While drinking fresh juice may help you meet your daily fruit and veggie quota, it won't do much for your metabolism. And if you're not careful, the extra calories in fresh juice may cause weight gain, not loss. Unfortunately, no food or drink can speed up your metabolism. Being more active is the way to go if you want your body to burn more calories. If you think you have a slow metabolism, consult your doctor to discuss possible medical causes before trying juicing or other diet strategies.
Juicing and Weight
You've been eating salads and broiled chicken without losing a pound, but a co-worker has slimmed down following a juice fast, leading you to believe that juicing is the way to go for weight loss. The reality is, your co-worker's weight loss resulted from calorie restriction, not because fresh juice contains some magical mix of nutrients that kicked her metabolism into gear. Drinking only fresh vegetable and fruit juice for days may help you limit your caloric intake, sometimes to the extreme, but it's not a sensible approach to shedding pounds.
While juice fasts are associated with weight loss, it's important to note that some types of fresh juice are a concentrated source of calories and may lead to weight gain if you're not careful. An 8-ounce cup of fresh carrot juice can have as much as 175 calories, with the same serving of fresh apple juice containing 240 calories. Drinking an extra 175 calories every day for a year can lead to an 18-pound weight gain if you don't make any other changes to your diet or activity.
About Your Metabolism
Your metabolism is your body's calorie burner. It is made up of three parts: the basal metabolic rate, the thermic effect of food and activity. The basal metabolic rate uses most of your calories, consuming up to 70 percent through maintaining basic bodily functions such as breathing and your heart beating, according to the American Council on Exercise. Even the act of digesting foods uses energy. Digesting and absorbing food burns about 10 calories of every 100 calories you eat -- which is known as the thermic effect of food. You have very little control over the number of calories burned by your BMR or through the thermic effect of food, though.
When it comes to your metabolism, activity is the only factor you can control. You burn calories stumbling into the kitchen to turn on your coffee pot in the early morning, walking your daughter to the bus stop and pedaling through your 45-minute spin class.
How to Speed Up Your Metabolism
Special drinks like fresh juice, or any other food for that matter, cannot speed up your metabolism, according to NHS Choices. If you want to burn more calories, you need to change the only part of your metabolism you have any control over, which is activity.
Make a plan to exercise most days of the week if you want to increase your metabolism. Depending on your weight, walking for 30 minutes can burn 150 to 220 calories. Or even better, step it up to a jog and burn 180 to 265 calories in 30 minutes. Adding more muscle with strength training may help increase your resting metabolic rate because muscle burns more calories than fat. Don't limit your activity to planned exercise, though; sneak in more movement throughout your normal day. Take your dog for a longer walk, stand up and stretch every 30 to 60 minutes when working at your desk and park as far as you can from every entrance.
Juicing for a Healthy Weight
If you can't seem to eat enough fruits and veggies, a daily glass of fresh juice may give you a boost of health-promoting nutrients. But if you're trying to lose weight, keep a lid on calories by limiting yourself to 8 ounces a day, and make your fresh juice with more vegetables than fruit. For example, blend up a cup of kale, cucumber and carrot, or throw spinach, celery and apple into your juicer. Add some of the pulp from your juicer back to the fresh juice for fiber.
For a thicker drink, make it a smoothie, which blends the whole fruit or veggie so you get all the benefits, including the fiber. Add a container of Greek yogurt -- which is high in protein, so it keeps you full -- to your smoothie for a low-calorie breakfast you can drink on the go.
- PBS: Juicing: Need to Know
- Today's Dietitian: Spring Cleansing: Assessing the Benefits and Risks of Detox Diets
- Quickanddirtytips.com: Juicing: Healthy Habit or Sugar Bomb?
- NHS Choices: How Can I Speed Up My Metabolism?
- University of Pittsburgh Medical Center: Fad Diets
- McKinley Health Center: Breaking Down Your Metabolism
- Harvard Health Publications: Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights
- American Council on Exercise: Is It True That Metabolism Decreases With Age?