Diet Saver Shakes

April 7, 2010 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

In a perfect world we could control all of our dining choices. But the reality is that we’re sometimes placed in situations that effectively sabotage the best laid dietary plans. This isn’t an issue for all people, but it does impact a rather large segment of the population that’s trying to lose weight or otherwise improve their health. In such instances, one can always exercise abstinence. However there’s another resource available that can help minimize the consequences of occasional decadent meals.

The primary danger of eating a meal that consists of unhealthy foods is how it affects the chemistry of the body and mind. Flavor enhancers and simple carbohydrates tend to elevate blood sugar levels unnaturally and stimulate dopamine production in the brain. Some researchers have gone so far as to equate this reaction to the response that many have to illicit drugs. Furthermore, this process can be particularly jarring if you’ve been abstaining from these food elements in general. (1)

A strategy that may help to temper the spikes in blood sugar and a whole host of unwanted physiological and psychological reactions to junk food is to pre-load with healthier macronutrients, namely protein and fiber. A simple way to is to have a fiber-rich protein shake prior to attending a business dinner, a friend’s wedding or a night on the town.

I’ve put together two very simple recipes that taste pretty good and accomplish the desired goal of reducing appetite and, thereby, limiting the amount of “off plan” food and beverages you’re likely to consume under these unavoidable circumstances. The two key elements of both appetite-squashing drinks are coconut fiber/flour and whey protein.

Coconut fiber is a good source of pleasant tasting roughage. Also known as coconut flour, it’s a byproduct of coconut milk and oil production. This mildly sweet powder is very low in calories, while an excellent source of insoluble fiber. In addition, modern research indicates that it can effectively lower blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides in people at risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Some scientists have even suggested adding coconut flour to baked goods in order to lower a product’s glycemic index or its potential to elevate blood sugar. A distinct advantage of coconut fiber over other fiber sources is that it has a relatively minor impact on the bioavailability of minerals that are consumed with it. This is likely because of the absence of phytic acid, a substance found in many fiber rich foods that impairs mineral absorption. (2,3,4,5)

Whey protein also plays a prominent role in the following recipes. Recent studies published in periodicals such as the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and the British Journal of Nutrition indicate that this dairy-based protein powder can be used strategically prior to eating in order to: a) reduce food intake in subsequent meals via “suppressed hunger and desire to eat”; b) lower post meal blood glucose and insulin production and; c) increase calorie burning (thermogenesis). (6,7)

It’s also important to note that combining dietary fiber and a good protein source may compound satiety effects. So says a trial published in the February 6th edition of the journal Appetite. The results of the study indicate that the viscosity (gelation) of fiber and the amount of protein provide a synergistic effect in relation to hunger satisfaction. (8)

Tropical Diet Saver Shake

1 scoop of strawberry whey protein *

3 Tbs of coconut fiber

12 oz of cold water

1 packet of Soooo Sweet! stevia (optional)

Note: * I used Bluebonnet Nutrition’s Whey Protein Isolate, Natural Strawberry Flavor.

  • Nutritional Content: Calories: 225. Protein: 29 grams. Fiber: 9 grams. Fat: 3 grams.

Choconut Diet Saver Shake

unflavored or vanilla whey protein **

3 Tbs of coconut fiber

1 tsp organic cocoa powder

12 oz cold or hot Water

1 packet of Soooo Sweet! stevia (optional)

Note: ** I used Jarrow Formulas’ Unflavored Whey Protein.

  • Nutritional Content: Calories: 205. Protein: 23 grams. Fiber: 11 grams. Fat: 4 grams.

I prefer the tropical shake cold. The chocolate shake is more flexible. Sometimes I find that preparing it like hot cocoa is more soothing and it tastes equally good, in my opinion. My only specific piece of advice is to mix and drink quickly. Fiber tends to congeal and expand with time. So I suggest that you prepare these shakes at the very moment that you plan to consume them. You can also adjust the amount of water in order to produce a consistency that is more to your liking.

High Fiber (HF) Intake Lowers Appetite and Glycemic Response
Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 86, No. 4, 972-979 (link)

Chocolate is generally considered a fattening food. But that’s only because of the calories contained in the naturally occurring fat in cacao and the added sugar. Pure cocoa powder typically has only about 10 calories per tablespoon. More importantly, the aroma of cocoa has actually been associated with an appetite suppressive effect that is mediated by the hunger hormone known as ghrelin. Furthermore, polyphenol-rich dark chocolate is documented as: a) reducing blood sugar; b) lowering cortisol (a stress hormone) and; c) encouraging the growth of healthy bacteria in the digestive system which may play a role in weight maintenance. Stable blood sugar and a lower stress response tend to promote more conscious eating patterns. This is a vitally important asset when eating out. (9,10,11,12,13)

The beauty of these recipes is that they’re portable and so easy to make. For instance, you can put the powders in a container or zip-lock bag and bring them with you to school or work. All you need to do is add water and stir. It literally takes a minute or two from start to finish. Regular use may also afford you certain side benefits such as improved “regularity” and other positive shifts in the various health markers I mentioned earlier. In fact, there’s really no downside to drinking these shakes on an on going basis if appetite control is a chronic issue for you. Added fiber and protein are a resource that can used safely as needed.

Be well!


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Posted in Diet and Weight Loss, Food and Drink, Nutrition

6 Comments & Updates to “Diet Saver Shakes”

  1. Nina K. Says:

    Good Morning, JP 🙂

    already had my breakfast but the recipes above are delicious. They seem to be a very good alternative for a lightweight breakfast on very hot summer days for me :-). I use coconut flour for baking. Do you think i can try to solve the coconut flour in almond milk or would their ingredients interact in a negative way?

    Nina K.

  2. JP Says:

    Good day, Nina. 🙂

    I wouldn’t anticipate any problems with the combination of coconut flour and almond milk.

    If you try it out, please let us know your impression of the mix. It’ll be interesting to know!

    Be well!


  3. Vadim Says:

    I didnt like coconut flour when i bought one before. I am willing to try it again in the protein shake recipe. Sounds like it can be an intresting combination. I didnt like it for its dryness , may be I just need to build up my taste for it. or may be adding it in shake will make it mosit and will go down easier. Good stuff as usual! thanks!

  4. JP Says:


    I understand what you’re saying. In terms of baking, have you ever tried using almond meal instead (of coconut flour)? I recently posted a recipe for low carb pancakes that call for almond flour/meal instead of grain-based flours. If you didn’t catch that column, please check this out:

    They’ve become a favorite in our household. 🙂

    Be well!


  5. Vadim Says:

    I absolutely love, love, love almond meal/flour. i used it in everything I baked which is not a lot but still. Since I am pressing for time all the time, at least thats an engraved excuse( we all know there is no such thing as no time for cooking healthy meal) I used to bake salmon patties using almond flour. Since organiic or wild salmon is neither very affordable nor easily available I would use canned salmon. But the trick with canned salmon, as i am sure, you know is to buy Alaskan canned salmon. Canning salmon is forbidden in Alaska. I would drain the alaskan salmon and mix it with sauteed spinach garlic and mushroom. I would add almond flour, spices, a bit of stevia and few eggs. Then i would just bake it for 20 minutes under 375 degrees. It was gooood, at least to my liking. Considering I am not a big fan of salmon I think its a winner. But at one point I did experiment with coconut flour and it wasnt the same at all. I will however try it in the protein shake recipe.

  6. Lissa Says:

    Hi JP,

    Im using one of your articles in an essay and to cite this source I’m required to use a name thats more than JP, could I at least get a last name?

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