Should you juice it or eat it?

  • Should you juice it or eat it?

    BY Catherine Sissons | ON Wednesday, 2 December 2015
  • Juicing or making smoothies is a great way of getting a whole bunch of nutrients into your body in one go.  However, if you are doing it to help you lose weight, there are a few things to take into account first.

    Juicing is helpful for people that have a small appetite or have a busy lifestyle with little time to eat or prepare full meals.  It provides a stop gap for nourishment that you would normally get through your meals, however, juicing alone is not a sensible way to lose weight permanently.

    To lose weight permanently, you need to feel satisfied mentally, physically and emotionally and although juicing can complement a healthy eating regime, following a detox or juicing programme is not ideal for the body for long term weight loss results.

    The ingredients you put into your juice will determine how satisfied you are throughout the day.  The keys to being satisfied are flavour, fibre, water content, carbohydrate and protein.  If your juices or smoothies include these components, then you will feel full from drinking them similar to eating a meal.

    Juicing is a process so when you use any machine that breaks down the structure of the food, you are processing the food. This means your body is going to absorb it quicker and it can cause a spike in your blood sugars.  When your blood sugars spike and trough throughout the day, you can feel less in control of your appetite and often feel like your willpower is not strong enough to resist foods like chocolate and other sweet foods.

    One serving of juice can provide 3-4 servings of concentrated sugar.  When you eat your produce, the body is required to break down the cells to access the sugar so it takes longer to enter your blood stream.  Drinking 125mls of juice is the equivalent of eating four oranges without the fibre.  All produce is not created equal and the affect that sugar has on your blood stream from the fruit will depend on how much and the type of fibre that the produce contains.

    In some cases, it is important for the structure of the food to be broken down so it absorbs better.  An example of this is when the body can't digest foods as well and this might be because of a inflammation in the digestive system.  Juicing and smoothies (with the right ingredients) can help heal and repair the gut lining so the metabolism can improve once again.

    Juices bought in boxes or that have long use by dates and don't require being stored in the fridge are often made from fruit concentrate or have additives and preservatives in them.  These are not as healthy as making your own or buying juices or smoothies fresh from a juice bar.  Always check the back of the container for the sugar content, remembering that one teaspoon of sugar is about 5g.  Check how many teaspoons you are getting per 100mls and ask yourself would you add that sugar to your coffee or tea?  Probably not.

    If you think that juices are a good way to get vitamin C, again, check the label on the back. If it has more than 30mg per 100mls, then it will be giving you some benefit. 

    Juices are a good option to have when you are feeling run down or sick and want to boost your nutrients but you might have lost your appetite.  Do be aware though that juicing alone can often increase your appetite if you are trying to lose weight.  This can be counterproductive unless the ingredients are balanced to help you lose weight.

    Juicing and smoothies can be included as part of a balanced healthy eating regime.  It is important to know what your body requires for the lifestyle you have because some lifestyles will require extra nourishment.  


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