Juicing vegetables has become an all-out nutrition craze, claiming to “detox,” “cleanse,” or restore your body and digestive organs while pretending to give you all the same benefits of their whole food counterparts in a drinkable, on-the-go package. Sound too good to be true? It is! Whether it’s fresh squeezed, cold pressed, made from concentrate, or 100% juice, juice all breaks down to same thing: sugar.
Juicing your veggies is not the same thing as chewing them. You lose nutrients in the juice form and are left feeling hungrier afterward. Not to mention all those juice bar runs can add up and drain you of some serious cash. So all that juicing really just leads to less money and more harm than good for your health goals.
Real talk: You don’t need to detox. Ever.
Your body is designed to naturally rid itself of toxins and excess stuff it does not need or use all on its own. If you have a functioning gut, liver, and kidneys, you are always detoxing, every minute of every day.
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A huge problem with juicing vegetables and juice cleanses is that proponents claim they restore and rebalance your organs by giving them a break from digesting and discarding the food you take in. But there is zero (I repeat, zero) scientific evidence to support the claim that these organs need a break in the first place.
Plus there is no research to show that drinking juice, instead of chewing, will help your organs do their jobs better. In fact, our bodies were designed to chew (looking at you, teeth). We feel more full and more satisfied from chewing than from drinking.
Drinking your fruits and vegetables doesn’t give you the same benefits as eating them.
The fruits and veggies used in your juice no longer have the same health benefits you get from chewing them. Mainly because juicing destroys the fiber: That’s the stuff that fills you up, keeps you full, promotes gut health, helps regulate blood sugar, fights chronic illnesses (like cancer and diabetes), and helps you maintain a healthy weight. Yeah, that stuff…all gone! Also, some of the vitamins and minerals get destroyed too. So you are actually just left with the sugar.
Even if the label says “no added sugar,” the beverage is still a concentrated form of sugar from the fruits and vegetables used to make it. Drinking a glass or bottle will cause your blood sugar levels to spike and than drastically dip, leaving you ravenous and eventually cause you to overeat.
If you’re thinking of doing a three-day juice cleanse to slim down for a wedding, this will fail too. Basically it’s a sugar-filled hunger strike that is designed to backfire. You will ultimately end up downing an entire pizza, gallon of ice cream, or engaging in other eating behavior you would never normally do just to make up for your lack of satisfaction from your cleanse.
What will actually work?
Well, first off, chewing. Food was made to be eaten, not drunk. Make veggies the star of your plate instead of your beverage. You will get all the fiber, all the vitamins, and all the minerals while actually satisfying your hunger. Plus, the fiber will keep you feeling full for a longer period of time, so you are not looking to snack between meals.
Swap out that postworkout juice for an apple with 2 tablespoons of nut butter, or snack on a bar with 5 grams of sugar or less. Either option is a much healthier bang for that would-be-juice buck.
To actually help reset after a vacation or jump-start a health goal, pack in extra produce by doubling or tripling the veggies you eat in a day. Also, skip the fried foods and baked goods. Cutting back on your booze intake will also help you feel better. When you do imbibe, drink a glass of water for every alcoholic beverage. And the ultimate way to feel restored and refreshed is to get more sleep. Even an extra 30 minutes a night will add up and have you feeling rejuvenated and energized.