁄2 cups of frozen blueberries
1 packet of Stevia
2 tablespoons of ground flax seeds
Berry Green Smoothie
3 handfuls spinach
2 cups water
1 cup cut mango
1 cup of cut strawberries
1 handful of seedless grapes
2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds
1 packet of stevia (optional)
OPTIONAL: 1 scoop of protein powder
The recipes make about 34-36 ounces when blendered which you divide into three 12-16oz servings. I would suggest not adding the sweetener as the fruits in the smoothie should be sweet enough.
If you look through the recipes of the 10 Day Green Smoothie detox program you will see they have the same elements of half greens and about half healthy fruits and then add a protein. This is similar to the Nutribullet recipes and plan that comes with nutribullet blenders
Overall the 10 day green smoothie cleanse by JJ Smith has a lot of positive testimonials and worth a try if you can stick to following guidelines in the book.
Dr Oz 3 Day Detox Cleanse
Dr Oz has a free 3 day smoothie cleanse diet that is intended to reset your diet by drinking detox tea in the morning, and then a healthy smoothie 3x a day.
You can see the graphic below which demonstrates how you would plan each day
It is a pretty basic plan and it can be OK for trying out a smoothie but you might want a plan with more recipes and detailed eating plan for sustained success.
The main downside is that I am not sure if this plan would provide you with enough calories and protein to maintain it after a couple days. That is probably why it is just a 3 day detox plan.
10 Day Smoothie Cleanse
The 10 Days Smoothie Cleanse which has a confusingly similar name to the JJ Smith 10 Day cleanse is similar in its approach but provides additional resources like detailed videos and printable resources like shopping lists.
The difference is this program has more resources like daily videos to follow, recipes, and step-by-step printable guide. The videos are good if you are a more visual learner and want to see the drinks being made. You just follow along with the videos. (They also have “core concept” videos that talk about proper mindset for weight loss and how the 10 day smoothie cleanse works with your body..
Like JJ Smith’s detox plan, this plan also claims that you will lose 10-15 pounds in 10 days by following the plan.
Following this cleanse, you drink 3 smoothies a day following their specific, balanced nutrition recipes and detailed healthy snacks.
Overall, a green smoothie cleanse is a healthy way to flush out toxins and reset your body by consuming large amount of nutrient dense whole foods which results in sustainable weight loss. With a detox you are reprogramming your body to crave healthy whole foods.
Many people who stick to a green detox cleanse program can experience immediate weight loss at the beginning as they consume high levels of green vegetables and fruits and remove things like processed carbohydrates, sugar and artificial preservatives.
If you decide to create your own smoothie detox plan then a couple tips are:
- Rotate your greens occassionally to avoid alkaline build-up from any one green source.
- When possible favor using low-sugar fruits.
- If using a protein powder, choose a quality *plant-based* protein powder that isn’t loaded with synthetic ingredients and sugar. Some popular ones are: PlantFusion or RawFit Protein . For green superfoods I like Amazing Grass.
Personally, I feel you can get better lasting results if you follow a specific Green Smoothie cleanse plan because it will be easier to stick to and will provide you guidance on the right ingredients and balanced nutrition needed for proper health versus trying to figure it all out on your own.
Please share if you found this helpful. Also comment below if you have any questions or want to share any green smoothie detox recipes that you like (I am always looking for new recipes to try).