The New Weight Loss Diet: Juicing

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I would never have thought that juicing as a “diet” would become popular.  Like really popular.  I mean, personally, I get A LOT of enjoyment out of chewing my food.  It’s fun.  Juicing leaves you sipping all day.  No chewing.  None.  But, over the past 2 years, juice diets and cleanses have sky rocketed in popularity.  Great for clearing your body of toxins, great for weight loss, great to increase your intake of vitamins and minerals…Just great.  Or so they say. Fruties cocktails

I decided to address these juicing diets because, well, I can’t just ignore them.  Things that are this popular, should and need to be addressed by a licensed health professional so that the general public can educate themselves and make appropriate decisions based on that information.  And before I type another word, let me just say right here and now, that I do not think juice is bad.  I don’t think any foods are bad.  I think juice can be a part of a healthy diet and I also think juice can provide some great nutrients for your body.  Juice as a diet or cleanse, well, that’s another story.

juice3 As you may know or have read, creators or supporters of juice diets claim a whole range of health benefits, weight loss and cleansing benefits to these types of diet.  Below I review some of the most common claims and give you the correct facts (whether or not they’re similar)  Here goes:

  • Juicing diets are great for weight loss.  Following an all juice diet will most likely lead to weight loss.  Why?  Because you’re not eating anything.  While your downing glasses of carrot and kale juice, you’re depriving your body of protein, healthy fats, fiber and the key minerals found in protein rich foods.  And as with any extremely low calorie type diet, your metabolism comes to a screeching halt (ya know…b/c you’ve starved it?)  The second you resume eating normally, you’re body sucks up those calories and builds up more fat stores just in case you decide to “starve” it again.
  • Juice helps cleanse and detoxify your body.  There things in your body, blood being the main one, that need to be filtered, cleaned up and all “trash” removed.  But guess what?  Your liver and both kidneys take good care of that – they are your natural detoxifers and all purpose cleaners.  That’s their MAIN job – detoxify and clean up.  There’s no sound proof or evidence suggesting that any juice or other product detoxifies your body as well as your own organs.  Plus they’ll do it for free!
  • Provides more and you can consume more vitamins/minerals.  Juicing fruit and vegetables doesn’t provide any more vitamins or minerals than you would get if you ate the real thing.  AND some vitamins actually get destroyed by the juicing process.  In addition many fruits and veggies (especially those with dark colored skins) keep a lot of nutrients in their skin – which is left behind after the juicing process.  The Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics put out a study about the differences in the antioxidant levels of whole fruit and that of 100% fruit juice.  There was 24-52% (depending on the fruit) MORE antioxidants found in the whole fruit compared with the juice.  Also, many people believe they can’t eat enough fruits and veggies so juicing helps them get in their required servings.  1 cup of a fruit/veggie juice mix can help you get in a serving or two everyday.  However, a well planned and thought out diet can provide you with the recommended 5-9 servings of WHOLE fruits and vegetables.  Lastly, more is not always better with vitamins and minerals.  Your body only needs a certain amount of each vitamin and minerals.  Anything over that level is excreted in your urine and fecal matter – so excess amounts don’t hang around in your body.  In addition many of these nutrients have toxic levels that can be reached through the excessive consumption of fruit which can have serious side effects.
  • You don’t have to eat whole fruits/veggies if you use juice.  There is absolutely nothing better than eating a whole piece of fruit or vegetable.  Juicing machines leave out the fiber rich pulp and skins of fruits – including all the vitamins/minerals stored in the skins.  Plus, the actual process of juicing damages some nutrients.
  • Juicing is low calorie.  Many people think that since juicing is used as a diet, juices must be low in calories.  FALSE.  This is especially true if it’s not 100% juice.  But even if you’re making all natural, no sugar added juice at home, it probably has more calories than you think.  1/2 a cup of fruit has about 60 calories but only yields about 4 oz of juice – not a lot.  Processing several cups of fruit/veggies can leave you with 400 calories or more.
  • Juicing gives your gut a rest from digesting fiber.  One of the things you stomach and intestines do not need, is a rest from digesting food.  That’s what they’re designed to do.  Digest.  Fiber actually aids in the digestion of food, helps keep it moving quickly through your intestinal tract and provides a scrub brush type action clearing out your intestines as it moves along.    No one in this country, for sure, eats so much fiber that they would have any adverse side effects that would make it OK to decrease their daily intake.

