There seems to be about as many diet trends as there are people in this country and new ones are coming out all the time. One popular trend that has been around for a while now is a juice diet. What is a juice diet? I’m glad you asked as we are going to be exploring that today and discovering if it is absolutely worth it or absolutely crazy.
This is a topic that I have wanted to write about for a while and I have a very strong opinion about it. However, I also want to come at this from as objective a point of view as I can before I throw in my two cents. I think it’s only fair to give something a complete look before saying “Yea” or “Nay”.
You may have a lot of questions about this type of diet. Is a juice diet healthy? Should you use juice diets for weight loss? What are some recipes? In the following paragraphs I hope to answer these and more questions that you may have.
However, before we get into today’s topic of discussion, this is actually the third part of a series of posts on various diet trends. If you want to take a look at the others, simply follow the links below:
To me, those two are as extreme as it gets when it comes to dieting. Let’s now take a look to see whether juicing is on their level.
So What Is A Juice Diet? How Does It Work?
Well, if you were to watch any video by “The Juiceman” Jay Kordich, you might be convinced that the juice of fruits and vegetables is the main key to everlasting life. I’m not kidding…watch this:
To summarize the video, the idea behind a juicing diet is separating the essential nutrients and vitamins from the fibrous parts of fruits and vegetables into an easily digestible and absorbed form.
According to the Mayo Clinic, some believe that just focusing on nutrient intake gives your digestive system a rest from working so hard to break down the fibrous material.
Now comes the question of how you get the juice. Do you have to sit there squeezing fruit until you get a full cup? How do you juice a carrot? This is where you would need some equipment and according to Juicing With G, there are several types to choose from:
- Centrifugal Juicers: These use a fast spinning motion to shred and extract the juice from your fruits and vegetables.
- Masticating (Auger) Juicers: Instead of using a shredding and spinning technique, these use a spinning auger that crushes the fruit to separate juice from the fibrous material.
- Twin Gear (Triurating) Juicers: These use two gears and a screen to crush the produce and extract the juice.
Here is a video I found that goes over several types of juicers:
They all have their pros and cons, but that isn’t necessarily the point of this particular article.
It is, however, now time to find out if juicing is the magic bullet you need to shed the pounds.
Juicing For Weight Loss And Health – What Are Potential Benefits?
When looking at juicing, weight loss, and your health, there are definitely some benefits to trying it out.
The first benefit of a juicing diet, according to WebMD, is it’s a really easy way to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet. These are full of beneficial nutrients that anyone would do well to take advantage of.
Many people struggle to get enough plant life into their daily food intake. If you’ve ever taken a look at recommendations (2-5 servings for fruit and 3-4 servings of vegetables according to Healthline) you can see why. It is nearly impossible to eat that much food along with the other food groups!
By juicing, this problem of a ton of food is somewhat eliminated.
Additionally, according to Very Well Fit, focusing on a fruit and vegetable-based juice diet decreases your overall calorie intake and lessens the amount of water-retaining starch, both of which then lead to weight loss.
Lastly, there is a potential that going on a juice diet can benefit the good bacteria in your gut, thus improving your ability to lose weight.
So What Could Go Wrong? Potential Downsides Of A Juice Diet
You may see those benefits and be really interested in trying this out. However, there are definitely downsides to starting an all-juice diet that you need to understand.
The first of these is that it is a form of extreme dieting. Very Well Fit notes that you are severely limiting the types of foods you can consume by only drinking the juice of fruits and vegetables. The problem with extreme diets is they are very difficult to maintain and most people give up or cheat because they go too hard, too fast.
As I have said in my other dieting articles, I’m a fan of balance, not extremes.
Secondly, if you are juicing for weight loss, you are taking out one of the most important components: the fiber! Not only do our bowels need fiber in order to stay regular, but fiber is important for us to feel full. When we are constantly hungry, the danger of cheating and then overeating becomes very high.
While on the topic of lost nutrients, by going on a strict juice diet, you are cutting out two incredibly important macronutrients in fat and protein. Many of the body’s processes need fat in order to function (it also helps you to feel full) and proteins are the building blocks of muscle. Juicing doesn’t leave much room for either (Livestrong).
