Is Juicing Healthy?

Dear Davey,

What is your take on juice fasting? Is it a good option for those wishing to lose weight?

Sincerely,
Julio

155352030Dear Julio,

The long and short of it is that juicing to lose weight is a fad diet. It’s not sustainable long term – and it’s not something that I’d recommend.

There are a few issues with juicing.

For one, the act of juicing strips the fruit or vegetable of its fiber content. Most of us don’t get enough fiber as it is, and juicing doesn’t help. Without the fiber-rich skin that the juicer leaves behind, juice acts a lot like soda. Stripped of fiber, juice can result in unhealthy blood sugar spikes. And fiber also helps you feel full longer.

Many juice diets also lack protein. Much like fiber, protein helps you feel full; without it, you’ll can be subject to extreme hunger pangs that may sabotage your diet. Moreover, inadequate protein intake can cause reductions in muscle mass during weight loss. Protein performs many other important functions – like helping to control blood glucose and providing a boost to your metabolic rate.

Extreme dieting and radical calorie restrictions may result in initial weight loss. But keep in mind that the body is very resilient – and if it goes into starvation mode, it will fight like hell to preserve any fat stores. Starvation diets result in large decreases in the body’s metabolism – and are thus are generally associated with equally large increases in weight once food consumption resumes.

Juicing fans claim a number of benefits including decreased cancer risk, lower risk of heart disease and a boost to the body’s immune system. They also espouse the detoxifying properties of juicing. Though I’ve yet to see any scientifically valid evidence supporting the detox claim (your liver and kidney detoxify your body with or without juicing), the other benefits likely have more to do with eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables rather than juicing. Indeed, plant-based diets to lower the risk of many cancers and diseases – but it has nothing to do with juicing.

In moderation, consuming fruit or vegetable juices can be perfectly healthy and part of a balanced diet. Many of the juices are rich in nutrients – but juicing isn’t a weight loss or diet program in and of itself. Moreover, nothing beats eating the whole fruit or vegetable – skin and all.

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Comments

  1. I think you should educate yourself better on this before dismissing it as you’re doing here. I know that there is extensive knowledge on the benefits of juice fasting. You should begin looking at the evidence of the Gerson Therapy. I have no time to educate you on this, but you should make some time for it.

    • For starters, are you a biologist, medical doctor, or nutritionist? If you are, then you can stop reading here. If you are not then I suggest wording your above comment in a way that is not demeaning and not blatantly arrogant and ignorant. I don’t know if you read the whole article but if you did then you missed some pretty key phrases in here that said juicing is ok along with a wholesome diet but the science and bio-chemistry behind juicing is simply not do-able for the body long term. Davey hit upon all of the facts behind the four main biological molecules that keep our body running. And I read your article from the Gerson Therapy and saw no “evidence” that you claim is there. It’s mostly testimonials and using loose scientific terms in its explanations. Yes fruits and vegetables are great sources of nutrition but by themselves you cannot live wholesomely. Please, if there is evidence behind this therapy in a scientific article, send it my way and if there isn’t I think that you should educate yourself more before you put down someone’s fact based opinion.

  2. Juicing is great, if you can afford it. If you are eating a natural, whole foods, plant based diet, juicing can be very good. You concentrate the nutrients, and your body can use those nutrients for many many many metabolic functions. Yes fibre does keep you feeling full, but without the fibre you now have the ability to double, triple etc.. your intake (servings) of veggies. This is especially effective if you have trouble eating veggies, or you have a weak appetite. Another pro to not having the fibre (especially when fasting/detox) is that your body doesn’t have to expel energy on the digestive process at all, the energy will be diverted to healing the body instead of digesting. This process is helped tremendously when you have an abundant amount of micronutrients that are bio-availible. The fibre is also a good thing. It really depends on what you are trying to do, juicing is a fantastic tool if you know what you are doing. I would absolutely include smoothies whenever I want to feel full or want the extra fibre. Another thing to consider is that, it is better to BLEND Fruits and high sugar content foods to keep the fibre intact because it will slow down the absorption of glucose in your blood which prevents the spike. It is better to JUICE veggies (low GI) and never mix fruit unless you really want to sweeten it a bit then you would use minimal fruit (like half and apple) and if you had juiced some veggies with high sugar like carrot or beet, then you could always balance that out by adding a couple pinches of cinnamon – which aids in metabolism, and balances your blood sugar. Everything in life is a balancing act, there are many tools that we can use and many paths to health. Think about what tool you want to use at each point in time. P.S I LOVE YOU DAVEY OMFG come to toronto so I can meet you… (blog buddy meet up) anyways ttyl Ciao bud :3

  3. Well Joe, I am a PhD in Nutrition candidate from Boston University. I am arrogant. I give you that, but not ignorant. I find ignorant, however, that you call Dr. Max Gerson’s more than 800 pages in research “testimonials… using loose scientific terms”. Maybe you read the 800 pages too loosely. Another thing that I find loose is that you say “Yes fruits and vegetables are great sources of nutrition but by themselves you cannot live wholesomely.” and with this statement you’re dismissing decades of research by leading scientists and doctors like Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Dr. T. Collin Campbell, and Dr, Caldwell Esselstyn who argue that an exclusive plant based diet is the key to reverting degenerative diseases.
    I stand by what I posted earlier in response to what you call the facts Davey hit. First: fiber, especially insoluble fiber, is important in a diet that causes the digestive tract to slow down. Animal protein causes the slowdown because a big part of its praised protein remains undigested. Second: protein is not a nutrient that is exclusive to animals. A serving of grains usually doubles the amount of protein a serving of meat has. The juice from fruits and vegetables, live AVI said are packed with micro-nutrients which are more important for cellular health and regeneration than meat will ever be.
    So yeah, I took some time to educate y’all in actual nutrition. I love Davey, but he seems to be dismissing my plants… ain’t nobody got time for that!

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