If you still want to use juice as a meal replacement, try a blender instead!  High powered blenders (such as a VitaMix, Blentec, Magic Bullet, etc) puree foods completely.  You’re left with a  smooth consistency and you’re using the whole fruit which keeps the fiber in.  Plus, you can add in things like nuts, avocados, yogurt and different seeds to make it a nutrient dense smoothie.  It’ll still be packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber but also offer lean protein and healthy fats.

juice 1 Overall, juice (especially 100% or homemade juice) can be a healthy addition to your diet in moderate amounts.  However, using juice only diets for weight loss or cleansing purposes can be dangerous and unhealthy. Like I mentioned above, instead of juicing try using smoothies.  It’s a much healthier option than juice alone as a weight loss tool.  And as much as people say they can “rely” on juices to get in their servings of fruits and veggies…If you try hard enough, you can eat all the recommended servings.  Many people do it everyday (including me) and it just takes effort.  I recommend trying to plan out your meals and snacks for the next week and you’ll be surprised that you can eat 5-9 servings everyday!

As always, it’s important to speak with your doctor before adding any juicing diet into your daily routine to avoid any potential food/drug interactions or other complications.  For instance, large amounts of foods high in vitamin K, such as kale and spinach, may affect how anti coagulants work in your body.

Sources:
http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/juicing-health-risks-and-benefits
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/juicing/AN02107
http://www.andjrnl.org/article/S2212-2672%2813%2900514-5/abstract

Fit For Fall Update!
So 1 week into my fall weight loss/get in shape program!  Last week went really well – especially considering the fact that I have a broken baby toe!  I worked out everyday and ate well.  Check back next Friday for another update on my progress!

  • Weight loss 0.8 lbs.  Not the greatest, but certainly going  in the right direction!  The weekend was a little tough – I ate out a lot and ate more than I should – which is the most likely cause for the modest drop in weight.  So going forward, I will be choosing small portions (or splitting portions) when I go out and making sure I’m not getting the most unhealthy item on the menu :).
  • This weekend I’m going to keep on trucking – holiday or not!  I’m on a roll…to lose the rolls!
  • I’m loving, loving, loving my exercise routine.  Even if I have to get up at 530 am.  I feel AWESOME afterwards!

6 Comments

  1. Dario

    August 30, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    what happens if you replace one meal per day with a juice mix?

    • mewinebrenner

      August 30, 2013 at 12:04 pm

      I think that’d be OK! One meal a day of a veggie/fruit juice mix would work well! Just make sure to get in some protein, whole grains and health fats throughout the rest of your day.

  2. Dario

    August 30, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    I like that idea. but I do agree with you, blenders are a better choice. You can add Chia seeds, and other goodies to make the mixture even more beneficial.

  3. The Candid RD

    September 1, 2013 at 8:00 am

    GREAT post. I couldn’t agree more with these posts. I do think juice can be a good part of a weight loss plan, but one glass a day is plenty. EAT the rest of your food (I’m with you, it’s so much more fun to chew than just drink, boring!).

  4. carrian

    September 3, 2013 at 11:55 pm

    I couldn’t get on the juicing thing for a long time, but it is quite tasty although I do food most of the time.

    • mewinebrenner

      September 4, 2013 at 8:56 am

      It’s definitely hard to follow – I love eating! But I have to say, there’s nothing more fresh tasting that a glass of homemade juice. That’s for sure!

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