Including yogurt smoothies as part of an overall balanced diet has many health advantages and can even help with weight loss. Smoothies are portable, convenient and flavorful options that work well for any daily meal. However, it's also important to be aware that a smoothie-only diet has severe nutritional limitations and cannot meet all of your nutritional requirements.
Smoothies have a number of potential health benefits. According to MyPyramid.gov, those that include fresh fruits or vegetables can help reduce risks of bone loss, kidney stones, diabetes, stroke, heart disease and even cancer. Low-calorie smoothies with nutritious bases may make it easier for people to maintain healthy weights and avoid obesity or overweight. Finally, yogurt smoothies are one of the most convenient meal and snack options, so they're simple for almost everyone to incorporate into a regular diet.
There are multiple smoothie products manufactured commercially, and people also have the option of making their own smoothies at home. Each type has pros and cons. Commercial varieties are more expensive per serving and almost always contain more sugar, fat or sodium than homemade shakes, but they're more convenient to serve and store. Homemade yogurt smoothies are economical and can have greater nutritional benefits, but they're not as shelf-stable.
An excellent yogurt smoothie starts with a high-protein, low-fat and low-sugar variety of yogurt, such as nonfat Greek yogurt or low-fat vanilla yogurt. For one person, about a cup of yogurt is sufficient. The simplest yogurt smoothies contain just blended yogurt, fresh or frozen fruit and ice cubes. Optional healthy add-ons include honey, maple syrup, unsweetened cocoa powder, wheat germ, smooth tofu, vegetables, protein powder, nonfat milk or 100-percent juice.
When used as meal replacements, yogurt smoothies can encourage weight loss by reducing or restricting a person's daily caloric total. In an article for the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Dr. Monica Zangwill writes that a Columbia University study relating to weight loss found that people who used shakes and other meal replacement options lost more weight than people who followed a traditional low-calorie diet. Smoothies for use in weight loss should be low in fat, sugar and sodium and contain a limited number of calories.
According to MayoClinic.com, drinking too many yogurt smoothies can result in weight gain and cause people to miss out on the benefits offered by whole foods. A complete, balanced diet includes servings of whole grains, nonfat dairy, vegetables, fruits and lean proteins, and drinking only smoothies could result in nutrient deficiencies or other health problems. Before beginning any new diet plan, discuss the details with your doctor.