The Pros and Cons of Juicing

Eva Santiago

Guest Blogger

Cleanse What? Ex-Squeeze Me!

Ask yourself this question: Have I ever done a juice diet/cleanse/detox juice cleanse? If you answered yes, did you go into it thinking your insides would be detoxified and cleansed?
Did you answer no? Really? I don’t believe you 😉

I have some news for you. Foods don’t cleanse or detox. They do not rid your body of toxins. Your organs do that, not food. Juice cleanses do not wash away your calorific sins – I really wish they did though.

There’s this thing we sometimes forget about when we want a quick fix, you’ve heard of it I’m sure. It’s called science. Science tells us carrot ginger juice cannot clean your insides, that’s just not how it works. Celery juice is not an internal detox brush that can brush away impurities. The skin, blood, liver, kidneys, and intestines do an adequate job of eliminating environmental or ingested toxins.

You wouldn’t ask your DJ to pick out the bridesmaids dresses would you? Are you going to ask the best man to pick out your shoes? Delegate the responsibilities to the subject matter experts. Your liver and kidneys are the detox masters. Let them do their job.

I’m a true believer that a good relationship with food facilitates healthy personal relationships. Do you remember that “ Pros vs. Cons” list we’ve all made? Ya know, to determine whether or not we want to keep that someone special in our lives. Let’s go ahead and make that list with Mr. Juice Cleanse Detox. The pros list will not have “detoxes the body” because it simply doesn’t. Remember we’re being reasonable and practical, let’s use our heads and not our emotions right now.

The Pros:

  • It’s a catalyst to breaking unhealthy habits. A liquid diet can help you kick-start some healthy life changes. If you are juicing, your ingredient list probably consists of healthy fruits and veggies.
  • It eliminates chemically-processed foods, and foods high in calories and saturated fats.
  • Weight loss. It’s pretty easy to shed a few pounds when your diet is low in calories and fat.
  • Recipes and research. The more you juice, the more likely you are to experiment with different foods and gain an appreciation for the combination of flavors.
  • It gives your digestive system a little break. Fluids are a lot easier to digest than whole foods. It takes less energy to digest apple beet juice than a turkey sandwich.
  • It hydrates the body.

The Cons:

  • Unsustainable weight loss. The initial weight loss is generally due to the dramatic calorie loss, not fat loss. For most people, the weight returns right away when they resume eating solid foods. If calories are too low, your body will go into starvation mode. You don’t actually have to be “starving” for your body to go into starvation mode – that’s just the body’s evolutionary defense mechanism. Starvation mode turns into a slower metabolism and that is what makes you gain weight faster once you start eating solid foods.
  • It’s a wasteful form of food consumption. You know you’re not saving the carrot pulp for baking healthy carrot muffins. You lose about 50% of the food when you juice. The fiber is lost, along with vitamins and cancer-fighting flavonoids.
  • It’s expensive and time consuming. No need to elaborate on that.
  • It’s bad for the environment.
  • It’s a shock to your body’s systems. Yes, fluids are easier to digest, but there’s a reason humans cook food instead of pulverizing and drinking it: we get more calories and nutrients. We spend only a fraction of time eating compared to other animals because we’ve learned how to break down food before eating it- by cooking it.
  • Dense in some ingredients, and empty in others. Dense in nutrition is awesome. But think about how many apples you have to use to make one glass of juice. I’m not a GMO/pesticide fear mongerer, but I would say to take precaution on the pesticides you ingest. You’ll get tons of Vitamin C, but no fat and no protein. Unbalanced.
  • Short shelf life. Within hours, the juice can begin to taste “unfresh.” If you try and make more than you can drink, you’ll end up just throwing it out.

What about all those other claims? Healthier skin, better well being, more energy – I like those! But you know what happens when you juice? You eliminate other things…. processed foods, chemicals like MSG, preservatives, simple carbohydrates like white breads and cupcakes. It could be that these other positive side effects are due not to juicing but to the absence of unhealthy junk foods.

When you see detox in the headline, the article had better be about the liver, otherwise it’s pseudo-science marketing. But if the idea of “detoxing” appeals to you, you might try clean eating that focuses on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, minimally processed foods and lean protein. This approach will be more likely to give you the results you want, especially if you make exercise a habit.

I’m not saying drinking a glass of green apple ginger lime juice is not delicious, because it is. But it’s NOT detoxing my body. It’s usually in addition to a healthy breakfast of scrambled eggs and roasted sweet potatoes. It will definitely help my systems run smoothly which in turn allows my liver to work efficiently. Give your body what it needs to stay clean and vibrant. …a healthy balance. Like a mimosa and strawberries.