- Join our free Weekly Newsletter!
- 7 Reasons Why You Should Drink a Green Juice Every Day
- 1. Alkalizes the Body
- 2. All-Day Energy
- 3. May Delay Aging
- 4. Improves Gut Health
- 5. Enhances Detoxification
- 6. Supports a Healthy Immune System
- 7. Bioavailable Nutrients
- Go Green with Organic Superfoods
- To Juice or Not to Juice?
- Is freshly squeezed juice a superfood or a shortcut to diabetes and obesity?
- How Does Juice Compare To Whole Fruits And Veggies?
- What About Phytochemicals?
- Is More Better?
- What Are The Downsides Of Juice?
- What Are The Current Juice Intake Guidelines?
- Bottom Line
- About Me
- What Not to Juice?
- 5 Juicing Mistakes Everyone Must Avoid
- Best Juicers For Greens: Centrifuges Are Not The Answer
- How Masticators Process Leafy Vegetables
- The Best Masticating Juicers for Greens
- Top-rated Juicers for Greens Comparison Chart
- Green Juices & Why They’re A Fave Among Health Enthusiasts
- Oh Yeah, I Totally Quit My Juice Cleanse
- I quit the juice cleanse.
13 scary things that might happen to your body on a juice cleanse
- 1. A juice cleanse isn’t actually helping your body with detoxing
- 2. In fact, it might just hinder the detoxing process
- 3. Your skin might dry up
- 4. You will starve your body of vital nutrients
- 5. Removing fat from your diet means some vitamins can’t be absorbed into your body
- 6. You could be damaging your teeth
- 7. You might end up feeling more stressed
- 8. You won’t be able to keep up with your exercise
- 9. You will be less tolerant to cold temperatures
- 10. It can hamper your digestion and make you bloat
- 11. You might end up on a high-sugar diet
- 12. You may lose weight but will affect your metabolism
- 13. Your hair might fall out
- So what’s the verdict?
- And if you still want to go ahead with a cleanse…
Join our free Weekly Newsletter!
I love green juice so much that I would marry it if I wasn’t already married. When I see families, especially children, drinking green juice, my heart melts on the floor, but when I see people drinking juice in a less than stellar way and making common mistakes, I get crazy concerned and want to help. That’s why I want to go over common juicing mistakes I have personally witnessed, so hopefully I can put my crazy concerned look to rest. It’s important to remember – we are all learning in this big bad world of processed foods, and juicing is better than not juicing at all, even if you make these mistakes.
TOP COMMON JUICING MISTAKES
Not Drinking Green Juice On An Empty Stomach – Recently a blogger friend of mine tried juicing for the first time, and when she finished her first juice she proclaimed to me that it gave her heart burn. Immediately, I asked her if she drank her juice on an empty stomach, and she said “No, I had it after breakfast.” Fresh juice should only be consumed on an empty stomach. The whole point of drinking juice is diminished if you don’t, and can end up giving you digestive issues like my friend experienced. Drinking juice on an empty stomach allows the vitamins and minerals in the juice to go straight to your bloodstream. Having fiber or a meal already in your stomach prevents your body from quickly absorbing the nutrients from the juice. A good general rule of thumb to follow is to wait at least 2 hours after a meal to drink a green juice and wait 20 mins after drinking a green juice to consume a meal.
Waiting Too Long To Drink Your Green Juice – As soon as your freshly made green juice gets exposed to air, its live enzymes begin to degrade, therefore decreasing the nutritional content. I can immediately tell the difference in how I feel after drinking fresh juice vs. an older juice. The live enzymes of a fresh juice give me immediate energy – where as older juice just doesn’t give me the same boost. For this reason, unless you have a slow masticating juicer, twin gear or Norwalk press juicer, I recommend always consuming the juice fresh and within 15 mins of making it. This is especially important if you make your juice without a juicer using a blender and strainer. For slow or twin-gear juicers, I recommend storing juice in an airtight container (filled to the top with no air gap) for up to 24-36 hours, and for a press juicer up to 72 hours. If you decide to store your juice, remember to keep it refrigerated at all times before consuming. This is also important to keep in mind when you buy pre-made, raw unpasteurized juice because as soon as the juice becomes warm, bacteria can begin to grow that could be harmful. Always keep your juice in the fridge or a cooler if traveling if you don’t drink it right away. If you notice your favorite juice bar keeping juices longer than 72 hours, make sure they are using high pressure pasteurization technology (like Suja Juice and Blueprint Cleanse) – otherwise, they are getting away with selling you lower quality and nutritionally degraded juice.
Using Too Many Sweet Fruits and Vegetables In Your Green Juice – Sweet fruits and vegetables like watermelon, apples, pears, and carrots are very nutritious when consumed whole, but if you consume too many of them juiced, the amount of sugar and fructose you are adding to your diet could be over the top. If a juice has too much natural sugar it can affect insulin levels pretty dramatically, causing cravings and other not so pretty things to happen, like gaining weight. This is why I recommend keeping the sugary fruits and vegetables in your green juice to a maximum of 1 per serving. For example, in the juice recipe below you can add one green apple for a bit of sweetness. It’s important to keep sugar in check to be able to sustain steady and consistent energy levels. I personally do not add any fruit to my daily green juice any longer, but I still love the occasional carrot (for their eye lash enhancing properties) and beet (for their detoxing capabilities). Exceptions to this rule are lemons and limes that are naturally very low in sugar and do not spike blood insulin levels like other fruits. (One caveat – if you are trying to get your children switched over to green juice, you can start by adding 2 fruits per serving, but then slowly decrease this over time as they become accustomed to the taste.)
Treating Green Juice Like A Meal (unless on a fast or having it as a snack) – Juice isn’t a meal replacement, rather it is a meal enhancer or snack. Juicing is nature’s vitamin pill and should be consumed like a supplement within 20 mins before a complete meal. It’s really hard to eat the amount of vegetables recommended by most experts (6-8 servings) in a typical day. It’s rare to see Americans eating vegetables for breakfast, and at lunch a typical vegetable serving could be as small as a piece of lettuce or tomato on a sandwich, making it probable that your target amount of vegetable servings for the day will not be met. It takes a few pounds of vegetables to get a 12-ounce glass of juice – which gives you an entire day’s serving in one glass. Juicing should be like taking a vitamin but of course it’s a billion times better. Additionally, drinking juice before a meal (like I recommend in the Eating Guide Program) reduces carb and sweet cravings and completely changes your taste buds to want something plant-based versus something heavy or processed. Juicing allows you to absorb many more vitamins and minerals than you would otherwise by consuming smoothies or eating fruits and vegetables with the fiber. The only time I wouldn’t consume a meal after juicing would be during a juice fast.
Not Chewing Your Green Juice – Juice (and smoothies) are food and should be chewed. It’s important to swish around the juice in your mouth or move your jaw up and down for a couple of seconds before swallowing it to release saliva that contains important digestive enzymes. The digestive enzymes are crucial in delivering key nutrients to your cells. When I visited with Dr. Mercola for lunch, it was fun witnessing him doing this when he drank his green juice – he swished it back and forth quite energetically! I personally like to use less of an obvious gesture and keep the juice in my mouth a few seconds before swallowing it.
Leaving Your Juicer Dirty – I know juicing can take time and life can get busy, things like cleaning your juicer right away can get pushed to the side, but let me tell you, cleaning your juicer (at least rinsing it off) will save you and your knuckles a lot of scrubbing later. If I know time is going to be tight, I’ll often throw all the parts of the juicer in a sink and let them soak with water and a little soap – that way, when I get back to cleaning the juicer, it will be much easier. Also, to save time when I juice in the morning, I’ll pre-wash the vegetables the night before, eliminating this step the next day, and allowing me more time to clean the juicer right away. I’ve gotten my juicing routine down to 20 mins using a 2 step press juicer, which is pretty darn good if you ask me! When I use a centrifuge or another type of juicer, my timing is usually around 15 mins from start to cleanup.
