Guest Blog: Why You Shouldn’t Juice

August 18, 2014

Happy Monday, All   (Yes, happy! It’s sunny, not too hot, and still summer!) Hope you all are enjoying some great outdoor physical activity in these amazingly beautiful days of August.

We have a “guest” today.  One of our wonderful dietitians, Anna Polucha, has taken some time to offer some dietary tips.  Please send your feedback: if you enjoy having the dietitians chime into our weekly blogs, we will continue to do so periodically!

Have a GREAT week!

Keep Moving, Be Well!


Why You Shouldn’t Juice (If You’re Trying to Lose Weight)

Anna Polucha, MS, RD, LDN, UMass Memorial Weight Center

Ah, juicing. So many people are juicing these days.  But is it the healthy alternative to eating fruits and vegetables that we think it is?

You may pour yourself a tall glass of V8 Fusion and think, “I’m getting 8 servings of fruits and vegetables all in one glass!”

Have you ever heard that expression, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is”? This is how I feel about drinking juice when you’re trying to lose weight.

I’m going to say something crazy here. I bet you’re not going to like it, but hear me out. Drinking juice (either homemade with your $1,000 juicer or bought in the store) allows you to get in too many fruits and vegetables at one time.

You might be thinking, “What dietitian believes that there is such a thing as too many fruits and vegetables??

This one does.

Have you ever seen that orange juice commercial where 24 Florida oranges jump into an orange juice bottle? It’s cute. (Here’s a link if you haven’t seen it.)

So if you do the math, which I did because I’m funny like that, each 12-ounce serving of orange juice has 3.25 oranges in it. It would probably take you 10 minutes, tops, to drink 12 ounces of orange juice. You could probably even do it a lot faster if you tried.

But now imagine sitting down to eat 3.25 oranges. You’d have to peel them, chew them, swallow them and digest them. It would take you a lot more than 10 minutes, and I’d bet you’d feel really, really full (all that fiber!).

“But!” you interject, “I make my own vegetable/fruit juice blend. It’s mostly vegetables. I can drink a whole cucumber in one sitting! It’s magic!”

So let’s say you make a glass of juice that consists of a bunch of kale, a half a cup of sliced beets, a banana, half an apple and a cucumber. I just made this recipe up, but it sounds decent, right? Total calories: 216. Not bad for breakfast.

But wait! Where are those calories coming from? Just like the orange juice, your fruit/vegetable juice has a lot of sugar, almost 30 grams, in fact. There’s no protein or fat. There’s no fiber (because you left that behind in your juicer). There’s nothing in that juice to keep it from being instantly absorbed into your body, giving you a fabulous and immediate boost of energy and a spectacular crash in approximately an hour.

On the other hand, can you imagine sitting down to eat a bunch of kale, a half a cup of sliced beets, a banana, half an apple and a cucumber? You’d be sitting at your breakfast table until noontime.

I think that when it comes to weight loss, drinking juice can be a slippery slope to consuming too many calories. You’re probably better off enjoying the actual produce (maybe with a protein source for some extra satiety!).

That being said, I’m not a huge fan of an “all or nothing” mentality, so if you’d like to drink juice as part of a healthy diet geared towards weight loss, here are some suggestions:

  • Use mostly vegetables and small amounts of fruit for natural sweetness
  • Tally up the calories in your concoction and make sure you stay within your daily limit
  • Consider adding protein powder for extra staying power and a more well-balanced meal.

Thanks for letting me share your blog!


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Filed under Ideas, Nutrition, Weight Loss

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