Zero Belly Smoothies: Lose up to 16 Pounds in 14 Days and Sip Your Way to A Lean & Healthy You - David Zinczenko (2016)

Bonus Chapter. The Truth About Our Drinks

If there’s a single greatest secret to the effectiveness of Zero Belly Smoothies, it’s this: When you’re drinking a smoothie, you’re not drinking one of the many other beverages on offer in America, most of which are, quite literally, toxic.

The average American now drinks about a gallon of soda a week. Add to that our odd new habits of swapping tap water for bottled “vitamin” water (120-plus calories) and giving up plain iced coffee for Mocha Frappuccinos (520-plus calories) and you can see how quickly the calories add up—and that’s before chugging an “energy drink” (another 280 calories) that tastes exactly like what would happen if a crazed pastry chef hijacked a truckload of Smarties and drove it into a battery acid factory. Those three drinks alone give you 920 additional calories—almost half a day’s worth!

In fact, liquid calories now make up a whopping 21 percent of our daily calorie intake—more than 400 calories every single day, more than twice as much as we drank 30 years ago. To give you a perspective on those numbers, imagine taking two slices of Pizza Hut Thin ’N Crispy Pepperoni Pizza, tossing them in a blender, and hitting “puree,” then drinking the whole thing down. That’s 420 calories. Now imagine that the typical American has been doing this every single day for years.

Wow. Disgusting, right?

But it’s not just a story of calories in and calories out. More and more research is showing that the sugar in soda, energy drinks, iced teas, and commercial smoothies is literally attacking our bodies, causing the growth of belly fat and all the health crises that come with it. And one study found that sugar-sweetened beverages were responsible for more than 37 percent of the added sugars we consume every day. Here’s what drinking those sweeteners is doing to us.

Added sugar causes your body to store fat around your belly.

Within 24 hours of eating fructose, your body is flooded with elevated levels of triglycerides. Does that sound bad? It is.

Triglycerides are the fatty deposits in your blood. Your liver makes them, because they’re essential for building and repairing the tissues in your body. But when it’s hit with high doses of sugar, the liver responds by pumping out more triglycerides; that’s a signal to your body that it’s time to store some abdominal fat.

Added sugar makes you skip going to the gym.

In one study at the University of Illinois, mice that were fed a diet that mimicked the standard American diet—i.e., one that was about 18 percent added sugars—gained more body fat even though they weren’t fed more calories. One of the reasons was that the sugar-addled mice traveled about 20 percent less in their little cages than mice that weren’t fed the sugary diet. They just naturally…slowed…down.

Added sugar is the No. 1 factor in your risk of dying from diabetes.

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic have come right out and said that added fructose—either as a constituent of table sugar or as the main component of high-fructose corn syrup—may be the No. 1 cause of diabetes and that cutting sugar alone could translate into a reduced number of diabetes deaths the world over.

Added sugar makes you dumb, demented, and depressed.

“Reduce fructose in your diet if you want to protect your brain,” announced Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, professor at the University of California Los Angeles. He and his team tested how well rats recovering from brain injury learned new ways to get through a maze. They found that animals that drank HFCS took 30 percent more time to find the exit. “Our findings suggest that fructose disrupts plasticity—the creation of fresh pathways between brain cells that occurs when we learn or experience something new,” he says.

That’s pretty scary stuff, but behind that slightly sickening science comes some great news. Because if you want to strip away pounds, shrink your belly, and begin to sculpt a leaner, fitter body—while also boosting your health, calming your mind, and fighting back against some of the most significant diseases of our time—just changing what you drink could be all you need.

One study at Johns Hopkins University found that people who cut liquid calories from their diets lose more weight—and keep it off longer—than people who cut food calories. Simply cutting out liquid calories—by switching your usual drink to tea—could save you nearly 42 pounds this year alone!

But to make the Zero Belly Smoothies plan work, you first have to rid yourself of the liquid toxins your body has been piling up. Here’s how to do it:


>Swear Off Sodas and Bottled Teas

Annual weight loss: 12 pounds

According to the National Institutes of Health, the third largest source of food calories in the American diet isn’t a food at all. It’s soda. We get more calories from soda every day than we do from meat, dairy, or anything other than baked goods. How can that be possible? Because of all the sugar. Mountain Dew, for example, not only delivers 52 grams of sugar per 12-ounce can but also gives you a delicious side helping of brominated vegetable oil, a component of rocket fuel. And I don’t mean metaphorical rocket fuel—I mean the stuff they actually put in the engines to keep the gears from exploding.


>Don't Drink Juice Drinks

Annual weight loss: 19 pounds

If the FDA ever forces drink manufacturers to start properly labeling their products, SunnyD would have to be called ObesiD. (Some versions of the brand have up to 180 calories and 40 grams of sugar per serving.) Most of these “juice” drinks are really just water and high-fructose corn syrup. If you drink just one of these a day, cut it out—you’ll lose 19 pounds this year!


>Choose Smoothies Over Juice

Annual weight loss: 14½ pounds

What could be healthier than this: Langers Pomegranate Blueberry Plus? It’s 100 percent juice, says so right on the label. But the “Plus” is juice concentrate, which is so sweet that Langers packs 30 grams of sugar in each 8-ounce glass: That’s the sugar equivalent of two—two!—Snicker’s Ice Cream Bars. Juices strip the fiber out of fruits and concentrate their sugars. Zero Belly Smoothies keep the fruit intact, so you get all the healthy stuff—without the blast of sugar.


>Drop the Bottled Iced Tea

Annual weight loss: 13½ pounds

You may think a bottle of iced tea is healthier than a soda, but you’re only about half right. First, once a tea is made and sits on a supermarket shelf for, oh, an entire NFL season, the nutrients have spent enough time exposed to light and air that they begin to break down. The fact is, store-bought teas typically lose 20 percent of EGCG/catechin content during the bottling process, which is why brewing your own makes a lot more sense. Plus, who knows what else has worked its way into that bottle? Snapple’s All Natural Green Tea packs 120 calories and 30 grams of sugar, while Ssips Green Tea with Honey & Ginseng is sweetened not so much with honey but with high-fructose corn syrup.



Diet sodas can pack on pounds, too. “Artificial sweeteners affect our sense of satiety,” says Isabel Smith, MS, RD, of Isabel Smith Nutrition. “Our bodies have evolutionarily developed to expect a large amount of calories when we take in something exceedingly sweet, and those artificial sweeteners are from 400 times to 8,000 times sweeter than sugar. It causes a couple things to happen: The muscles in your stomach relax so you can take in food, and hormones are released. With artificial sweeteners, your body says, ‘Wait a minute, you told me you were going to give me all this high-calorie food.’ It can actually send some people searching for more food, out of lack of satisfaction.”