Juicing Spinach or Kale Over and Over Again – Variety is the spice of life, and it’s key for juicing correctly and safely and to avoid hormonal issues. Remember to rotate the greens (kale, chard, spinach, mustard greens, collards, dandelion, arugula, etc.) in your juice each week to prevent build up of oxalic acid (which can affect the thyroid gland) and provide a balanced amount of different vitamins and minerals for your body.
You Stopped Green Juicing Because You Heard That Drinking Smoothies Is Better (or maybe you never started) – For the record, I consume both smoothies and juices, but I also know there is no other way to get the extraordinarily amount of powerful nutrients trapped inside green vegetables than to juice them. Drinking juice has the power to make you feel like you have never before – it’s quite magical and something I wouldn’t give up for every smoothie in the world. Our soil is nutritionally depleted due to the use of pesticides, genetically modified seeds, and conventional farming practices, drastically reducing the amount of many vitamins and minerals once abundantly available to us. Eating a piece of broccoli now vs. 20 years ago does not yield the same amount of nutrition. It’s crucial that we try to compensate for this fact by juicing. Juicing allows you to get the extra boost you need much more efficiently than trying to chew an unachievable amount of vegetables all day. When I started drinking carrot juice, my eye lashes immediately started to grow longer within just a couple of weeks. Feeling the extra energy boost is one thing, but seeing the results in the mirror can be quite dramatic and make you a firm believer of the powers of drinking juice. Drinking juice reduces the amount of energy your body uses for digestion, giving your cells a chance to repair and rebuild. It’s the ultimate preventative medicine when it comes to avoiding disease. Don’t wait until you are already sick or trying to get better to consume juice, it’s about creating a healthy body from within now so you never get sick in the first place.
With all this juicing talk… I have to share my most recent concoction which includes both lemon and lime. This juice is so tart and delicious and perfect for a hot Summer evening!
Lemon Lime Green Juice Prep time 5 mins Total time 5 mins Serves: 2 Ingredients
- 1 bunch of any green of your choice (collards, chard, spinach, kale, dandelion)
- 2 cucumbers
- ½ bunch herbs like parsley, cilantro or mint
- 1 lemon with peel removed
- 1 lime with peel removed
- 1 green apple (optional for added sweetness)
- Wash all vegetables thoroughly and place into a large bowl
- Juice each vegetable in this order – greens, herbs, lemon, lime, cucumber
- Stir mixture before serving
- Rinse and clean juicer immediately
Notes Please choose all organic ingredients if possible 3.2.2045
7 Reasons Why You Should Drink a Green Juice Every Day
Green juices are the rock stars of the health world. They condense several servings of fruit, vegetables, and other superfoods into a single, easy-to-consume drink. Because so much is packed into one drink, green juices are incredibly nutrient-dense and have an impressive list of health benefits.
That’s why they have so much appeal. There is simply no other way to provide this many benefits and nutrients in a single serving. Nothing compares.
Here are seven benefits you can expect with a daily green juice.
1. Alkalizes the Body
Your body’s pH is like the Goldilocks principle. It can’t be too acidic. It can’t be too alkaline. It needs to be just right (between 7.35 and 7.45 pH).
Your body has natural buffer systems that keep it within the ideal pH range. But when you drink alcohol or consume processed foods it can cause your body to become more acidic.
In response, your body has to pull buffering minerals from elsewhere in the body to maintain your pH. This can result in a wide range of issues including weak bones, fatigue, stiff joints, and digestive problems.
Consuming plenty of green vegetables helps maintain alkalinity. And the easiest way to do that is with a green juice every day.
2. All-Day Energy
When you’re feeling tired, what’s the first thing you reach for? Coffee? A risky energy drink?
While some caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee are perfectly healthy in moderation, they aren’t a remedy for the real reason you’re tired.
An estimated 9 out of 10 people are lacking in key vitamins and minerals (1). When your body is starved of nutrients, it simply won’t work the way it should, leaving you feeling fatigued.
Green juices are the perfect remedy. They provide a near-instant lift in energy. And unlike caffeine or synthetic stimulants, there’s no late-afternoon crash.
3. May Delay Aging
If you don’t eat a wide variety of vegetables, fruit, and herbs, you are missing out on a key component of wellness: antioxidants.
Antioxidants protect your body from oxidative damage, which contributes to physical aging. Studies have linked oxidative damage to the development of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and more (2). And the best source for antioxidants is found in fruits and veggies.
In fact, an analysis of 95 studies by scientists from Imperial College London showed remarkable protection against a range of diseases when 10 servings of fruits and vegetables were consumed daily (3).
This protective benefit only came from plants. Green juices give you multiple servings of nutritious superfoods to boost your antioxidant intake.
4. Improves Gut Health
Your gut is the foundation of health. It can be the difference between depression and happiness (4). It affects nearly every aspect of your health. That’s why it’s critical to take steps to ensure your gut is healthy, and drinking green juice supports gut health.
That’s because green juices contain digestive enzymes and prebiotics. Some higher quality green juices even contain probiotics, good bacteria that are recognized for supporting gut health.
All these substances can dramatically improve the health of your gut.
5. Enhances Detoxification
No matter how careful you are, your body is constantly exposed to toxins. They can be found in drinking water, household furniture, food, and the air you breathe.
All these toxins put a huge strain on your liver. Green juices help because many of the ingredients can support a healthy liver.
For example, studies have found that cruciferous vegetables like broccoli can improve phase II detoxification in the liver (5). This means your liver will be more efficient at quickly getting toxins out of your body.
By consuming a green juice every day, you can give your liver a fighting chance against all the toxins you’re exposed to on a daily basis.
6. Supports a Healthy Immune System
Green juices are one of the best ways to support a healthy immune system because they are packed full of nutrition.
Much like a car needs gas, oil, and lubricants, your immune system needs specific nutrients to run properly. Nutrients that must be constantly replenished. If they aren’t, things stop working.
Zinc deficiencies, for example, can make you significantly more susceptible to catching a cold or flu (6). A daily dose of vitamin C is also a must to help keep your immunity strong. Drinking a green juice every day is an easy way to replenish the nutrients your immune system needs.
7. Bioavailable Nutrients
You may be wondering if you’re covered with a multivitamin. The sad truth is, most multivitamins are cooked up in a lab using harsh chemicals and solvents.
These “nutrients” are little more than artificial vitamins which aren’t absorbed well.
Green juices, on the other hand, contain natural vitamins and minerals in their most bioavailable form. With nutritional co-factors and enzymes intact, they are easily absorbed. Your body simply gets more out of a green juice than it does a standard, run-of-the-mill multivitamin.
BONUS: Many of the ingredients in green juice are also shown to boost nitric oxide levels–an important compound involved in cardiovascular health.
Go Green with Organic Superfoods
Green juices are one of the best ways to nourish a healthy body. They provide a wide variety of nutrients that can improve your immune system, energy levels, detoxification efforts, gut health, and much more.
To get the most benefit out of your green juices, go organic. For a quick and easy way to make delicious green juices every day, opt for an organic green juice powder with 44 superfoods to optimize your health. Best of all, you can be on your way to a healthy, tasty juice in under a minute.
To Juice or Not to Juice?
Is freshly squeezed juice a superfood or a shortcut to diabetes and obesity?
Chana Davis, PhDFollow Dec 3, 2019 · 8 min read Photo by Mark Zamora on Unsplash
Despite the pulping that juice has taken in today’s war on sugar, juice bars continue to thrive, oozing healthy vibes with their colourful displays and promises of micronutrients galore.
How can the same food be viewed both as a superfood and a shortcut to diabetes and obesity?
These polar perspectives speak both to fact that old habits die hard, and the murky nature of the scientific evidence around juice and health. Some find links between juice consumption and health issues like diabetesand obesity, while others do not. Furthermore, juice defenders report that it can help close micronutrient gaps in low fruit and veggie consumers.
The lack of clarity around the health impacts of juice reflects the inherent challenges of nutritional research. First, most studies are poorly controlled, and can be subject to confounders like healthy user bias and socio-economic factors. Second, context matters… a lot. Portion size matters. What you drink instead of juice matters. The rest of your diet matters. Your current health status and risks matter. This doesn’t mean we need to throw up our hands and give up. Rather, we need to examine on the weight of the evidence, including mechanistic strength, rather than fixating on single studies.