Another downside is that when juicing, it is very easy to get it wrong. In order for you to actually reap the benefit of fewer calories, you have to get the right ratio of fruits vs. vegetables. If you have too much fruit, then you will be consuming excessive amounts of sugar, leading to more calories.
Why is it a problem if it’s natural sugar? Very Well Fit offers a great explanation in that when you separate fiber and sugar (as is done in the juicing process), the sugar is digested rapidly and can make you feel like you are hungry again after only a short period of time.
Too much sugar can also lead to Type 2 Diabetes and obesity, which is the exact opposite effect you’d be looking for from a juice diet.
Lastly, there is a major problem that arises once you introduce your regular foods back into your system. The weight can very quickly come back on, thus negating the whole point of starting the diet in the first place!
My Take – Consider Balance
As with anything in life, I feel that balance is key. I get very frustrated when these fads come out promising to be the miracle cure for this or the magic key to weight loss, when they are incredibly hard to maintain.
Not only that, but when/if the weight comes back on after the diet is over (either because of recommended time period or a person’s own choice), it can be quite frustrating. That can sap motivation in an instant and can really derail someone’s fitness journey. I’m not into that!
What I am a big proponent of, however is eating well in combination with exercise. If you eat with balance in mind, then it is perfectly OK to have a treat now and then. I don’t even like to call it a cheat because that carries a guilty connotation. If I want to have ice cream or snack on some M&M’s once in a while, I don’t want to feel like I have to hide that.
If you want to juice or do a juice fast, have a plan and only do it for a short period of time (Bodybuilding.com), or incorporate it into a healthy, balanced diet. Use it as a supplement to good food, especially if you are looking to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet.
For me, it’s about enjoying your food, but doing so in a logical and responsible manner. You don’t need, and in many cases want, these types of diets. Take your time and do it right.
Sorry, Juiceman! I’m Going To Stick With Solids
I hope this post has left you more informed on the answer to the question, “What is a juice diet?” I definitely think that juicing has its place and a juice cleanse may have some real benefits, but it should not by any means be a long-term solution. That is the job of a balanced diet and regular exercise!
Now, it’s your turn! What do you think of juicing diets/cleanses? Have you ever tried one? How did it go? Do you regularly juice your own fruits and vegetables? If so, what type of juicer do you use? What is your favorite juice recipe? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below!
If you have any questions about juice diets or nutrition in general, please feel free to ask.
If you are looking for some good resources for nutrition and ideas for recipes to add to your own diet, do some further reading here:
- Garden Of Life Vegan Meal Replacement
- Bob’s Red Mill Old Country Style Muesli
- Banana and Peanut Butter Oatmeal
- Banana-Carrot Pancakes
- Easy Beef and Bean Burritos
- Panko Chicken With Wilted Greens and Over-Medium Eggs
- Grilled Ribeye Steak and Cheese Sandwich
- My Ultimate Oatmeal Breakfast Bowl
- Capellini Pomodoro
If you are looking for ways to incorporate more nutrition into the dishes you already cook, check out these articles in different ingredients and foods:
- Oregano’s Health Benefits
- Basil’s Health Benefits
- Parsley’s Health Benefits
- Rosemary’s Health Benefits
- The Artichoke’s Health Benefits
- The Apricot’s Health Benefits
Lastly, if you are looking for tips on how to eat well at certain restaurants when you are out and on-the-go, check out my series on Restaurant Survival Guides:
- What To Eat For Health At Chipotle
- What To Eat For Health At Arby’s
- What To Eat For Health At McDonald’s
- What To Eat For Health At Chick-fil-A
- What To Eat For Health At Burger King
Hopefully you will find some helpful tips in these links! If you did in this post or any other and want to stay up-to-date on all of my new content, simply enter your email in the “Subscribe” box and hit the button. You will be notified of every new post made on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays! No more, no less!
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That’s all for now! As always, God bless and Happy Eating!
P.S. Before I leave you, I figured it wouldn’t be a complete article about juicing if I didn’t include this video: