Drink This!

4 Best Weight Loss Drinks

Discover the 60-second weight loss secret in this exclusive excerpt from Zero Belly Smoothies.

Drink This!

4 Best Weight Loss Drinks

Discover the 60-second weight loss secret in this exclusive excerpt from Zero Belly Smoothies.

By David Zinczenko

“I just know I’m going to win the lotto tonight,” my friend Chris told me the other day. “Call it a gut feeling. Ever have one of those?”

“All the time,” I answered. “And so do you. Because they’re real!”

It's true. As I learned researching my new book, Zero Belly Smoothies, we interpret as gut feelings are actually the work of the enteric nervous system, a series of nerves and synapses that’s just as complicated as the system in your brain. In fact, most of your serotonin, the “feel good” brain hormone that modern antidepressants work on, is located in the gut, not in the head.

What does this have to do with smoothies, and weight loss? Because a healthy body, and a healthy mind, start with a healthy gut. And a healthy gut comes from eating foods that work with your digestive system in a way that helps reduce inflammation and improve your belly biome.

Bad bacteria in your gut feed off sugar, just like the bacteria in your mouth. That’s why Zero Belly Smoothies are low in sugar and high in fiber: They starve the bad bugs and feed the good ones. In one Canadian study, subjects who were supplemented with a natural insoluble fiber not only lost weight but reported less hunger than those who received a placebo. Researchers discovered that the subjects who received the fiber had higher levels of ghrelin—a hormone that controls hunger—and lower levels of blood sugar.

The reason insoluble fiber works so well in balancing the gut is that it’s not digested; it remains in your GI tract all the way to the end, reaching the good bacteria in the lower intestines and helping them to fight off the bad guys.

My Zero Belly Smoothies are also high in omega-3 fatty acids, which help to reduce inflammation, and gluten-free. Recent studies have found that gluten can negatively impact gut bacteria, even in people who are not gluten sensitive. Try any of them–or all of them–in the coming days, and see if your “gut feelings” don’t lead to another feeling: the feeling that you need to buy smaller pants. Enjoy these four recipes from the book—and to lose up to 16 pounds in 14 days, and improve your gut feelings, click here to buy Zero Belly Smoothies today!

CANTELOUPE KICK

A great combination of flavors inspired by Mexican cuisine. Just ½ teaspoon of hot pepper can help reduce appetite after a meal, according to a study at Purdue University. And daily consumption of capsaicin, the active ingredient in cayenne, speeds abdominal weight loss, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

1 cup cantaloupe
½ cup mango
1 dash cayenne pepper
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tablespoon ground chia seeds
⅓ cup chocolate plant-based protein powder
6 cubes ice
Water to blend (optional)
298 calories / 5 g fat / 35 g carbs / 6 g fiber / 23 g sugar / 29 g protein

CHOCOLATE BEAN

Beans? In a smoothie? Use canned or precooked beans for a thick, earthy protein and fiber punch. One study found that people who ate ¾ cup of beans daily weighed 6.6 pounds less, on average, than those who didn’t, even though the bean eaters took in more calories.
½ frozen banana
¼ cup black beans
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
⅓ cup chocolate plant-based protein powder
Water to blend (optional)
280 calories / 3 g fat / 31 g carbs / 7 g fiber / 9 g sugar / 31 g protein

VANILLA CHAI

Swap this in for your usual A.M. Starbucks order.
½ cup chai tea (brewed from a tea bag and chilled)
½ frozen banana
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1½ teaspoon natural, no-salt-added almond butter
¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
½ scoop vanilla plant-based protein powder
Water to blend (optional)
219 calories / 9 g fat / 20 g carbs / 4 g fiber / 16 g sugar / 17 g protein

CHOCOLATE DECADENCE

Confession: This recipe is adapted from one of my favorites from Zero Belly Cookbook. I loved it so much I had to include it here as well. For 150-plus recipes that melt belly fat first—featuring foods you love—check out the cookbook today.
½ banana
¼ ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and quartered
¼ cup black beans
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
¼ cup chocolate plant-based protein powder
6 ice cubes
Water to blend (optional)
300 calories / 9 g fat / 34 g carb / 11 g fiber / 9 g sugar / 25 g protein

Notice the avocadoes in that last one? The fact is that eating a moderate portion of unsaturated fats, like the kind found in olive oil, avocados, and nuts, can ward off the munchies and keep you full by regulating hunger hormones. A study published in Nutrition Journal found that participants who ate half a fresh avocado with lunch reported a 40 percent decreased desire to eat for hours afterward. Moreover, increasing the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet while reducing omega-6 fats (found in vegetable oil and foods fried in that oil) has proven to improve metabolic health and reduce inflammation.

It worked for Fred Sparks. A 39-year-old emergency-response adviser from Katy, Texas, Fred drank Zero Belly Smoothies as part of his weight-loss program. “I noticed results in the first week,” he says. “It really was amazing.” Fred lost 21 pounds and 5 inches off his waist over the next six weeks!