Let’s put the squeeze on juice to see what it truly delivers, and what the real risks are. This article focuses on 100% pure fruit juices, with no sugar added.
How Does Juice Compare To Whole Fruits And Veggies?
Whole or juiced? Photo from .
Juice is a beverage made from filtered, pulverized fruits and veggies. As such, juices provide many of same nutrients found in whole fruits and veggies, but with one big difference: they fall woefully short on fiber.
This fiber gap is shown in the nutrient table below, which compares one cup of apple or orange juice to a calorically-equivalent serving of whole fruit. In the context of a fiber-poor diet, this fiber gap is very meaningful.
Data source: MyFoodData.com (pulls from USDA Food Data Central ). Numbers are approximate.
This table also highlights the skewed macronutrient profile of fruit juices. Like whole fruits, they serve up a lot of sugar (sucrose, glucose and fructose), but very little fat or protein. Vegetables vary more in their macronutrient profiles, but typically serve up less sugar, more complex carbohydrates, and more protein than fruits.
Vitamin and mineral content tend to be roughly similar between equivalent calories of whole and juiced forms, but can vary greatly between different plants. Aside from Vitamin C, it takes many large servings of juice to make a serious dent in most vitamins and minerals.
Data source: MyFoodData.com (pulls from USDA Food Data Central ). Numbers are approximate.
What About Phytochemicals?
Photo by Anne Preble on Unsplash
Fruits and veggies are renowned for a special class of chemical compounds called “phytochemicals”. Phytochemicals are plant-derived compounds that are not essential for human health, but may be beneficial. Each plant produces its own cocktail of these compounds, which serve a variety of roles, from pigmentation (colour) to fighting off pests. Some, but not all of these goodies make it into the juice. Common classes of phytochemicals include:
Carotenoids (such as beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein).
- Sources: Red, orange and green fruits and vegetables including broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, leafy greens, sweet potatoes, winter squash, apricots, cantaloupe, oranges and watermelon.
Flavonoids (such as anthocyanins, flavonols, flavones, and flavanones).
- Sources: Apples, citrus fruits, onions, soybeans and soy products (e.g. tofu, soy milk, edamame).
Note: The science of unraveling the potential health impact of phytonutrients is young and complex. Claims of benefits should be tempered with appropriate uncertainty around mechanism, dose, and context
Is More Better?
Photo by Piotr Chrobot on Unsplash
One of the arguments for consuming juice is that it allows you to consume copious amounts of the good stuff contained in fruits and veggies. One local juice bar, for example, boasts 3 pounds (almost 1.5 kg) of fruits and veggies in a “regular” bottle (2 cups).
While it is easy to assume that more is better, this perspective has several weaknesses:
1. We rarely know the “optimal dose” of any nutrient.
While many nutrients have an official target range, these numbers are recognized to be very approximate, and in most cases, there is little benefit to exceeding them. When it comes to phytochemicals, our knowledge of optimal intakes is even murkier. The vast majority of studies of phytochemicals used as supplements fail to demonstrate benefits, and some even hint at a negative impact of messing with our bodies’ natural balance — such as in the use of antioxidants to support muscle recovery .
2. Megadoses may do more harm than good.
Indeed, any compound can switch from being a health plus to a health risk when megadoses are consumed (doses that would be difficult to consume naturally) — even vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. The most famous example of this “good turned bad” is the CARET trial (Carotene and Retinol Efficacy) trial, a double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial that tested the impact of a double supplementation plan with large amounts of beta-carotene and retinal palmitate in those at high risk of lung cancer. In 1996, the trial was halted early due to higher rates of lung cancer in those receiving the supplements .
Note: I am not aware of strong scientific evidence showing health benefits of “megadoses” of juice. If you want my scientific take on a study, send it my way!
3. Extreme diets can be doubly harmful.
Diets that fixate on a single food (solid or juiced) simultaneously increase your risk of hitting the harmful dose zone for a single nutrients, and your risk of nutrient deficiencies for those that are lacking in the “superfood”.
Juice-only diets run a major risk of deficiency for proteins, fats, and fat-soluble nutrients. Diets that fixate on individual fruits or veggies run even greater risk of vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
4. The upsides of juice come with notable downsides.
What Are The Downsides Of Juice?
Could you eat three pounds of fruits and veggies in one sitting?
The most straightforward downside of juice is the lack of fiber. Any time you choose juice over whole fruits and veggies, you miss an opportunity to reap the benefits of fiber (e.g feeding your gut microbiome, supporting gut health, and keeping your digestive system running smoothly). Woefully, most North Americans only consume about half of the recommended daily minimum amount of dietary fiber (min 25 grams in my case (see North American guidelines).
A related downside of juice is the potential risk of excess calorie consumption, and associated risk of obesity. Science has shown that we are far more likely to over-consume when drink our calories, rather than eat them . This phenomenon is thought to be driven by the lack of satiating fiber in drinks, together with the ease of consumption. To appreciate this factor, just try eating rather than drinking, the 3 pounds of produce that goes into a typical juice bottle (2 cup serving) at your local juice bar!
The importance of portion size is also supported by the fact that studies of regular consumption of small portions of juice tend not to find harmful effects.
Nerd Note: The way the sugars in juice hit your bloodstream is not as different as you might think from whole fruits and veggies — another hint that portions are a big part of the story. Using glycemic index, a measure of how the sugars in it enter and exit our bloodstream, whole fruits score only slightly lower (better) than juices: apples: 36 (whole) vs 41 (juice); oranges: 43 (whole) vs 50 (juice)
What Are The Current Juice Intake Guidelines?
World Health Organization
Juice is squeezed into the “sugar-sweetened beverages” category, as something to limit as much as possible. WHO recommends limiting calories from fiber-free sugars (food or drink) to 10% at most, ideally no more than 24 grams or 6 teaspoons per day. A single cup of juice will hit the low range of this quota.
The American Dietary Guidelines
“At least half of the recommended amount of fruits should come from whole fruits. When juices are consumed, they should be 100% juice, without added sugars.”
American Academy of Pediatrics
- Ages 4–6: ~1/2 to 3/4 cup per day max
- Ages 7–18: ~1 cup max (250 ml) per day
The high doses of sugar in juice can take a significant toll when our ability to regulate blood sugars is impaired. As such, diabetics are consistently advised to be mindful of juice consumption.
“Eat whole or cut vegetables and fruits instead of drinking juices (fruit juice and fruit juice concentrates are high in sugar)”. Diabetes Canada
“As a general rule, eating whole fruit is healthier than drinking fruit juice or fruit smoothies.” Diabetes UK
The cost versus benefit equation for 100% juice depends on context.
One thing is clear: the best way to reap the benefits of fruits and veggies is to eat them. This way, you get all the vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, plus the many benefits fiber. The fiber fills you up, helps keeps total energy balance in check, and supports your gut health.
At the same time, in most people, small amounts of juice are unlikely to be harmful. In moderation, juice can be seen as a “stopgap” measure to overcome a nutrient gap when whole fruits and veggies are not an option.
Those who can benefit from increased mindfulness around juice portions include diabetics and others with impaired abilities to regulate blood sugars, as well as those at risk of excess energy (calorie) consumption.
In my family, water is our go-to drink, but I treat my kids to juice on occasion. I would far rather they drink juice than nutritionally devoid sodas, iced teas, or specialty coffee shop drinks.
P.S. Don’t forget to brush your teeth well to clear away the sugars — the bacteria in your mouth love it!
I am formally trained in human genetics (PhD) and spent the first decade of my career working in cancer research, drug development, and personalized medicine.
My new career chapter is dedicated to empowering others to make informed food choices, rooted in facts not fears. I’m particularly passionate about helping people to fall in love with the plants on their plates.
See more of my work (and healthy recipes) at https://FueledbyScience.com
Selected studies of links between juice and health outcomes
Role of juice in closing nutrient gap: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28585690
What Not to Juice?
by Gene Mehl
I am new to juicing and have seen a lot of great info as to the how, what and why to juice, but not to much on what NOT to juice! It would be great to know what Skins, Seeds, Rinds, Roots or Green Tops should not be used in juicing and why, (Toxic, Poison, Bitter, Extreme Sugar, etc.) Is there a compiled list of what not to juice and why?
