When you add fresh juices to your diet, you’re getting valuable vitamins, minerals and nutrients that you may otherwise have missed. There are plenty of health benefits to juicing, but taking the practice to an extreme and eschewing typical meals or performing a “cleanse” can come with more risks than advantages.
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Weight Loss Nutrition
Juicing fruits and veggies as part of a diet can be an effective way to lose a few pounds and meet daily nutrition recommendations. Most Americans fall short of getting 2 1/2 cups of veggies and 2 cups of fruit daily, but juicing more is a simple solution -- and if you drink the juice instead of eating higher-calorie foods, it is likely to stimulate weight loss. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, including lots of fruits and veggies in your diet reduces your risk for severe health problems that include obesity and overweight.
It's Just a Fad
A fad diet is an eating plan that restricts the types of food you can eat and is designed to produce quick weight loss. Getting most or all of your calories from juices classifies as a fad diet, and it’s not the best way to lose weight because fad diets are not sustainable. If you’re juicing to lose weight and you return to your regular eating patterns after you’ve dropped a few pounds, you’re likely to gain the weight back rather than keep it off over time.
Not So Filling
Fresh, whole fruits and vegetables tend to be high in fiber, a nutrient that promotes feelings of satiety and may help you eat fewer total calories and maintain a healthy weight. However, juicing those foods doesn’t offer an equivalent amount of fiber. According to the American Cancer Society, juice machines remove pulp from fruits and veggies while producing liquid, and pulp is the part of the food that contains the most fiber. Thus, juicing may actually have the effect of making you feel less full and more tempted to gorge on other food.
Juice as a Meal Replacement
Using juice as a single tool in a larger plan is a healthier way to slim down than adopting an all-or-nothing approach, although your results will be more gradual. Kennedy Hospital registered dietitian Heather Sylvester recommends replacing one meal per day with a glass of juice to cut calories and work toward steady weight loss without losing out on essential nutrients like fat and protein.