Why are the juice bar lines longer than the checkout lines at your favorite health food stores? You’d think, judging by the length of the line, juicing would be some miracle answer to your health woes. But the truth about juicing is this: it’s just not what it’s cracked up to be.
Juice bars are popping up everywhere. And it’s easy to let yourself get sucked into the hype of juicing. Especially with all of the alleged promises to help you cut calories and lose weight.
Juicing fans claim they get more nutrients from juicing than they would from eating whole vegetables (and fruits). They also swear that juicing can help improve the health of your digestive tract and flush out toxins. But are they wrong?
Let’s finally set the record straight about the supposed health benefits of juicing.
What Is Juicing?
When you order a juice, the juicing machine basically chews up the fruit and veggies for you. Then the juicing machine spits the juice into your cup for you to drink. But what happens to all of that wonderful, fibrous pulp? Most of the time, it ends up in the trash. The problem there is that the pulp’s fiber is the very thing your body needs to keep your gut bugs healthy.1
Fiber is also basically the thing that makes you feel full.2 So why are you throwing all of your fiber in the trash? Isn’t fiber the thing that can actually help when it comes to your weight loss goals? Even if you’re just juicing celery — you may not have a ton of natural sugars in your juice, but you will still be tossing out all of that healthy fiber.
Fresh pressed fruit juice has become a staple in many so-called “healthy” diets. These days, everybody is looking for quick fixes when it comes to getting all your nutrients.
But does it make sense that if you throw out more than half of your plant food, you’d still be getting all of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals that a plant-based diet has to offer? Of course not.
Why Is Juicing Such A Waste Of Your Time And Money?
Since fruit juice has most of the fiber removed, the fructose can be characterized as a “free sugar” – that’s the same kind of sugar qualification as honey or as added sugars to processed foods.3
Turns out, when the fiber in a fruit or vegetable is removed, the fructose (aka sugar) in that food is much more easily and quickly absorbed. Spikes in your blood sugar can lead to insulin release in an attempt to bring your blood sugar back down to more stable levels. But if a pattern develops, this particular mechanism can wear out and potentially lead to insulin-based health concerns.4
Think about it this way. Juicing means you’re really just drinking the sugary part of a fruit or vegetable — even if you’re drinking green juice. Remember, natural sugars are still sugar. And sugar is where calories hide, so how can drinking pure sugar support weight loss? It can’t.
Here’s another take: One of the most popular juice brands on the market has a whopping 53 grams of sugar per 15.2 oz serving.5 That’s more sugar than you’ll find in a can of soda.6 That’s even more sugar and calories than you’ll find in a slice of apple pie with vanilla ice cream.7,8
So if you’re heading to the juice bar often to get your favorite blends of fruits and veggies — and especially if you’re just drinking straight-up fruit juice — you are essentially drinking your dessert.
It’s true that vegetable juices can offer a few more nutrients (and a bit less sugar) than fruit-based juices – but they’re still missing that valuable fiber.9
But even after learning all that, you might still be wondering…
Can Juicing Really Detox Your Body?
Well, yes. And no. The truth about juicing is that if you drink enough of anything it will make you urinate. And if you’re urinating, you’re clearing waste from your body. However, if you have a healthy and well-functioning liver, you’ve got a great detox system already in effect.
And if that’s the case, then you really don’t need to worry about trendy “detoxes” — especially if you’re doing your best to avoid sugar and lectins.
But if you’re really looking to jumpstart your built-in waste-management system, you can try this very simple 3-day cleanse. It all starts with avoiding sugar and lectins.
This 3-day cleanse can change the kinds of bacteria that live in your gut. But, if you revert to your old habits completely, all the good new gut bugs will leave. And the bad gut bugs will move right back in.10 So, consider this cleanse a kickstart for lectin-free living.
A Useful Lectin-Free Cleanse
This is a modified cleanse. It’s meant to help repel gut-busting, nasty invaders. How does it do this? Basically, this particular cleanse can help starve off many of the bad bacteria that make you feel bad.
Here are the basics to this short cleanse:
- Avoid all dairy, grains, fruit, sugar, seeds, eggs, soy, nightshades, roots, and tubers.
- Avoid all corn, soy, canola, beef, and farm-raised animal meat.
- Eat dishes made only from lectin-free vegetables. If you need to, you can also eat a very small amount of wild-caught fish or pasture-raised chicken.
The Best Vegetables For Your 3-Day Non-Juice Cleanse
There’s a wonderful world of veggies out there. On this cleanse, you can enjoy the following:
|Bok choy||Mustard greens||Watercress||Radishes||Garlic||Seaweed|
Note: You can eat as much as your heart desires of the vegetables listed above. And you can enjoy them cooked or raw.
And if you’re worried about losing vitamin content if you cook your veggies, rest assured that fat-soluble vitamins will not be compromised when you cook your food.11
The Best Sources Of Protein For Your 3-Day Non-Juice Cleanse
Do not eat more than 8 ounces of wild-caught salmon, shellfish, or pasture-raised chicken on a given day. And if you do choose to consume all 8 ounces of allotted protein, do so in two 4-ounce portions spread throughout the day.
You may substitute Quorn products, non-grain tempeh, and hemp tofu if you are vegetarian or vegan.
The Best Fats, Oils, Condiments, And Seasonings For Your 3-Day Non-Juice Cleanse
Eat one whole Hass avocado every day. Olives are also permitted on the cleanse. But as far as oils and condiments go, stick to using only the following —
|Extra-virgin olive oil||Sesame seed oil||MCT oil||Vinegar||Herbs|
|Avocado oil||Walnut oil||Coconut oil||Mustard||Spices (except red pepper)|
|Coconut oil||Hemp seed oil||Perilla oil||Black pepper|
|Macadamia nut oil||Flaxseed oil||Lemon juice||Sea salt|
The Best Drinks For Your 3-Day Non-Juice Cleanse
Water is your best friend. Drink as many as 8 cups every day of either tap or filtered water. You can also feel free to enjoy Italian sparkling mineral water or still mineral water. Also, tea is wonderful if you’re cleansing. Try to drink plenty of green tea, black tea, or herbal tea. Coffee is acceptable too. Just make sure you’re not adding any creamer, sugar, or artificial sugars.
If you’d like, after you cleanse, you can also try what’s known as “reverse juicing”.
What Is Reverse Juicing?
Finally, if you happen to have spent your hard-earned money on a juicer, there’s no need to throw it out. As you know, a good juicer chews up your food, spits out the juice for you, and you usually discard the pulp. But with reverse juicing, you throw out the juice and keep the pulp.
Increase the population of your gut’s good bacteria by consuming the good-for-you polyphenol compounds in the pulp from the veggies and acceptable in-season fruits you used to enjoy juicing.
Again, you can still juice your fruits. Just make sure you take that juice and toss it out. The juice is where the sugar lurks. So then, what can you do with the pulp?
Simply take that fibrous pulp and mix it into your favorite goat, sheep, or coconut yogurt. Or bake the pulp into a delicious almond flour muffin. You can also toss that pulp with some olive oil to make a zesty salad dressing.
Ditch The Juice Or Reverse Juice
In the end, juicing is a false fad. It doesn’t result in weight loss or better health. And if you’re registered dietician told you otherwise, you might want to think about asking for a second opinion.
In time, juice fans will realize they’re doing nothing for themselves. The juice of your favorite in-season fruits and vegetables is no cure-all. Nor can you truly get the fiber or nutrients you need by juicing.
Stick to eating healthy, lectin-free whole vegetables. And if you’d like a quick burst of help getting started, try a lectin-free 3-day cleanse or reverse juicing.