A: Hey Gene, Super good question. There are SO many varieties of produce out there that it would be difficult to cover them all, espeically since we all live in different states, countries, etc. where we have various types of fruits and vegetables.
I can, however, list out some common ones in the USA that we all should be aware of.
- Citrus Rinds (Oranges, Grapefruits): Not the end of the world if you do, but citrus peels like oranges and grapefruits contain and indigesitble oil that’s hard on our stomachs. Lemons and limes are excluded from this list as they are fine to juice whole.
Carrot Greens: Carrot tops are not edible. They are toxic and should not be eaten or juiced.
Papaya Peels: Besides for tearing up your juicer, these are not edible and cannot be juiced.
Apple Seeds: While many people like the convenience of just throwing a whole apple into the juicer, I do not for this reason: The seeds contain a small amount of arsenic and really shouldn’t be juiced. While the juicer usually removes them safely, I just think its better not to juice them (it’s also easier on your juicer!).
Wild Parsnips: Cultivated parsnips are fine, but wild ones are not as they contain several poisons.
A good rule of thumb in wondering if you can juice something or not is to ask yourself if it’s edible. If it is, then most times you can juice it. If it isn’t, then stay clear.
Some things that people don’t realize you can juice are potatoes, melon rinds (watermelon is a good example, there are nutrients in the green and white), and grape stems. Many people also juice pineapple rinds, but I don’t because they are so hard on your juicer.
If you know of some indigestible/unjuiceable fruits and veggies in your area that I missed out on please feel free to add to the list by commenting below 🙂
5 Juicing Mistakes Everyone Must Avoid
Contributed by Garrick Dee Tan, from Juicing with G. Juicing can be very beneficial to your health when done right. But when done wrong, the results can have the opposite effect from what you want to achieve. Instead of losing weight, you can gain weight, and in some cases it can be life threatening (I’ll explain this in a bit). So before you drop that first celery into a juicer, read this article carefully so that you maximize every ounce of juice you drink and don’t waste money on stuff you don’t need.
Mistake 1: Randomly adding stuff in without considering how it would taste
Number one reason why I juice is to improve on my health but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy it right? I won’t be juicing as long as I have been if I wasn’t enjoying it in the first place. For my wife that’s the number one priority.
When you randomly mix in vegetables and fruit don’t mix well together, that’s a recipe for disaster. It could result in a puke-inducing concoction even your dog will not drink. I did that once when I juiced orange (with the skin on) and mustard greens. Want to know how it tasted like? Imagine drinking liquid wasabi, that’s how bad it was.
Some ingredients just don’t fit together. To avoid this you’ll have to know the basics of making a proper juice that balances the right amount of vegetables and fruit that maximizes nutritional benefit and minimizes fructose content.
Mistake 2: Adding too much fruit
This in my opinion is the biggest mistake people make. People fail to realize that when you remove the fiber from fruit, fructose gets absorbed by the bloodstream without getting digested in your gut. Fiber actually slows down fructose absorption so that the liver does not get overwhelmed.
While fructose from fruit isn’t as bad as corn syrup or soda, it is still fructose and our body does not need too much of it to function. What our body needs for energy is glucose and it gets metabolized by almost every cell in the body.
Fructose on the other hand isn’t, the only organ in the body that breaks it down is the liver and when a flood of fructose comes in (for instance drinking soft drinks or fruit laden juice) the liver gets overwhelmed.
A byproduct of this process is triglyceride, one form of fat, uric acid and free radicals. Over consumption of fructose has been linked to obesity and diabetes to name a few.
To minimize fructose content in your juices, minimize the amount of fruit you put in it, just put enough to make it palatable. The most I’ll put in is one or two apples combined with half a lemon (which doesn’t have too much fructose at all).
Sometimes I would combine strawberries with apple. In some instances I’d blend the strawberries because it does not juice well in a slow juicer and then mix in the apple + leafy greens + cucumber juice afterwards.
Mistake 3: Juicing the same thing over and over again
One way to improve your health is eating a lot of vegetables, particularly the cruciferous family that includes cauliflower, spinach, and cabbage to name a few.
This vegetable family is rich in nutrients and antioxidants, it is also rich in a toxin called goitrogens that can hamper the function of the thyroid gland and cause the condition called goiter.
Vegetables like spinach and cauliflower contain a toxin called oxalates that can cause or worsen kidney stones. These toxins is reduced when you cook them but eating or in this case drinking them raw puts you at risk if you drink the same thing over and over every day.
One way to avoid this is to alternate the ingredients you put in your juicer. For example, juice a celery on Monday, then spinach on Tuesday, then wheatgrass on Wednesday and so on.
Mistake 4: Thinking that it is a replacement for solid food
When people look to lose weight, they look for shortcuts to achieve results. That’s why juice fasts are a hit but not many people realize that there is a risk in doing so. While they’ll lose weight, it is not sustainable because you deprive your body of nutrients found only in solid food.
Also when you do an extended juice fast (you only drink juice and not eat solids), your hunger pangs get worst because of the nutrient deprivation and you’ll end up eating more than what your body needs. This results in massive weight gain.
There are success stories of people doing extreme juice fasts, the most famous arguably is Joe Cross, the man behind Fat, Sick and Nearly dead.
But a more sustainable approach in losing weight and getting healthy would be completely changing your diet and incorporating juicing into your lifestyle like what Neil Martin did. The results are inspiring – he lost 75 pounds and no longer suffers symptoms of asthma and IBS.
The latter is more sustainable because you don’t need to go through extended periods without solid food but you still lose weight and get healthy because of the lifestyle change.
Mistake 5: Buying a juice just because the guy in the infomercial says it’s good
If you’re serious with juicing then investing in a good juicer is a must but choosing one can be tough because there are different choices and the terminologies honestly are confusing.
Before buying the first juicer in an infomercial you have to identify your needs and preferences – the type of produce you’ll juice, spare time, space available and budget. Once you identify those variables, you can narrow down options and make the proper choice.
People who have time constraints and don’t mind a noisy machine would be better off with a centrifugal juicer because it extracts juice in seconds and prep time is minimized because of the large feed chute.
For folks who like to have their leafy green juice, a horizontal slow juicer would be an ideal choice because of the way it is designed it extracts a lot from leafy green vegetables. It won’t be as fast as a centrifugal juicer but since it has few moving parts, it will be easy to clean.
Health in a glass my friends, that’s what this apple, carrot celery and kale juice represents.
Now, I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with fresh juices.
The love part comes in when drinking the juice. Ah – now that’s good stuff.
The hate part comes in when I have to clean the juicer.
Geez, can it be any harder? Even the ‘easy-to-clean’ juicers still require quite a bit of work, separating all the parts and then cleaning them all with the little toothbrush cleaner thingie. It’s not my favorite thing to do in the world.
But drinking the juice? Oh – love love love.
So because of this love/hate thing, I prefer to make a nice big juice.
If I’m going to have to do all that work for it, I better make it worthwhile.
So this juice is a big juice. It makes about a liter of juice. I’m going to say it serves 2 though, because why not drink a great big juice.
You probably don’t juice everyday (I definitely don’t), so when I do I want to make it count yo!
Get in all that good stuff, all those vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients in a nice BIG glass of green juice.
What you’ll like about this green juice is that it doesn’t taste like kale. Or you know, lawn clippings.
The carrot and apple flavors are strong enough to overpower that lawn clippings thing and the celery adds a delicious saltiness.
It’s actually so good it’s worth dusting off your juicer (and cleaning it afterwards) to drink this juice.
And really, it feels so good, you actually FEEL as if your cells are jumping up and doing a happy jive as this juice starts hitting your system.
So let us know what you think of this gorgeous kale juice by leaving a comment.
Rate it and let us know how you liked it if you made it.
If you take a pic and tag it #lovingitvegan on instagram we’d be thrilled too. And of course – share it far and wide to whoever you think needs a green juice infusion (um…probably everyone really!)
