Is Juicing Really All That Healthy?

This article came out the other day examining the dark side of juicing and asked the question, "Is juice worse than soda?" Here's my take...

Every, and I mean EVERY time we give a talk on paleo and real food we get asked the question:

"What about juicing?"

Often this question is quickly followed by the justifying addendum of "we put spinach in the smoothies too" or "it's just so easy and fast in the morning."

First, let me say I get it and I understand.

Our baby hasn't even been born yet and I already have a hard time getting breakfast ready every day.

With that said, here is my beef with juicing in general:

It is viewed as a healthy alternative to what you were eating before and it's just not.

We don't eat perfect all the time. Sarah's pregnant and I make really good gnocchi. But we know when we are eating something healthy vs. something unhealthy, which allows us to make informed decisions about how much nutrition our bodies are actually getting.

When you have smoothies for breakfast, lunch, snack whatever, and feel like you did something good for yourself, and THEN get the same sugar highs, insulin and cortisol spikes and dips, AND no weight loss, well that right there is a recipe for a quitter. A "this Paleo thing doesn't work" person.

We did a 30 day challenge one time and a participant said they didn't lose a pound all month.

I asked about diet and was told "I ate strict Paleo, smoothies with no yogurt for breakfast, blah, blah, blah..." Not that I didn't listen to the rest, but for my point it doesn't matter, they had started their day off with more sugar than would have been in a bowl of cereal and milk.

That, plus thinking you were doing something good for yourself, is just not a great habit to adopt.

So sorry to be "that guy" again, but you are going to have to cook. At least when you're out of Pete's Paleo meals. Like I said at the beginning, this journey of health is life-long.

Have a smoothie once in awhile. I will imbibe one myself post-workout on occasion as a delicious, refreshing treat. But that being said, start taking some time to plan ahead and have a real breakfast with good fats, protein and vegetables.

Stop being surprised when you wake up and are hungry. It's going to keep happening. Juicing is not the answer.


Notes and Quick Tips

If you ARE going to occasionally go the juice/smoothie route and want to do so in the healthiest way possible, check out these notes and quick tips below:

There IS a Difference Between Juices and Smoothies:

The process of juicing removes the fiber from the fruit/vegetable, so all you're left with is the juice. Smoothies, on the other hand, consist of foods that have been blended whole, so the fiber remains intact. As a result, juices are typically less filling than smoothies and do not make an ideal replacement for meals.

Mistakes to Avoid when Making Juices:

Without the fiber to slow down the absorption of fructose, juices are more easily absorbed into the bloodstream which will cause a rapid spike in blood sugar. So avoid juicing too much fruit and stick to juicing mostly (or ideally all) vegetables to minimize this blood sugar spike. Excess glucose can contribute to insulin resistance, obesity, diabetes, and all sorts of health issues we want to avoid. If you want to sweeten your juice, 1/2 an apple or 1 carrot should do the trick.

Mistakes to Avoid when Making Smoothies:

Avoid blending too much fruit. Again, you don't want to flood your body with a ton of sugar.  If you want your smoothie to keep you satisfied for a longer period of time, add some healthy fat like coconut (coconut milk, coconut oil, shredded or flaked coconut), 1 tbsp chia seeds, or 1 tbsp nut butter.

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