Juicing for Weight Loss
Juice drinks may aid weight loss when combined with a balanced diet, but high levels of sugar found in fruits can end up doing the body more harm than good.
Some dieters rely on high levels of juice drinks in their diets to aid weight loss. Depending on the quantities of sugar present in these drinks, though, such a diet may cause more harm than good. As juicing strips away much of the fruit and vegetable pulp which contains fiber, dieters may not lose weight, and can potentially end up gaining weight if their diet is not properly balanced. Dieters who do wish to rely on juice drinks should be sure to get plenty of fiber and protein in other forms to stave off hunger.
Juicing for Weight Loss
The secrets to living a healthy lifestyle are fairly well understood by most people: eating lots of fruit and vegetables, and avoiding excess fats and sugars, is generally believed to be the key to healthy, sustainable weight loss.
For this reason, it’s becoming increasingly popular for dieters to turn to ‘juicing’ (drinking primarily fruit and vegetable juices) in order to lose weight. The intensity of the diet will vary from person to person – some have tried relying on juices to supplement their diet, while others use juice drinks as either a partial or complete substitute for meals, in order to reduce their calorie intake.
Juice drinks are typically thought among dieters to be as effective as eating the whole fruit, but significantly easier – many dieters believe that they’re getting all of the beneficial content from the fruit and vegetables they juice without the hassle of sitting down to eat large plates of food. Many juice drinkers prefer to use a juice machine to create their own drinks, thereby making their juices as healthy and pure as possible.
The Potential Dangers of Juicing
Sadly, not all juice drinks are going to produce a beneficial result for healthy weight loss – some may actually lead to additional weight gain, while others may inspire rapid weight loss that is unsustainable and damaging to the body – this kind of intense weight loss is rarely permanent, and dieters can find themselves regaining weight after a while.
The problem with only consuming the juice from fruits and vegetables is that the pulp which is removed is a very important part of the food – fruit and vegetable pulp contains large quantities of fibre, which benefit weight loss in two ways: firstly, fiber helps the natural sugar present in fruits to be absorbed into the bloodstream at a slow, healthy pace. Secondly, fiber is filling, helping the user to stay full for longer and not requiring additional food.
When dieters choose to drink fruit juice, they take in a large dose of sugar all at once – scientists have concluded that the sugar contained in many fruit juices can exceed amounts found in soft drinks, and can be just as harmful. The body is not designed to ingest the sugar from multiple fruits all at once, and as such, this can affect the body’s blood-sugar levels. With so much additional sugar in the bloodstream, the body chooses to store much of the excess sugar in fat cells for later use, meaning that drinking sugary fruit juices is likely to lead to weight gain, rather than weight loss.
What’s more, in circumstances where users are replacing meals with juice drinks, without the fiber from the fruit and vegetable pulp to fill the user’s stomach, juice drinks will often leave the user’s appetite unsated, meaning that before long the user will require additional food to stave off hunger pangs. This can mean that juice diets are difficult to maintain without an additional source of fiber and protein, which naturally fill the stomach and tell the brain that the body doesn’t need more food.
There is an even greater danger involved with some of the more intense juice diets. Those dieters who are replacing several meals a day with juice, or who are consuming a ‘juice detox’ diet of nothing but fruit and vegetable juice, can often find themselves short of many of the key vitamins and minerals that are present in typical foodstuffs but which are not found in fruits and vegetables. Without proper sustenance, the user can feel faint, suffer from tiredness and sluggishness, and can potentially do damage to their body as they starve themselves from vital nutrients and calories. What’s more, after a lengthened period of reduced calorie intake, the body enters starvation mode where it stores any calories that it consumes and refuses to burn off excess weight, meaning that users will see their weight loss slow down dramatically in spite of their intense diet regime.
All of this is not to say that juicing is definitely bad for the user’s health and weight loss attempts – in moderation and when making use of the right ingredients, juice drinks can be a helpful part of a healthy diet.
In order to reduce the dangers of drinking large doses of sugar in juice drinks, dieters looking to rely on juices should ensure that their drinks primarily contain vegetables. These juices are typically less tasty than fruit drinks, but come with far less sugar, which helps to prevent the user from gaining weight due to excess consumption. Leafy green vegetables are typically best for providing healthy doses of Vitamin C without also providing the body with excess doses of sugar, and so where possible, dieters should rely on green plants that are low in sugar to get the best possible weight benefits while staying healthy.