Easy 4-ingredient kale juice recipe that doesn’t taste at all like lawn clippings! Refreshing, hydrating and simply delicious, this green juice is more invigorating than coffee!
- 4 Green Apples
- 4 Large Carrots
- Bunch Curly Kale (8-10 Large Leaves)
- 4 Large Stalks Celery
- Slice the apples, carrots and celery into juicer friendly pieces.
- Feed the ingredients into the juicer starting with kale, then celery, then carrots and then apple.
- Stir the juice and serve!
- Best served fresh.
*Nutritional Information accounts for the fiber loss in the overall calorie count but not in the individual macronutrients.
- Category: Juice, Juicing
- Cuisine: Vegan
The best juicer for greens are the ones that can cold press juice out of a handful of spinach leaves. Or any tiny skinny little leafy thing under the sun that is edible and that you’re interested in making an extract out of.
Unlike carrots or apples, those paperlike leaves are actually very difficult to juice!
You need a strong masticator – a juicer that can press on the thinnest things and make enzymes and vitamin-loaded juices without waking the whole neighborhood up.
Since those are not exactly the cheapest machines, let’s take a thorough look at the whole green juicer thingy and see if it’s actually worth the investment of your time and money!
Best Juicers For Greens: Centrifuges Are Not The Answer
Most juicing aficionados start with fruit or root juices on a centrifugal juicer.
Those fast juicers, they’re so efficient on carrots, celery, beetroots, and firm fruits. Fast, affordable, and requiring very little prepping with their big feeding chute, they’re your best companions when you start taking on juicing.
But when you’ve moved on from the crave for sweet drinks and want to take a step further into healthy juicing by taking up green juices, a problem arises: The same juicer that can make you super tasty and refreshing carrot juice within seconds can’t handle thin, not-so-watery leaves.
Centrifugal juicers are not ideal for making green juices from leafy veggies
The spinning blade disc barely tears the leaves before shooting them into the pulp collector, hardly making a spoonful of juice out of a big bowl of spinach. And even when you apply the technique of bunching them together into a ball, there’s still not so much more juice made.
Fast juicers are simply not designed for the job.
You need a masticating juicer, single gear or twin gear, to make leafy green juices.
How Masticators Process Leafy Vegetables
Masticating juicers, aka cold press juicers, work by using a screw auger (or two in the case of the twin gear machine) to crush and squeeze the produce to get the juice. This happens at a very low speed, about 80 to 120 revolutions per minutes (rpm), as opposed to centrifuges which work at 6000 – 14000 rpm.
With its slow but powerful squeeze, the masticator is able to extract juice out of not only the toughest roots but also the thinnest leaves. A decent machine can handle everything, from ginger and turmeric to spinach, dandelion, and arugula.
The unhurried operation also allows a masticator to preserve the juice better, giving it less exposure to the air, and protecting it from oxidation. Juices made from a masticator is thus usually thicker, less frothy, and can be stored for a longer time without separation compared to those made with a centrifuge.
That is why despite their higher prices, masticating juicers are still the preferred choice by health-conscious juice lovers.
The Best Masticating Juicers for Greens
Out of an initial list of about a dozen brands and models, we picked the three masticators that make the best green juices without costing you a fortune.
- Omega Juicers NC900HDC Juicer Extractor – Best Juicer For Greens to Buy in 2020
- Omega J8006 Nutrition Center Juicer – Best Budget Choice
- Tribest GSE5000 Greenstar Elite Cold Press – Best Twin-gear Juicer For Greens
Top-rated Juicers for Greens Comparison Chart
|Product||Our Pick As||Speed (revolutions per minute)|
|Best Juicer for Greens in 2018||80 rpm|
|Omega J8006||Best Budget Choice||80 rpm|
|Tribest GSE5000||Best Twin-gear Juicer For Greens||110 rpm|
Here’s our picks for the Best Juicers for Greens.
1. Omega Juicers NC900HDC Juicer Extractor – Best Juicer For Greens to buy in 2020
Among the single-gear masticators, it’s hard to find one better designed for leafy greens than the Omega Nutrition Center NC900HDC.
- High juice yield
- 5 settings for hard and soft veggies
- 15 years warranty
- Quiet on operation
- Also makes nut butter, nut milk, pasta
- Fragile screen
- High price
At first sight, the machine is drop-dead gorgeous with a slim design and a sleek chrome finish. It has a slightly bigger feeding chute than the J8006, which translates to a 20% reduction in prepping time. While it is still nowhere as time-saving as a centrifuge, this is a very much appreciated improvement.
When it comes to the actual job, the juicer is indeed a pro.
It juices from hard roots like ginger and cucumber to things like wheatgrass, spinach, and arugula, never discriminating on the materials.
What makes it stand out from other masticators is that it comes with 5 different settings for materials of different density. For example, setting 5 is ideal for hard things like carrots, while settings 1 – 3 are perfect for soft produce like the citrus family.
Most users agree it makes the most juice from thin leaves on setting 5 – the pulp comes out as dry as dust. The juice is also really thick and has a vibrant color – you know every single drop of nutrients from the veg is in there to give your body an immediate health boost.
When you’re in the mood for some fibrous drinks though, you can also make a sorbet with the Omega. Run some frozen banana or strawberry through it, and there you go, a chilled, refreshing cup of delicious vitamins and fiber to snack on. Want some healthy fat in your drink? Use the machine to make nut butter. If you’re a fan of soy and nut milk, there’s no need to buy a separate machine for it. The NC900HDC does the job perfectly.
Its versatility doesn’t end there: the package comes with 6 nozzles to make pasta. Seriously, while the machine does belong to a higher spectrum of price, it can be made use of in so many ways you’ll realize it’s actually a much better deal than it first appears to.
Cleanup is easy peasy. Put every removable parts into warm soapy water right after use, and it will take less than 5 minutes to wash them. There’s no need to wipe them dry: they’re made of plastic and can dry by themselves without the risk of getting rusted.
Note: The NC900HDC is a quiet machine, and it stays sturdy during operation. However, the thing will tip forward a bit if you push the plunger too hard to force the produce in. Be gentle with it!
2. Omega J8006 Nutrition Center Juicer – Best Budget Choice
The J8006 is a veteran in the cold press juicing world. It has been on the market longer than the NC900HDC, and doesn’t have all the nice features (large feeding chute, multiple settings) that the new model possesses. Apparently, that is no deal breaker to most juice lovers, as you can tell from the customer reviews; it’s a lot more affordable after all!
- Dual stage juicing system, saves nutrients
- Produces high quality juice, residual dry pulp
- Juice can be stored for 72 hours
- Juices soft and hard fruits as well as leafy greens
- Grinds nuts, coffee beans
- Chops and minces spices and food
- Can’t handle large pieces
- Plastic screen
The beast juices just about anything. Apples, pears, carrots, ginger, and all the greens. Unlike centrifugal juicers which mostly work with hard and soft fruits, you can use this masticating juicer for leafy greens like kale, celery, and even leaves as fibrous as wheatgrass.
The juice this magic machine extracts is thick with nutrients and soluble fiber to help nourish your body. On the other hand, it creates almost no froth or foam. This is thanks to its low speed juicing motor (80 RPMs), which produces little heat (hence the name of cold-pressed juicer) and thus minimizes the oxidation of the nutrients in the juice.
If you have ever used a mediocre juicer, I believe you have at least once in your lifetime, looked at the wet pulp that comes out and felt like you could have made another glass of juice out of it. That won’t be the case with the J8006. After going through a grinder and an auger, the pulp comes out from this Omega juicer incredibly dry. You can then be confident you have made the most of the pricey organic fruits, never wasting any precious vitamins or other nutrients.
But this machine is so much more than a simple juicer. It comes with a food processor attachment to chop and mince, saving you time when preparing meals for your elderly parents or four-toothed baby. Also included in the package is a pasta nozzle for your perfect homemade spaghetti. The juicer can even grind nuts and make you coffee powder!
Multifunctional and versatile, the Omega masticating juicer is also one of the easiest to assemble and disassemble, and to clean up. With the help of a brush, it takes about five minutes to wash it – a reasonable amount of time for a busy bee.
