Juicing is a health fad that took off very quickly. And that’s no surprise when you consider that it has all the hallmarks of a popular fad: it’s easy, it’s tasty, and it makes a lot of big promises.
We love juice as much as the next person and we have experimented with occasional smoothies (always with an extra scoop of DetoxOrganics, of course) and tonics over the years. But enjoying a glass of juice a couple times a week is one thing and subsisting entirely on juices is another thing entirely.
So, is juicing actually effective, can it help with weight loss or is it a waste of time and money that will only be detrimental to your health?
If you’re about to embark on a new juicing diet for weight loss, then make sure you read this guide first.
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What is Juicing?
Juicing is the act of extracting the juice from fruits and vegetables and then drinking it. It is quite a broad term when used to refer to weight loss or dieting as it can mean everything from enjoy an occasional glass of juice, to subsisting on nothing but juice.
There are detox and weight loss programs out there that sell bottles of juice to be consumed throughout the day, either in combination with food (often very little) or without any additional calories.
These drinks tend to use a base of fruit juice (often apple juice) in combination with vegetable juices and plant extracts to create a drink that is both tasty and full of nutrients. There are also programs that merely provide recipes, with the customer creating the drink themselves, or frozen packs of ingredients.
In any case, there are several issues with these programs and with juicing in general and while they might be able to help you with your weight loss or detox goals, you need to proceed with caution.
Juicing for Weight Loss
If you’re juicing for weight loss it means you’re going to be putting yourself in a calorie deficit, perhaps with the assumption that you will still be getting all of the nutrients that you need from the fruit and vegetables.
And this is true, but there are exceptions.
When you eat a piece of fruit you are consuming fiber, which helps to slow down the release of the fruit’s sugar. This fiber will also fill you up more—thus suppressing your hunger—and stimulate the release of important digestive enzymes.
When you extract juice from this fruit you are leaving all of that fiber behind. You will still get the same nutrients, but you’ll also get the same number of calories—and sugars—and because there is no fiber these will be released quickly into your bloodstream.
Not only will they cause an insulin spike akin to what you would get from a soft drink, but you’ll also feel hungry again in an hour or two, forcing you to either endure the hunger and starve yourself, or to pig-out.
If you’re faced with the option of eating fruit/vegetables whole or juicing them, then you should always eat them whole. If you simply can’t bring yourself to do the former and you would be missing out on essential nutrients otherwise, then feel free to juice.
But drinking fruit juice like this all day long and consuming no whole foods (or very few whole foods) is very bad for your health. It might help you to lose weight, but only if you are in a calorie deficit throughout that time and even then you will suffer from it, feeling constant hunger pains all day long.
Other Issues with Juicing
Not only are you missing out on fiber by not eating your fruits and vegetables whole, but you’re also missing out on some essential antioxidants and minerals contained without the skin of the fruits or vegetables.
For instance, the compound resveratrol is found in the skin of red grapes and could be one of the healthiest substances out there, with suggestions that it can aid cardiovascular health and even make you live longer.
Another compound, lycopene, may be just as beneficial and is said to be one of the reasons why people in the Mediterranean (who consume a lot of it) live longer than the rest of us and have a low instance of certain types of cancer. But this compound is found in its highest concentration in the skin of tomatoes, something that just doesn’t end up in your juice.
There is a reason that every study you have seen extolling the benefits of a balanced diet use the words ”whole foods”, because when you start cherry picking parts of the plant based on sweetness and convenience then you lose a lot of what makes them healthy.
Benefits of Juicing
It’s not all bad news and there are some benefits to juicing, providing it isn’t done to excess:
- Gives you plenty of nutrients that you may otherwise miss.
- Keeps you hydrated.
- Great tasting way to experiment with fruits and vegetables.
- Can give you a health boost pre-workout or during endurance training.
- Healthy alternative to soda.
Just make sure you:
- Watch how much sugar and how many calories you’re consuming.
- Focus on more vegetables and less fruit.
- Add some fat (peanut butter, coconut oil, etc.,) and protein (whey, seeds, nuts) if you’re consuming nothing else.
- Keep an eye on your intake of fat soluble vitamins as it’s possible to consume too much.
- Check with your doctor first if you have a preexisting health condition or are using medication.
- Do not limit yourself to a juice-only diet if you are pregnant.
Conclusion: Should You Juice?
As mentioned already, if you don’t like vegetables and don’t consume them, then by all means try juicing every now and then. However, it’s not something that we would recommended for regular consumption and there are better alternatives out there.
You can enjoy occasional juices with plenty of whole foods; you can make smoothies that retain the skin and the fiber; or you could take a shortcut with the DetoxOrganics superfood powder.
When we created DetoxOrganics we focused on extracting only the best from each organic fruit and vegetable that we used. We didn’t just take the sugars and the vitamins—we took it all. This means that when you make your daily drink with this superfood powder you get every last antioxidant, mineral and vitamin, with nothing left behind and no sugar spikes.
We created it because we know that it’s not convenient or cheap to consume dozens of fruits and vegetables a day, and because it’s not healthy to focus only on juices.
If we’ve now put you off juicing for weight loss, then try DetoxOrganics instead.