Juicing: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
By Andy on July 10, 2018
Juicing has become incredibly popular among many health-conscious folks in the past few years. Briefly, juicing can be done in one of 2 ways: either using ONLY juices as part of a “cleanse” in the diet or incorporating juices to provide additional health benefits to an overall healthy eating plan.
But, as with pretty much all different types of nutritional fads, it’s hard to know just what juicing is all about, whether it’s healthy and what the risks might be. We’re going to work backwards, starting with some of the ugly truths (but hang on because the good stuff is still to come!):
Juicing “cleanses” became a fad as a way to rid our bodies of toxins and/or lose weight fast. But beware- these approaches come almost entirely as part of a marketing scam to try and rid you of any excess weight in wallet.
First, juicing cannot “cleanse” your body of toxins (what, exactly, is a “toxin”??). Your liver and kidneys have evolved over thousands of years to be incredibly efficient at flushing your system of anything that it doesn’t need. Let your very effective body go ahead and “cleanse” itself, just as it has always done.
Second, juicing does not provide a full compliment of nutrients that your body needs. Although things like kale and spinach do have some, they are not enough of the protein that your body needs.
Third, juicing strips away one of the healthiest aspects of fruit and veg: dietary fibre. Fibre is absolutely essential to aid in digestion.
Other than falling for the marketing gimmick of “removing toxins”, there is still one more side to the juicing protocol that doesn’t hold water- rapid fat loss.
A juicing diet is likely to be incredibly low calorie, so by starving yourself, you might lose a few lbs in the first few days. But that’s not how fat loss works- 5lbs in 3 days is not possible without a huge drop in water retention. Essentially, you’re probably just dehydrated now.
Additionally, juicing often also ends up being a VERY high sugar diet. That creates a large amount of insulin response, which then tells your body to store fat. If you are consuming high sugar foods PLUS large calorie restrictions, your body will start to store as much fat as possible. So even if you lose weight, it won’t be the kind of weight you are hoping to lose.
Ok, so far I’ve torn apart the full juicing diet. But if you love your morning smoothie, don’t worry! Juicing, as part of a balanced and healthy diet can actually provide a lot of health benefits.
Juicing with vegetables (not just fruit) can add a lot of healthy vitamins and minerals into your diet that you may be missing. If you shriek at the sound of “kale” like me, then this is a great alternative to still get the health benefits.
Juicing can also be a quick and easy way to have a healthy snack when you’re busy. Using natural fruits and vegetables is a MUCH healthier way to get these than pre-bottled drinks, plus it provides hydration and antioxidants.
So don’t become prey to a clever marketing gimmick and try to lose 10lbs in a week while “cleansing your body of evil toxins”. But if you love a good smoothie with fresh fruit and veg, go ahead and chug one as part of a healthy diet!
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