Why the Juice Trend Isn't Worth the Squeeze
The "health" product that's been leading you astray
It’s fairly common knowledge that standard packaged juice products that can be found in grocery store aisles aren’t the best choice for our health. They’ve even been considered as bad as sugary sodas, if not worse. Cold-pressed juices from the refrigerated section of grocery stores, or dedicated juice bars, have been on the decline in recent years… But for the people in the back, it’s time to let this broken record play.
Juices are missing one of the most important ingredients for good health
Most, if not all, fibre is removed in the process of juicing fruits and vegetables. Fibre helps bulk up the stool and sweep everything out of the colon. It’s also what helps keep us full and satisfied after a meal. If you’ve ever had a juice that says it contains several servings of fruits and vegetables, yet you’re hungry an hour later, this is why.
Your best bet is to eat whole fruits and vegetables, the way nature intended. If you don’t find them palatable, experiment with ways of making them more enjoyable. Cut up your favourite fruits and make a fruit salad with a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime. Dip raw veggies in hummus, tzatziki or another dip of choice. Sauté or steam veggies with some salt, herbs and lemon juice. The possibilities are endless.
Juices alone take the body on a blood sugar rollercoaster ride
With the fibre removed and most calories coming from fruit, juices pack a huge carbohydrate punch in the form of sugar. Yes, even the so-called healthy cold-pressed juice that you paid $12 for.
When we eat a meal, fibre, fat and protein help to slow down the digestion process, boost satiety, and stabilize blood sugar and the release of insulin. When having juice alone, it throws our blood sugar out of whack, which may lead to jitteriness, lightheadedness, dizziness, headaches, irritability, extreme fluctuations in energy levels and fatigue.
It’s time to put the juice cleanse trend to bed
Juice cleanses have been touted as a way to “detox” the body, kickstart a diet, or shed a lot of weight in a short period of time.
But guess what? When all you’re consuming is virtually fibre-less juice for three or more days, you’ll be spending more time in the bathroom. Most weight that’s lost on a juice cleanse is water weight from loose stools, and when you get back on a regular diet, you’ll likely gain all that weight back, plus interest. Not to mention, you run the risk of dehydration from this lost water.
Whether you’re juicing at home or subscribing to a “juice cleanse,” they will also empty your wallet just as much as your bowels. A 3-day juice cleanse is easily $100 and up. And the worst part is knowing that the bulk of the fruits and vegetables was thrown away in the process.
If any food or diet promises to “detox” the body, hang on tight to your money and run far, far away. Our bodies have built-in methods of detoxification. Think about it this way: the homo sapien has endured, survived and even thrived for millions of years without “juice cleanses” or other products claiming to detoxify the body. If marketing were as good then as it is now, perhaps even our earliest ancestors would have been swayed to juice.
Sometimes the body can become a little overburdened and organs can become overworked, but when this happens it’s best to work with a medical professional such as your family doctor or naturopath to determine what needs attention.
For example, this year I was diagnosed with moderate non-alcoholic fatty liver, and through the guidance of my naturopath I’ve added select supplements and foods to help gently support my liver.
Opting for a juice cleanse for any period of time without the guidance of a medical professional can be dangerous and is not safe for everyone. Not to mention, many juice companies and websites offer health claims and promises that cannot be backed up by scientific evidence, or are not provided by qualified professionals.
But I love juice! What’s an alternative?
If you like the convenience of sipping your fruits and veggies rather than consuming them whole, opt for homemade smoothies instead. They’re quick and easy to make, don’t cost as much, and there are tons of tasty recipes available online.
Smoothies are preferable to juices because the fibre in any added fruits and vegetables are blended in rather than removed. Protein and extra fibre can also be added for health benefits and satiety, such as greek yogurt, protein powder, nut butters, or chia seeds.
If smoothies won’t cut it for you, enjoy juice as an occasional treat rather than a daily staple.
I’m trying to lose weight. What can I do instead?
If you’re trying to lose weight, I’m sorry to tell you that no quick fixes are long-lasting or safe. The best approach to healthy, long-term weight loss is a sustainable, personalized approach. This will look different for everyone, and as a Certified Holistic Nutritionist I recommend to my clients that they start with small habits and lifestyle changes and build on them over time.
For example, if you have a daily coffee with sugar, try cutting the sugar in half and reducing it slowly over time. Maybe at some point you’ll come to enjoy the taste of black coffee. If you’re a late-night snacker, try filling up on more protein at dinner to keep you full into the night, or if you’re truly hungry before bed, opt for a high-protein snack such as some greek yogurt and berries, apple and nut butter, a handful of nuts, or a hard boiled egg.
If you’re looking for one-on-one support, I’m here for you. Don’t hesitate to get in touch so that we can design a personalized nutrition and lifestyle plan to help you achieve your goals — no expensive juices required!