Juicing has become a popular way to boost energy and lose weight. You may have heard juice cleansing radio ads, seen (or bought) expensive juices in the store, or maybe you’ve even made juice from scratch. But does juicing for weight loss work?
Juicing refers to using a juicer or blender to liquefy fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Juices differ from smoothies because the latter include additional ingredients like milk, yogurt, seeds, and sweeteners. Juices typically contain only the liquid components — although some juices contain pulp. Making your own blends is easier with a juicer, although some people use a blender.
Is Juicing Good for You?
Juicing can help you lose weight, but can also boost your nutritional intake. Since most Americans consume less than half the recommended servings of fruit and vegetables, and having a poor diet increases your risk of chronic illnesses, juicing is a great way to benefit from the nutrients that fresh produce contains. Most people don’t eat two heads of romaine, two apples, three stalks of celery, two carrots, and a head of kale in one sitting, but you can easily juice all those and drink it in five minutes flat.
Especially when made from scratch, homemade juice is nutrient-dense, providing your body with potassium, folate, and a wide range of vitamins and minerals, depending on which fruits and vegetables you use. Juicing also supports cardiovascular health by decreasing cholesterol levels. Juicing releases the antioxidants and nutrients naturally present in produce into an easy-to-digest form.
Juicing removes most of the fiber from the fruits and vegetables. If you want to retain more fiber in your drinks, you can make your juice in a blender instead of with a juicer. Alternatively, you can put some of the leftover pulp into your juice to add some fiber back.
Benefits of Juicing
If you are a picky eater who still wants to eat a wide range of healthy vegetables, fruit can help cover up the taste of your least-favorite vegetables in juices. Because fruits are naturally sweet, you can skip the added sweeteners found in store-bought drinks and processed foods.
Making our own fresh, organic juices provides you with rich sources of minerals, folate, vitamin A, vitamin C (ascorbic acid), and antioxidants, among other nutrients. Interestingly, one study found that juicing apples, pears, and mandarin oranges releases significantly more antioxidants than blending them. Also, including the peel in a homemade juicer added substantially more nutrients, antioxidants, phenols, flavonoids, and vitamin C to the juice. These natural compounds are anti-inflammatory and support better health.
Juices make a good substitute for your morning caramel latte — especially if you usually skip breakfast. Some experts say that the natural nutrients and fructose in an apple provides more energy than a cup coffee!
Skipping meals, including breakfast, can lead to weight gain over time; juice can provide a meal replacement — a low-calorie, nutrient-dense alternative to going without. Drinking a fresh juice with — or without — a healthy, low-calorie breakfast is a fast and easy way to incorporate more veggies into your morning.
Juicing for Weight Loss
No matter how many pounds you are trying to lose, it’s important to exercise, reduce your calorie intake, and add more vegetables to your diet. You can use food, including fresh juice, to empower your body to burn fat and eliminate toxins. More importantly, remember to talk about your diet with your healthcare team.