The good thing is, you don’t even have to juice and wash the machine every day. Prepare your fruits and veggies, juice once, and you can store it in the fridge for up to 3 days. The machine produces thick, fine juices that can stay intact for 72 hours after it is made.
The only possible downside you may find about this item is that its chute is fairly small. A big carrot won’t go pass the tube, and it can get clogged if you try to push in big batches of fruits at once. The solution is simple: have the large pieces chopped before you juice it.
If clogging ever happens,, there is a “reverse” function. In this setting, the auger spins in the opposite direction, setting free the fruit or veggies.
3. Tribest GSE5000 Greenstar Elite Cold Press – Best Twin-gear Juicer For Greens
Twin gear juicers are not as popular as single-gear masticating juicers. And that’s mostly for one reason: they’re a bit too expensive for casual juicing work.
- Strong twin gear
- Complete 3-stage mastication
- Cutting points, no need to precut hard veggies
- Juice has more nutrients, stays fresh longer
- Different screens to allow no or more pulp
- Works as grinder and food processor
- 12 years warranty
- Moderate chute, needs to pre-chop big items
- Heavy, large, takes up space
Most hardcore green juice lovers, however, don’t even think twice about making the investment. And of all the twin gear juicers on the market, the Tribest Green Star Elite 5000 stands out as the most well-loved: for under half a grand, it exhibits excellent features.
The Tribest 5000 has a jumbo twin gear with various parts that make up a complete three-stage juicing system.
As the fruits or vegetables are fed through the chute, the pocket recesses slice them up. The cutting points then start working to cut any hard pieces of the veggies (you don’t have to cut your celery or kale into super short pieces anymore – the fibers won’t clog up like in casual juicers). The strong gear teeth then crush them, squeezing the juice out.
As the materials go through the stages of mastication, they will also be mixed. This helps the nutrients interact and activate, thus boosting up their nutritional values.
All the while, the Greenstar magnetic technology works to maximize the amount of the valuable vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients the water can latch. That assures you will make the most out of what you feed the machine with.
All of this happens as the gears spin at 110 rpm (it’s 11000 rpm on a centrifugal juicer!). At this speed, almost no heat is generated in the process, which means all the enzymes are preserved. The delayed oxidation is also a result of the bioceramic material in the gears.
As different pressures are needed to maximize the yield of carrots and firm veggies vs softer leafy greens, the Greenstar Elite juicer comes with an adjusting knob to increase or decrease the pressure for pulp ejection.
You can also choose between the screens to have pure juice with no pulp, or with more fiber mixed in for various nutritional and digestive effects.
Either way, what you will get is thick, tasty and high quality juices loaded with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. The manufacturer claims this Green Star juicer produces juices with concentrations of essential minerals 50%-200% higher than other brands!
The icing on the cake is, the machine can also serve as a hard-working versatile food processing assistant in your kitchen. It can prepare onion and herbs, make nut butters, and grinds the black pepper you’re mixing into your salads.
At 6.5 x 19 x 12.5 inches and 24 pounds, the juicer is not too big for a heavy-duty masticating juicer. Be prepared, however, that it is going to require a little space on your countertop. It will produce some normal gear noises, but is pretty quiet given its size and functions.
Cleaning is a bit more complicated than a single-gear juicer. You see, it has 2 gears. But with a nice brush and some soap, cleaning up shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes.
If you are going to make a lot of high quality juice every day, this is the exact masticating juicer you need.
Green Juices & Why They’re A Fave Among Health Enthusiasts
Everyone seems to be talking about them. Are they fad or actually fab?
1. What’s Green Juice
A green juice is a juice made mostly of vegetables, as opposed to a fruit juice which is the extract of fruits
You can make green juices out of most veggies, but the most popular veggies for juicing are swiss chards, kale, spinach, celery, bitter gourd, dandelion, and wheatgrass, among others.
Those don’t sound so…drinkable, let alone delicious, you must be thinking.
In all honesty, the first few times I drank a celery juice, I had decided it’s not the most exotic beverage I’ve ever tasted. And celery is one of the more “soft-core” veggies for juicing.
Over the years I’ve learned ways to make them tastier, which I’ve shared at the end of this post. I’ve also found some green juices that are super easy on the taste buds, if you want to give it a try.
But still, they’re no top-notch cocktails until you’re used to them. (And actually, once you’ve gotten used to them, you will wonder how you ever found fizzy drinks desirable.)
Anyway, green juices are so popular for a good reason: there are real, proven health benefits to drinking them.
2. Green Juice Benefits – Why They’re Good For You
- They have all the nutrients and phytonutrients
Green juices have all the vitamins and nutrients existing in the vegetables.
For example, a juice from kale is very rich in iron, which is essential in the formation of hemoglobin, and enzymes for cell growth, liver function, and more. It is also loaded with Vitamin K, an important prerequisite for blood coagulation and the formation and maintenance of bone cells.
Spinach juice, meanwhile, is high in vitamins A and C. These are antioxidants responsible for a wide variety of bodily functions. I probably don’t have to mention how important they are in skin cell formation and repair.
Additionally, veggies and veggie juices are amazing sources of phytonutrients. These are chemical compounds that are believed to help you control harmful free radicals and fight against various diseases, including cancers and immunity disorders.
- They are low in fat, sugar, calories, and are cholesterol free
Most veggies are extremely low in fat and cholesterol
For all the nutrients that they contain, veggies are extremely low in fat and cholesterol. Most vegetables contain less than a gram of fat per serving.
Plus, unlike most fruit juices, they are not loaded with sugar (that is why they’re deemed as “less tasty” in the first place!). As a case in point, 100ml of orange juice contains 9g of sugar, whereas the amount of carbs in 100ml of spinach juice is less than 4g.
That is why they are so highly recommended for juice fasts as well as everyday consumption. They may not burn your fat cells, but they are at least, not enlarging the existing ones!
- Juices are easier to consume than veg
It’s not likely that you will eat a whole bunch of romaine lettuce at one go. In the liquid form though, it takes only seconds and you can get all the nutrients in it. It’s much faster and easier on your digestive system that way.
Besides, it’s easier to vary the types of veggies you consume when you juice them – you don’t have to worry so much about how to prep and cook them in certain ways. Run them all through a juicer, and vòila – your nutritious drink is ready to enjoy.
One thing to note: we’re not advocating juicing vegetables instead of eating them. You need the fiber for normal digestive functions. However, green juices are a great addition to your diet, especially when you’re not already consuming the recommended amount of veggies.
Oh Yeah, I Totally Quit My Juice Cleanse
I quit the juice cleanse.
Which, honestly, kind of killed me a little bit. That cleanse was a lot of money. And aside from that, quitting felt like admitting defeat. This was especially difficult for me when it seems like everyone else feels crazy amazing on a juice fast. Chris had the whole mental clarity, glowing aura of health thing going on and couldn’t stop talking about how much energy he had, how great he felt, how he could wrestle a grizzly bear. And I just had an aura of “I spent the whole morning hunched over the toilet puking.” (Because I did spend the whole morning hunched over the toilet puking.) At first, I wanted to soldier on. Then I thought: really? Am I really thinking about sticking with this? When it’s making me physically ill?
So then I ate some saltines. And later, a falafel wrap. Because at that point, the thought of eating fruit or vegetables made me want to throw up even more.
I mean, I expected headaches. Hunger, I could deal with. But throwing up? Not so much. I am not a good thrower-upper. And juice that doesn’t taste so good going down tastes even worse the second time around.
A lot of people say that when you get sick on a cleanse, it’s your body releasing toxins. (I didn’t really do the cleanse to release toxins–I’m not sure I believe that’s a thing that happens, but I do believe that getting an insane amount of nutrients in juices for a few days can be beneficial.) But I eat pretty clean to begin with, so I really don’t understand how my husband, who eats much more junk food than I do, could be feeling invincible, and I’d feel like jumping out of the window to end my misery. Especially after just coming off a 3-day raw cleanse that I felt fabulous on. I figured that, after a day and a half, I had given the 3-day juice cleanse a fair try, and since I felt progressively worse the whole time, it was time to throw in the towel. Something about those juices just did not agree with me–as soon as I’d start to feel a little bit better, I’d have another juice and feel terrible again.
