Juicing for Weight Loss and Health – The Truth
Akin to fashion fads, fad diets come and go. We have The Atkins Diet, The Keto, The Lemon Detox Diet and several others. These diets can attract a lot of people because of the promises of rapid fat loss and amazing health results in unbelievably short periods of time. Usually these don’t work at all and even if they do, they only bring about weight loss in short terms, only for the person to regain back pounds and pounds within a year or two. Unfortunately, these fads won’t go so long as we continue to worship shortcut results without effort. One of the more recent fads that has surfaced up in the fitness community is juicing for weight loss and health. Sounds easy, right? All you have to do is get a juicer and chug down your veggies and fruits in multi-hued drinks every day. And you will get to live a wonderful life of perfect health, beauty and longevity. However, one needs to look at the bigger picture of things instead of going for these quick fixes. So, what does a simple smoothie of green veggies and ripe fruits hide underneath that can potentially be classified as dangerous?
What is Juicing?
Juice diets or juicing consists of consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables in juice form to get dramatic results. It has also been called juiced detox or fasts or cleanses. Usually, solid foods aren’t included within this diet and the main calories come from a variety of juices, as the name suggests. The more restrictive versions of this can last for about 5-7 days, “depending on your goals”. It’s basically a detox type of diet, that has been made famous through the promotions of celebrities like Salma Hayek, Gwyneth Paltrow, Anne Hathaway etc who claim their fabulous figures as a direct result of juicing.
Claims of Juice Diets
- Fruits and vegetables are high in vitamins and minerals. So, a diet consisting of juices made solely from these two can be extremely nutritious and have a variety of health benefits that other types of diet can potentially never give.
- Juicing can help our body detox a lot of toxins that we have built over the years and years of consuming harmful substances (through solid foods, mind you). This is one of the most influential selling point of juice diets. We are suckers for such stuff, aren’t we? One word about detoxing the liver and we all rush in to buy the program or product.
- The anti-inflammatory compounds in juices boosts our immune system, making us healthier and manage our energy system more efficiently.
- It can, as per the claims, have miraculous effects in shaping our body by promoting fat burning. Most juice diets or cleanses restrict daily calorie intake to around 1200 and as a result, there will be dramatic weight loss. Yes, it can give you results fast and as promised.
- It can also give you better skin, mood improvements and mental focus as well.
Effects on our blood sugar
Most juices can have an enormous amount of hidden sugar within, though it depends a lot on the ingredients we use. For example, if you are talking about veggie smoothies, rest assured that you aren’t chugging down sugar unless you love spiking drinks with an obscene amount of sugar cubes. However, most fruits can have high levels of sugar, in the form of fructose. A single medium size apple hides about 10 grams of fructose, almost half the daily recommended intake. How about a regular size mango, which has almost the same amount of fructose as your daily recommended intake? Throw in an apple or two in your juice and you are already exceeding your daily intake. And without the fibers in the meat of the fruit that help us to digest the sugar slowly, we are looking at a very high blood sugar spike. Blood sugar spiking leads to cravings soon and we are knee-deep in a sinister cycle of binging sugar like there’s no tomorrow. Have too much of it for extended periods of time and it can lead to obesity and type 2 diabetes. Scary!
There is only one factor of weight gain, maintenance and loss in our body, provided you are healthy. Eat in surplus of your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) and you will gain weight. Eat less and you will lose weight. Eat in and around your TDEE and you will maintain your weight. Simple as that, folks. Many people try to make this complex and introduce variables like hormones, stress etc. Yes, these factors are contributors, undoubtedly but the energy balance system in our bodies is the be all and end all, when it comes to fat loss.
And the marketing ploy of juice diets are cleverly trapping people with quick fixes through severely low calorie consumption with their juices. As a result, they are happy with the changes initially. But after months of being in a severe deficit, they will have relapses of their old food habits. After a year or two, what usually happens is binging on high sugar containing foods and regaining all the weight they lost. And then, they turn back to buying the fruit juice diet again and again. A cruel cycle indeed.
And on the flip side of things, because of the fructose content, a fruit juice can have a surprisingly huge amount of calories hidden within. Chug down on too many of these and you will blow up like a balloon in no time. Vegetable juices are relatively better. And imagine drinking a glass of juice with 300 calories in it. Will you feel the same satisfaction as eating a 300 calorie plate of fibrous veggies with egg toppings? No, never. You will simply be living a life of misery from the inability to eat to your fill. Scary!!
Most fruit diets can have little to no protein content at all. One cup of orange juice can have 112 calories but only 1.7 grams of protein. It’s true that we can supplement our lack of protein using whey powders or soy, if you are a vegan but veggie or fruit juices, by themselves are severely lacking in protein. And we all need around 50-150 grams of protein, depending on our activities, weight and age. So, if you are solely into juicing, I suggest getting a tub of whey or soy protein from the health store nearby. More costs. Scary!!!
And now, we come to the lack of fibers in juice diets. Fruits and veggies have a lot of fibers before you strip them away in your juicer. Whole fruits and vegetables are a lot more healthier and nutritious, people. Why would you take away the precious fibers in them that we use to have amazing bowel movements, lower cholesterol and blood pressure and weight loss? And, to make things worse, fruit juices without the fibers can spike up your blood sugar level. Scary!!!!
No detox either
I am going to say this here very loud and clear. We have an amazing detox mechanism and it is called the liver, kidneys and intestines. Period. We don’t need any type of juice to aid us. Credit to our body for trying its best to flush out toxins. If you want to aid it, drink a gallon of water and watch it whip out its wand of miracles and flush out all the toxins. The detox tag in juice diets is a wildly successful marketing strategy. Nothing more. Scary!!!!!
- Try intermittent fasting instead. The 16:8 fasting protocol can help you manage weight while making you more insulin sensitive.
- Do eat lots of greens and do drink some juices. It can help. Just don’t go all out. However, if you are given the option to eat your calories than drink it in, eat it up, people.
- If you are that concerned about vitamins, get a good multi-vitamin pill. It works.
- Please take your mind away from food and diet and workouts. It’s a lifestyle we are talking about. Focus on work and your family and everything else will fall in place.
- Try to be more active and avoid being sedentary for too long. Stairs, people. Stairs.
- Like I mentioned above, water can help you detox better than any juice. Drink a gallon and you will feel and look better.
- And avoid fad diets. What’s wrong with eating off a plate, filled with meat and veggies and carbs?! Come on.
So, it’s high time for us to stop looking for quick fixes to our problems and find solutions through hard work, grit and dedication. Juicing for weight loss and health, while certainly tempting due to its convenience and Hollywood level promotions, can never be the magic fix to either wight loss or health. Hard work can never be supplemented by anything else. If you have any comment, do drop a line below and I will be more than glad to answer. Have a great day.