Juice diets and “Juicing” have become hugely popular, you need look no further than Amazons range of electronic juicers to see the evidence of this. Juicing is not usually recommended for weight loss and can actually increase your weight if you do not pay attention to your calorie intake. Usually juicing is used to help maintain a healthy diet. Weight loss diets using Juice tend to be crash for fad diets, not something you maintain on a long term basis. That said, many people who lose weight quickly on crash / fad juice diets subsequently keep using Juice as part of their longer term strategy.
Juice vs Blend
The term “Juicing” is often confused / interchanged with “blending” but the two are distinct. Blending involves pulverizing the entire fruit or vegetable into a “smoothie” which can be drunk. The liquid is thick and none of the original produce is wasted, lost or thrown away. Juicing takes things a step further separating the juice from the pulp by straining it through a muslin bag, or other kind of filter. There are some novel ideas on how to do this such as the following video which makes use of a paint strainer! We would not recommend this as paint strainers are unlikely to have been tested for food safety, but it will give you an idea of the process none the less:
There are different views on which is best in terms of juice vs blend. Juice advocates claim that the body absorbs nutrients and vitamins faster through juice (there is no medical evidence of this that we know of), and those that prefer to blend (make smoothies) believe that approach is better as there is less waste and you benefit from fiber contained within the pulp.
Of the two we would recommend blend (smoothie) over juice as:
- Blending is easier and requires no additional equipment (assuming you already have a blender)
- There is less waste
- There are additional benefits from fiber in pulp which some cite as having cancer fighting properties (depending of course on which fruit or vegetable you are blending)
What are the Benefits of Juice Diets?
In terms of following a juice diet, we would actually advocate a blended or smoothie diet as opposed for juice, again because your body gains additional sustenance from the pulp. Clearly if you do this then the net effect is the same as eating the fruit or vegetables themselves, so why not just do that? Well, when following a Juice diet you need to eat many portions per day (eight is the common figure recommended) and eating your way through eight portions can be tedious, once blended consumption becomes easier and more convenient. It is also possible to create your own blends to keep your diet more interesting, and experimenting with different ingredients / recipes can itself be an enjoyable part of the process.
Juice diets are vegetarian, they contain very little fat, far fewer calories than a diet which includes meat, however taking on juice or blended drinks does not leave you feeling as full as when you take on solids. For this reason it is possible to actually gain weight when taking a lot of Juice as people tend to consume more than they otherwise would have. For this reason it is important to work out a diet plan before hand, calculate what your intake should be and stick to it!
Weight Loss and Juice Fasting
As we mentioned the primary way for people to lose weight using Juice diets is actually to use Juice to support a period of fasting (sometimes referred to as cleansing or de-tox).This is the only way you are going to lose weight quickly using Juice. Essentially what we are talking about here is fasting, which will always cause to you lose weight if you maintain the fast long enough. Keeping the weight off afterwards is always the challenge, as is the case for any fad / crash diet. Understanding a Juice diet is easy, there is nothing complicated about it at all, there are a few simple rules you must follow:
The Rules of a Crash Juice Diet:
- Juice diets use Juice NOT blended smoothies, so you are going to need a juicer for this one
- Eat nothing for eight days
- When you are hungry drink juice
- When you are thirsty drink juice
This is for fully grown adults only. Do not do this if you suffer from diabetes, are taking medication, are pregnant. It is always worth seeking professional medical opinion before embarking on any kind of crash diet, though most doctors would probably advice against it. As with other crash diets be aware that some people report feeling feint which can be dangerous if you drive / operate machinery or are engaged in other physical forms of work.
Juice and Water Diet Combination
In another post we mentioned the benefits of water diets and how water can be used to suppress appetite. Some people combine elements of a water diet with their juice diet by either diluting their juice with 50% plain water, or by drinking water and juice in equal amounts. This seems to be driven more by the need to “feel full” and avoid eating than to dilute calories in the juice itself.
What Should You Juice?
Vegetable juices are usually chosen for weight loss as they contain less sugar and are often higher in vitamins, but unfortunately are not quite as tastey as their fruit derived cousins. Popular choices include:
- tomatoes (ok this is a fruit but flavour / benefit wise it belongs up here!)
- sprouts (are not only for Christmas!)
If you cannot live on veg alone then for desert popular choices include:
(Blends like apple and raspberry are also worth experimenting with)
Make sure you wash all fruit and vegetables thoroughly before juicing and peel anything.
Juice as Part of a Longer Term Diet Plan
The best way to use juice is as part of a long term plan to improve your diet. As we say in most of our posts it is much better to make long term improvements than to go for unsustainable short cuts. Adding juice to your diet is a great way to get up to your recommended “five a day” portions of fruit and vegetables, or increase it slightly. Fruit and Vegetables are a great source of vitamins, nutrients and iron and are very healthy.
Taking on more juice can reduce intake of less healthy foods. A common trick is to drink juice or a smoothie before your meal and again, just as with a water diet this can help suppress your appetite and result in you eating less, and longer term this can help you keep weight off.
Juice Weight Loss Success Stories
The most famous “Juice Dieter” is probably a guy called Joe Cross who made a film titled “Fat Sick and Nearly Dead”. That is probably something of an exaggeration but he did get results and made a very famous film series by the same title, a trailer for which is shown below:
Juice diets are not a magic bullet for weight loss. To lose weight fast the hard work is done though fasting, in this context juice just helps keep you going and make the process a bit easier.
Longer term incorporating juice into your diet can only ever be a good thing. Anything that helps increase your intake of healthy food and reduce the intake of less healthy options will always be a benefit to you.
Try blending as opposed to juicing as you get more nutritional benefit, and we guess you most likely have a blender already. In fact, you most likely have a blender and some of the ingredients to hand right now so go try it!
If you want to try Juicing then perhaps try straining first just to try it out and if you think it is something you would like to take further consider buying a bespoke juicer which will give you better results (better quality, less hassle, easier to clean up etc.) than straining a smoothie!