I feel really disappointed. I was hoping for all those wonderful things people say happen to them during their juice cleanses–glowing skin, cleared sinuses, renewed energy. And instead I got crazy, ridiculously sick. Am I weak? Probably. But also, I think these cleanses just don’t work for everyone. And they clearly don’t work for me. There seems to be a lot of pressure that, once you’ve started a cleanse, you should stick with it and see it through; if you don’t, it’s some kind of moral failing. No, it’s not! Listen to your body, always. I know that by posting this, I’m going to attract a lot of drive-by commenters telling me my body must be super toxic, that I didn’t give this a fair chance, that I suck at life, and really, you can have at it; my experience is my experience and I stand by it.
So I’m sorry this post isn’t super motivational. I guess I’m kind of being a bit of a downer today, huh? I’m not saying you shouldn’t do a juice cleanse–my husband did well on it and so many other people have too. But know that it’s not all sunshine and lollipops before you start, and maybe try a single day before you commit to three. Despite all this, I still got some positive takeaways from the whole raw food and juice cleanse thing:
- I really enjoyed raw food and I felt good eating it. I’m planning on eating more raw desserts, eating sprouted nuts and seeds as snacks, and skipping the frozen convenience lunches (even if they’re low cal and/or healthy!) for fresh fruits and veggies. I have spent so long focusing on eating less, when what I really should be focusing on is eating more–eating more nutrient-dense foods, rather than eating less calories.
- I wondered if maybe, after doing this cleanse, I would want to make a dramatic change in my diet. I don’t. A moderate approach is definitely the best for me, although, like I said, I will be replacing at least some of my weekend brownies and cupcakes with healthier raw desserts.
- Since I know everyone’s wondering, I did lose 5 pounds. Of course, throwing up your food (or juice) will do that to you. I gained back a pound and a half when I started eating again.
Some people call them “juice fasts,” marketers may bill them as “juice feasts” and others simply consider them a fad.
Juice cleanses and liquid-only “detox” diets, such as the so-called Master Cleanse, are a popular health trend among Hollywood celebrities, who often see them as a quick fix for weight loss and a method of flushing “toxins” out of the body.
Some plans involve drinking nothing but liquids, while others include some food as a snack or meal. Depending on the type of cleanse, they typically last anywhere from three days to three weeks. For example, people doing the Master Cleanse drink six to 12 glasses daily of a mixture of lemon juice, cayenne pepper, maple syrup and water, for 10 days. At night, they sip a laxative tea.
But are these so-called detox diets of liquefied fruits and vegetables or lemonade-flavored drinks helpful, or just plain hype?
The premise of doing juice cleanses and other types of liquid detox regimens is false, said Liz Applegate, director of sports nutrition at the University of California, Davis. “The body does not need any help in getting rid of toxins,” she said.
There are detoxifying enzymes in the liver that break down alcohol and other drugs, and the kidneys handle water-soluble toxins, Applegate said.
Applegate described six pitfalls of following such liquid cleansing plans, and their potential dangers.
1. Cleanses are usually low in protein.
Many juice fasts and liquid diets involve consuming no protein at all, or have very low amounts of it, Applegate told Live Science. People need a daily supply of protein to build healthy immune cells and regenerate muscle following a workout, she noted.
Fruits and vegetables have only small amounts of protein; however, some prepackaged juice plans may include a nut-milk beverage, such as cashew or almond, as one of the daily drinks, which offers a little protein and fat.
Consuming fruit and vegetable juices for three days may not be harmful for a healthy person, Applegate said. “But don’t be surprised that someone may well get sick because these plans are ghastly low in protein,” she added.
Older adults may be more susceptible to infections if they attempt a juice fast or liquid diet because they may already have lowered protein stores.
In addition, juicing fruits and vegetables removes most of the fiber in them. Eating such a limited amount of fiber as part of a juice regimen won’t hurt most people’s diets for a couple of days, but it could be a drawback in that it leaves you feeling hungry. Fiber helps people feel full and satisfied, Applegate said.
2. They are also low in calories.
Depending on which cleanse a person does, and how many bottles of juice or glasses of “lemonade” they drink, the calories that a person winds up consuming daily can range from about 800 to 1,200 calories. When done for 10 days, the low-calorie intake that comes with doing a Master Cleanse or other regimen could send the body into starvation mode, meaning it will try to conserve calories by slowing down metabolism, because the body is unsure when it will be fed again, Applegate said.
Doing a juice cleanse typically reduces calories in a person’s diet, and can help people lose a little weight, Applegate said. But when people exclude their favorite foods from their diet for a period of time, they tend to reward themselves afterward, and even go overboard, she noted. Any pounds shed during a cleanse are mostly water weight, and will likely be gained back once usual eating habits resume.
3. People might not feel so great while doing it.
While cleansing, people commonly experience side effects such as headaches, fatigue, difficulty thinking, moodiness, stomach pain and hunger pangs. “Be prepared for changes in bowel function and frequent bathroom visits,” Applegate warned.
And cayenne pepper, which is used in the Master Cleanse plan, can irritate the colon, Applegate said, making this regimen a concern for people with sensitive digestive systems, such as irritable bowel syndrome. Other side effects of the Master Cleanse may include bad breath, dizziness, diarrhea and a white tongue, according to its website.
In addition, juice cleanses are not a good idea for people with diabetes who may be on medication to regulate insulin activity, Applegate said. Drinking so much juice could lead to unstable blood sugar levels.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and people with compromised immune systems or advanced heart, liver or kidney disease should also avoid juice cleanses.
People taking the blood-thinning drug Coumadin should stay away from them because some of the green juices could contain vegetables high in vitamin K — such as kale, spinach, parsley and celery — which can lessen the drug’s effectiveness.
4. The extremeness of the regimen could be part of the appeal.
Completing a three-day cleanse might be extreme, but it’s also an obtainable goal, Applegate said. So although it may be hard to do and may feel like deprivation, perhaps the challenge of completing a short-term cleanse offers some psychological payoffs, such as a sense of accomplishment and a belief that harmful substances have been cleared from the body.
Still, Applegate said she considers it a harsh diet plan and is concerned about the extremely low nutrient intake, particularly of protein. She said she even dislikes applying the term “cleanse” to these regimens because “there’s no evidence that someone is actually getting rid of harmful compounds from the body — that you’re cleansing.”
A cleanse could be like “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” where people are afraid to say they didn’t really feel better while doing it because they want to embrace the latest health craze, Applegate suggested.
5. Cleanses may legitimize the idea that indulgence should be punished.
Billed as a way to “kick-start a healthy lifestyle, “eliminate food cravings” and “reset eating habits,” juice or detox cleanses often involve swallowing only “liquid food,” as some manufacturers describe it, and not chewing any solid foods for several days.
However, research has found that the brain may not register liquid calories in the same way as those from solid food, and the routine could get old fast.
Should people clean up their act if they are eating poorly? Sure, Applegate said. And there are benefits to drinking juice if it gets people interested in trying new fruits and vegetables (even if they are squeezed into a liquid), she added.
But the problem comes when people who overindulge on food or alcohol feel a need to go to the extreme and punish themselves by drinking only juices, instead of just eating healthfully, Applegate said.
6. The approach is scientifically unfounded and expensive.
There’s no scientific evidence that juice cleanses are a sensible approach to better health, Applegate said. Cleansing’s touted benefits — from detoxifying the body and resting the digestive system, to boosting immunity and improving mental focus — are largely anecdotal and unproven.
The notion of using these methods to give the digestive system a rest is nonsensical, Applegate said. “The digestive system operates every day to digest foods, and it doesn’t need any rest,” she said.
What’s more, many of these plans can be pricey. They generally run between $60 and $75 a day for mostly bottled juices (and that doesn’t include shipping).
Follow Live Science @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on Live Science.
13 scary things that might happen to your body on a juice cleanse
Going on a juice cleanse might sound appealing (if difficult).
Not only do you lose weight, but buzzwords such as ‘detox’ and ‘toxins’ and ‘purify’ and ‘cleanse’ make you feel you are on the righteous path towards clean good health.
