Archive for the tag - fruit juice

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.

Is Juice Healthier Than Soda?

Dear Davey,

I always assumed that drinking juice was healthier than drinking soda. Due to my dislike of water, I tend to drink huge amounts of it. Is drinking juice really any healthier than soda? Or am I just replacing one unhealthy beverage with another.

Sincerely,
Jared

Most fruit juice’s are really just soda’s evil twin.

First and foremost, a recent study found that the average “fruit” drink contains less than 10 percent of actual fruit juice. The rest is just sugar, water, flavoring, coloring and a few added nutrients.

Second, even 100% real fruit juice beverages are nothing to celebrate. They are a very calorie-dense food product. A half cup of apple juice, for example, contains as many calories as an entire apple – but without the fiber that makes it both healthy and filling. You’re left with a sugary beverage that’s marginally healthier than soda. Sugar consumption, regardless of the form in which it is consumed, has been linked to everything from heart disease to diabetes to cardiovascular disease and liver disease.

And don’t be fooled by clever packaging. “No sugar added” doesn’t mean, for example, that a product is low in sugar. Serving sizes are also often manipulated. Though the package my list the serving as a half cup, consider how much juice you’ll actually drink in a glass. Your actual portion may be 2 or 3 times larger.

Moreover, the sweetness of fruit juices can be addicting. When you consume sugary foods or drinks, you feed your sweet tooth – and then crave more sweetness. In many ways, sugar is like a drug – and fruit juice contributes to that negative cycle. In fact, a 2009 study concluded that sugar bingeing causes withdrawal symptoms and cravings much like addictive drugs.

When you’re reaching for a glass of fruit juice, you’re not doing your body a favor; water is the preferred beverage of choice. Having said that, if you can’t get yourself to drink water, try these tips:

  1. Water down your juice. Doing so will cut the calories and sugar per serving, and you’ll still get much of the flavor.
  2. Try adding a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime to your water. You won’t be adding calories – but you’ll get an extra kick.
  3. Switch to vegetable juice. Vegetable juices tend to be lower in sugar, but check the label.

Most people recognize that soda is an unhealthy choice. I’d recommend thinking of most fruit juices in the same way. The bottom line is that you’re certainly not doing your health, your body or your fitness goals any favors by drinking fruit juice.

How to Overcome Sugar Addiction.

Sugar is serious business. And many of us are addicted to the sweet stuff – or at the very least, getting way too much of it.

According to the USDA, Americans get more than twice the recommend amount of added sugar daily. What’s the big deal? Excessive sugar consumption can lead to weight gain, metabolic disorders (a precursor to diabetes) and even some forms of cancer. In other words, our sugar addiction could kill us.

And from a purely fitness standpoint, lots of sugar translates into extra body fat. A spoonful of sugar may help the medicine go down – but it will take 4 minutes of treadmill running to work it off!

What can you do to kick your sugar habit?

  1. Get your sugar where it occurs naturally – from fruits, dairy and vegetables.
  2. Avoid the obvious stuff like soft drinks, cakes, cookies, pies, fruit punch and candy.
  3. When you buy food, check the label. In the list of ingredients, look for any of these as they’re all forms of sugar in a clever disguise: Brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, fruit juice concentrate, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey invert sugar, lactose, malt syrup, maltose, molasses, raw sugar, sucrose, syrup or table sugar.

The easiest and most effective way to cut some sugar from your diet is to simply replace any fruit or soda beverages with water. If you can replace just two sugary beverages with water, you’ll make an annual caloric savings equivalent to 22 pounds of body fat!