Juicing fruits and vegetables is a great, easy way to boost your nutrient uptake and squeeze all those essential vitamins and minerals into your diet. As part of an overall healthy lifestyle, it is a great habit to get into and many people swear by it as a weight loss method.
Many popular weight loss diets are nothing more than fads.
Is juicing truly a good way to lose weight, and if so, how is the best way to go about it?
If you’re new to juicing, check out our Juicing For Beginners guide to get familiar with the process before continuing on.
Here, we examine the science behind juicing for weightloss, take a look at the challenges involved, and outline the best methods for getting results, so you can decide if it’s the right method for you.
Always check with your health professional before embarking on any major diet changes.
Is Juicing A Good Way To Lose Weight?
Because weight loss is achieved by consuming fewer calories than you burn, if you replace some (or all) meals with juice or drink juice as part of a healthy eating plan, you are likely to lose weight.
Having said that, it does depend a lot on the type of juice you are consuming. While green juices comprised mostly of vegetables are low in calories, the opposite may be true for many fruit juices; drinking high sugar fruit juice will not be as effective.
Any good weight loss diet should see you consuming no more than 1000 calories a day. So whether you opt for an all-out juice fast — cutting out solid foods for a few days — or reduce your calories in other ways, you will see results in the short term.
However, before you get too excited and run out to buy yourself an expensive juicer, bear in mind that a juicing program is no quick, long term fix.
SEE ALSO: 10 Best Juicers
Often, any weight you lose during a juice fast or juice diet will return once you stop. There are also other factors to consider.
When you drastically reduce your calorie intake, your body will automatically go into starvation mode; this means that it will work against you and try and conserve calories and store fat.
On top of that, the rapid weight loss you experience may, in fact, come as a result of loss of muscle mass, not fat.
When your calorie consumption is too low, your body will start to use stored energy –glycogen, pulled from your muscles and liver — before turning to your fat stores.
Once your metabolism adjusts to a lower calorie diet, it can slow right down because of a lack of protein and fat in the diet. When you start to eat normally again, you may put on more weight than you lost!
Top 2 Challenges
Severe Hunger Pangs
If it is your first time on a juicing diet, the most difficult side effect to deal with could be hunger pangs or cravings.
Many who take on a juice fast can experience extreme cravings for all sorts of things, mainly fast food and other greasy and salty fare. It is a normal reaction to yearn for the food you used to enjoy, and it is likely to subside after a few days to about a week.
However, in some cases, the hunger pangs become alarming enough that people just go back to eating solids after about a week of starting a juice diet.
A more sustainable way is to include whole food, or organic snacks into your juicing program to keep you motivated and healthy.
It is true that you can potentially lose weight by juicing, but this is just half the story. Sometimes, juicing can cause what is referred to as yo-yo effect, in which you can gain back some, if not most of the weight lost.
This does not have to be a major cause for concern, but it can be quite an annoyance, especially if you lost a lot of weight. Some diets allow cheat days where you can eat solid or semi-solid fruits or vegetables in order to curb the cravings.
How To Lose Weight Juicing
As with any diet, the most important part is to make it achievable and healthy in order to get long term results. As we’ve established above, starving yourself may see quick results, but is counterproductive in the long run.
Set realistic goals and make reasonable changes to your lifestyle; juicing can be included as one of these long term changes.
Read on for some essential tips and ideas to get the most out of your juicing.
Vary Your Fruit And Veg
Even if you adore orange juice and could drink it all day every day, you really need to mix it up to ensure you get as many nutrients as possible.
Get experimental; try fruit and veggies that are new to you, experiment with different combinations, and most importantly, consume a wide variety of different colors to cover all your bases.
Green juices are where it’s at. Not only are vegetable-based juices lower in sugar, but vegetables are also usually cheaper to buy, so you won’t be spending big on too many expensive fruits.
High sugar juices can cause massive spikes in your blood sugar level, which will all too quickly lead to massive drops, playing havoc with your body and making you feel ill.
Aim for every juice to contain around two-thirds vegetables and only one-third fruit.
Don’t forget that some vegetables are high in natural sugars too, so don’t go too hard on things like carrots or beets.
Keep It Fresh
Store-bought juices with long expiry dates are usually pasteurized to ensure they don’t go bad.
Fresh juices are much healthier, but without this process, they will not last long. Bacteria can develop very rapidly and potentially cause food poisoning.
Aim to prepare a juice only when you are going to drink it right away.
If you need to prepare juice ahead of time, aim for a cold press juicing machine and ensure you store your juice in a sealed bottle in the fridge.
Count Your Calories
While it may sound like a hassle, you need to make sure you know how many calories you are consuming every day; too many and your weight loss goals will be unachievable; too few and your body will go into starvation mode.
Use a food journal or calorie counting app to keep track of everything you eat and drink.
Increase Your Protein Intake
By avoiding solid food, you also inadvertently miss out on protein, an important building block to keep you healthy and strong.
Consider adding a good protein powder to your juice, or convert it into a smoothie by adding nuts, seeds or yogurt.
Up Your Fiber
When you juice all your fruits and vegetables, the pulp left behind contains all that fibrous goodness that your body thrives upon.
Fiber helps you feel fuller for longer and keeps your digestive system in optimal health.
Try adding some of the pulp back into your juice to bulk it up, or consider taking a fiber supplement.
Choosing to do a weight loss cleanse is certainly a positive step towards healthier living. It is important to know and understand the benefits as well as the potential drawbacks before deciding which program to use and for how long.
Clearly, juicing for weight loss is not a quick or long term solution for getting rid of some extra kilos; however, when carefully planned as part of a healthy and sustaining long term diet and exercise program, it can be an effective aid.
Please note that there are potential health complications involved with juicing, particularly if you suffer from diabetes or other long-term problems. Always check with your health professional before embarking on any major diet changes.