With celebs like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Lea Michelle looking superbly gorgeous while sipping on their green drinks, why would you think otherwise?
Yes, there are health benefits of drinking freshly-made vegetable or fruit juice, but relying solely on it as your source of nutrition for a prolonged period of time (say a week or longer) might be doing more harm than you think.
Here’s what some experts say is happening to your body if you live solely on juice for an extended period.
1. A juice cleanse isn’t actually helping your body with detoxing
“The idea of a ‘detox’ diet is to rid our bodies of any stored up toxins, but the truth is that toxins do not build up for a harmful length of time if our organs are doing their job properly,” says Emma Brown, who has an MSc in Human Nutrition.
“Our liver, kidneys, digestive system and skin are a natural defence against anything harmful such as infection, drugs, bacteria, metabolic waste products and exogenous chemicals such as pesticides, and these systems work around the clock to remove anything harmful from the body as quickly as possible.”
So basically, going on a juice cleanse for a week isn’t really doing anything that your body isn’t capable of doing on its own.
2. In fact, it might just hinder the detoxing process
“There is no scientific evidence to support claims that juice cleanses help to aid the body’s natural detox systems – in actual fact, it could hinder it,” says Brown.
“Because juice diets are very limited, they remove fibre and protein from our diets for a short while – both of which are important for the body’s natural processes.
“Protein is needed for the normal functioning of the liver, and fibre is important for keeping the digestive system ticking over smoothly. Remove these from our diet and processes can be disrupted.”
3. Your skin might dry up
Here’s the thing. You might have read that a juice detox will result in a glowing healthy skin, but that’s not always the case (unless of course you’ve been eating huge amounts of junk food and have taken up juicing as part of your health kick).
Also, when you eat a low calorie diet, you use up water that is stored in your muscles with glycogen, causing your skin to feel dry.
“Balance is the key,” says Antonia Burrell, associate lecturer in the chemistry of aromatherapy at the London College of Fashion. “If someone is doing a juice fast then prolonging this can lead to a drier skin and potentially a prematurely ageing skin because of the lack of essential fatty acids being consumed.”
4. You will starve your body of vital nutrients
“Juice detoxes tend to only include fruit and veg, meaning they lack important nutrients such as protein, calcium and fibre,” says Brown.
“Protein is important for muscle repair, immune functions and metabolic processes, calcium is important for bone health and fibre is important for the healthy functioning of our bowels.
“Fibre, essential amino acids and good fats are very important for the correct functioning of our body’s internal processes.
“Removing these from our diet will mean our body is deprived of the important vitamins, minerals and nutrients it needs to function correctly and healthily.”
5. Removing fat from your diet means some vitamins can’t be absorbed into your body
A juice cleanse eliminates the possibility of eating fat altogether. But is that really a good thing?
“Good fats are very important for the correct functioning of our body’s internal processes. Removing these from the diet can mean the body can’t perform at its optimum level,” says Brown.
“For example, fat soluble vitamins A, D, K and E require fats in the diet in order to be absorbed.
“If your diet does not include some fat, the uptake of these vitamins from food will be limited.”
6. You could be damaging your teeth
Juices, especially fruit juices, not only damage your teeth, they aren’t good for your gums either.
“Diets like juice cleanse can cause insulin levels to peak and then plummet. Over time, this alters the structure of collagen in the body and therefore affects your gums – as it’s collagen fibres that hold your teeth in place,” says Dr Sameer Patel, clinical director at Elleven.
“Not only that, the juice from fruit and vegetables, especially fruit, tend to have a high acid content which severely damages the enamel of your teeth in a similar way to fizzy drinks.
“Although fruit and vegetables are considered healthy acids, this is only the case when they are consumed as a whole, rather than as a concentrated juice.
“Ultimately this can lead to teeth sensitivity as the protective layer of enamel is worn down and eroded by the juice.”
7. You might end up feeling more stressed
“There are possible benefits of juice detox, that include feeling ‘lighter’ and more energised,” says Cassandra Barns, nutritionist at NutriCentre.
“But in terms of downsides, some people may feel hungry and perhaps have a headache or feel irritable during the first day or two.
“Fasting for long periods of time is not recommended as it can stress your body and cause the breakdown of muscle.
“People who have done a juice fast have experienced some form of fatigue, dizziness, constipation and even dehydration.
“These symptoms could be from having low blood sugar levels, being dehydrated and having withdrawals from caffeine and other foods such that your body may have got used to having.”
8. You won’t be able to keep up with your exercise
Tiredness and fatigue is not what you want when you head over to the gym – and if you are surviving solely on fruit and veg juices, you won’t be able to perform at your optimum best.
“If someone were to start juicing without eating any solid food, this could impact on exercise or training,” says Dr Sam Christie, a nutritionist.
“Anyone training or engaging in vigorous, prolonged or demanding exercise should ensure that their calorie intake is adequate to fuel it and extra water is consumed, as juices are concentrated and may not adequately hydrate your body.
“If not, they will feel fatigued and lacking in energy, which of course could adversely affect performance.”
9. You will be less tolerant to cold temperatures
Warm foods and drinks can keep help you maintain your body temperatures during the winter months, so going on a juice fast in the middle of winter might not be the best thing to do, if you aren’t keen on freezing temperatures.
“Not having warm food can also make you feel cold,” says Barns.
10. It can hamper your digestion and make you bloat
Fibre is an important part of a healthy diet and the NHS recommends having 14g of fibre a day for good digestive health.
But when you put your vegetables through a juicer you end up breaking down all that health-boosting fibre onto a liquid pulp.
Not only that, fruit juices tend to contain a lot of natural sugar, which the bad bacteria in our gut feed on.
“This disturbs efficient elimination and toxins can even get reabsorbed into the bloodstream,” says Ernesta Stripeikaite, Fushi’s naturopath and wellbeing expert.
“A common side effect of juice cleansing is something called SIBO – small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, which can result in bloating and indigestion.”
11. You might end up on a high-sugar diet
Fruit juices is a concentrated source of natural sugars – a result of blitzing them through a blender or juicer where healthy fibres are broken down.
If you consume it without any other food, juice passes relatively quickly through your stomach to your small intestine, where the both the nutrients and the sugar are rapidly absorbed.
“For individuals with diabetes and other forms of ill-health juice cleansing diets are positively NOT recommended because of the additional ‘free sugar’ produced during the process,” says Dr Christie.
12. You may lose weight but will affect your metabolism
“Extreme calorie reduction like this means your body starts to use energy from other sources – but not only from your fat stores, but also protein from muscle mass too – which is not good!” says Brown.
“Muscle is important for maintaining a healthy metabolic rate as it is a metabolically active tissue. Losing muscle mass can impact on your metabolism longer term.”
13. Your hair might fall out
When your body doesn’t get the nutrition it needs, survival mode kicks in and it focuses on the organs that are essential to life. And one of the things that get affected is hair production and hair growth.
“Limiting the diet to just juices means your body may be missing out on nutrients such as fibre, calcium and iron as well as protein and healthy fats – which are incredibly important for hair health,” says TV nutritionist Charlotte Stirling Reid.
So what’s the verdict?
“Aside from it being healthy or unhealthy – juice cleansing is entirely unnecessary,” says Brown.
“While not eating solid foods for just a few days will not do you any long-term harm, it certainly won’t achieve much.
“The very low calorie intake may result in some weight loss, but cutting out complete food groups and following a very low calorie diet for more than a few days is not advised as the lack of essential nutrients can have an negative impact on health.”
And if you still want to go ahead with a cleanse…
1. “You should not fast if you are pregnant or breast feeding or if you have a medical condition that means you have to eat regularly such as diabetes,” says Barns.
2. Stick to between 1 and 3 days duration unless you are working with a nutritionist or other health practitioner.
3. If fruits are juiced together with vegetables, you can add some of the pulp back into the juice so you don’t miss out on the fibre.
4. Drink with a straw to avoid acidic fruit juice to come in contact with your teeth.
5. Go for vegetable juice over fruit to minimise your ‘natural sugar’ intake.
6. Or, instead of a juice-only cleanse include juices as part of your balanced diet, rather than a substitute for solids.