The Dangers of Juicing

Many people complain that they don’t have time to eat well.  Queue, juicing.  Juicing helps people get lots of fruit and veggie nutrients all at once, with little to no effort – perfect for the soccer mom or corporate warrior who lacks time. 

Especially if people are buying the expensive, raw juices the media, celebs and diet books have generally deemed this activity both healthy and energizing.  Raw juice companies claim that pressed juicing delivers up to four times the nutrients of other juices.  This is one of the reasons many people use juicing as a way to detox.   But they may not be all they are cracked up to be.

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Unlike what has been popularized, these juice cleanses are not risk free.  What people are trying to lose is water weight, but that isn’t all you are losing.   Because a lot of juice cleanse regiments don’t include enough protein to sustain you throughout the day, you can lose muscle mass as well.  Why is this harmful? Because everyone needs a certain amount of protein in their diet in order to maintain lean muscle mass.  If you aren’t getting this minimum amount, then your body will start breaking down the muscle you already have.  Aside from the physical effects, protein is also an integral part of body functions like maintaining the nervous system and red blood cell production.  Not being able to maintain your lean muscle mass can slow down your metabolism, which is actually the opposite of what people juicing are trying to do.  Some other dangers of juicing are nutrient deficiencies, long-term weight gain, and weakened immune system, heart, and kidney problems. 

According to nutritionists, juice itself can't replace a balanced diet of whole foods.  While juicing may be ok within a balanced diet, by juicing you are leaving behind the most healthful part of the plant – the fiber.  It is better to get plant foods in their whole form because of high fiber content, nutrients and phytochemicals, which juicing diminishes.  As far as detox, it’s not all that necessary.  Your body's organs and systems clean themselves, without the help of a juice cleanse.  So there’s really no need to detox because our body does it on its own.

Although there are many potential dangers of juicing, and liquid diets have become a bit of a trend – there can still be good that comes from adding fresh juice to your diet.  If you are looking to juice, it is better to view juice as a “sometimes” food, rather than an “always” food.  People need to make sure they are still getting the protein and fiber to help their body function throughout the day.  This way it can be a part of a healthy, balanced diet rather than a risk to your health.  Remember, these benefits come from the real thing, not processed, sugary concentrates.  According to various studies, here are some benefits of fresh juices:

·         Beet Juice to lower blood pressure

o   naturally contains nitrate, which is responsible for relaxing and widening blood vessel walls — thereby assisting blood flow

·         Tomato Juice to reduce inflammation

o   lycopene in tomato juice can lessen the production of a particular inflammatory mediator by 34%

·         Pomegranate Juice to increase antioxidants

o   antioxidant activity three times higher than green tea and red wine

·         Turmeric and fennel  to banish bloating

o   may deflate distended stomachs

·         Cherry juice to sleep soundly

o   Increases melatonin, promotes longer sleep