The user may also choose to supplement their juice drinking with healthy foods that contain fibre and protein in order to prevent hunger that will be caused by only drinking juice rather than eating solid food. Nuts, beans and legumes contain large doses of protein and fiber, and as such are a healthy accompaniment to juice drinks that will ensure that the user consumes enough filling food to prevent hunger attacks, as well as making sure that the body does not enter starvation mode.
Alternatively, juice drinkers can find ways to introduce their unused fruit and vegetable pulp into their diet. The pulp extracted during the juicing process can be used in cooking to ensure that the body gets the fiber and nutrients that are not contained in the fruit juice. Consuming fruit and vegetable pulp hours after drinking the juice won’t entirely offset the sugar content of the juice, but it will be better for the body’s general health than only drinking the juice and discarding the pulp.
Weight Loss Benefits
Provided that users consume appropriate levels of fruit, fiber and other vitamins and minerals alongside their juice consumption, dieters will likely experience health benefits from juice drinks. These effects will likely vary depending on the user’s previous diet and the ingredients that they choose to include in their juices.
If dieters are using juice drinks as an alternative to meals, as long as they can cope with the feelings of hunger that this will produce, the primary weight loss benefits that they will experience will be thanks to a reduced calorie diet. For this reason, it’s beneficial to ensure that other meals are not heavier in calories to compensate for a relatively healthy breakfast or lunch. If fruit or vegetable drinks are used in addition to a full, high calorie diet, then while the drinks will provide the user with more Vitamin C, the user will be unlikely to lose weight as they will still be containing a large number of calories.
It’s best, then, for users to attempt to partially reduce their calorie intake while consuming a high fruit diet in order to see weight loss benefits – that said, users should be careful not to reduce their calorie intake too low: while all-fruit juice detox diets are popular in some dieting circles, the lack of substantial calories, vitamins and minerals can leave users deficient of vital sustenance, which will do more harm than good to the body, in spite of any weight loss achievements.
Clinical trials into the effects of juice drinks on weight loss have produced various results. For the most part, these trials have found that juice drinks do aid weight loss, but only when combined with a reduced calorie diet – by themselves, juice drinks are not a natural weight loss aid, and only through a careful, healthy reduction of calories will users see the best possible weight loss effects.
A study in 2005 looked at the effects of drinking commercially produced vegetable juice drinks in order to increase participants’ vegetable intake levels. Over the course of a 12 week study, participants were separated into three groups, who were given either 16, 8, or 0 fluid ounces of vegetable juice to drink daily. Over the course of this experiment, the participants were regularly studied to determine the effects that these drink amounts had on their health. There was no cardiovascular improvements between patients, but those who were given vegetable juice supplements and who suffered from hypertension did experience a drop in blood pressure. This led the study to conclude that while vegetable juice drinks alone may not provide a wide variety of health benefits without additional dietary changes, it may help to produce healthier blood pressure. This study can be taken as evidence that vegetable juice has benefits, but should also be accompanied with a nutritious diet.
A 2014 systematic review looked at eight previous studies into the consumption of fruit juice and subsequent effects on blood sugar levels. 329,349 participants were studied and monitored throughout a trial period to determine the effects that regular juice consumption had on the blood sugar. It was found that regular consumption of juice drinks with added sugar was associated with an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Juice drinks that did not contain additional sugars did not produce similar effects. This means that users who are looking to rely on high sugar juice drinks should be careful to limit their sugar content as it may produce severely negative body effects, including the potential development of diabetes.
There may be certain health benefits to drinking fruit and vegetable juice drinks in certain circumstances: additional fruit and vegetables can mean a healthier food intake when the user combines this with a balanced diet. That said, because juice drinks typically do not contain fiber, users may suffer ill effects from fruit juices which contain large quantities of sugar – in some cases, artificially sugary fruit drinks have been linked to the development of diabetes. Users looking to try a juice diet should be careful to consume enough fiber, protein and other vitamins and minerals to ensure that they eat a balanced, filling diet.
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