Juicing advocates sometimes refer to the innumerable combinations of fruit and vegetable juices as “vitamin and mineral cocktails.” Unlike a blender, which you use to combine whole pieces of produce with juice or water, a juicer extracts the water, vitamin and mineral content from fruits and vegetables, leaving the roughage behind. While juicing on a regular basis can help you meet your body’s nutritional requirements and promote weight loss, it might not be the sustainable lifestyle change you need for long-term success.
Weight loss is a function of burning more calories than you consume on a daily basis, as much as weight gain is the result of taking in more calories than your body uses. To lose a pound of fat, you must burn 3,500 more calories than you consume over a certain period of time. Healthy, sustainable weight loss doesn’t happen quickly. Losing between 1 and 2 pounds per week, or up to 8 pounds per month, is considered a safe rate of weight loss by most health professionals. In effect, many people can safely burn and/or cut up to 1,000 calories per day from their diet to promote weight loss.
If you follow a weight-loss diet based on juicing, you’ll either replace all of your meals with juice blends, or you’ll eat one healthy meal per day and take in the rest of your calories in juice. As a weight-loss method, juicing is effective because fruits and vegetables are much lower in calories — while high in vitamins and minerals — than most of the foods they replace. A typical plan includes drinking an energizing juice in the morning, drinking a mid-morning “snack,” having a cocktail of vegetables for lunch followed by an energizing mid-afternoon juice, drinking another before dinner, eating a healthy evening meal and having one more juice just before bed.
Proponents of juicing contend that consuming a high quantity and large variety of juices can leave you feeling more energized, even on a low-calorie diet. Freshly extracted juice from raw produce is nutrient-dense, containing a large amount of vitamins and minerals that your body can easily absorb. If, like many Americans, you have a hard time getting enough fresh produce in your diet, juicing is a convenient and palatable way to get your daily recommended servings. Because store-bought juice is heated during pasteurization, it doesn’t possess the same level of nutrition as freshly extracted juice. Consequently, you shouldn't use bottled, canned or frozen juice in place of juicing.
The most successful weight-loss strategies are sustainable, meaning you can incorporate them into your lifestyle long-term. Replacing all or most solid food with juice may be fine during the weight-loss process, but you’re likely to start caving in to any cravings you may develop -- including the craving to chew -- as time goes on. While cutting calories through diet alone is more effective than maintaining a diet of excess calories and burning them off through exercise, a combination of calorie reduction and physical activity is the best way to lose weight and keep it off. Juicing can be a healthy component of a nutritionally complete reduced-calorie diet. Ensure that you consume enough protein and fat, along with the carbohydrates and micronutrients from juice, to ensure your bodily functions work properly.
- “Juicing For Life”; Cherie Calbom and Maureen Keane; 1992
- University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health: Juicing Fruits and Vegetables
- Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.