Apr 10, 2013

To Juice or Not to Juice? (Part 2)

To Juice or Not to Juice? (Part 2)

So, last week we discussed the awesome benefits of drinking juice and why it’s not so cool to drink pasteurized, processed, or old juice.

Which brings us to our next question: should you do a juice cleanse? I mean, there’s lots of good stuff in fresh pressed juice, so what happens when you drink ONLY juice for a few days? 

Of course, the answer depends on your body, your activity level and when you drink the juice, as well as several other things (that we’ll get to next post).

Athletes & Thin Bodies Need Protein

I make a living through exercise and thus, my body is lean and muscular. With my physical demands and low body fat, drinking only juice is quite detrimental to my metabolism.

Athletic bodies that break a sweat daily need protein to repair, restore and build lean muscle mass. Without protein, the body will break down lean muscle mass to fuel itself, and because lean muscle stimulates metabolism, this can harm metabolic function (and body composition) in the long run!

For athletes and thin folks, I wouldn’t recommend a juice-only cleanse. A better fit would be a juice-till-dinner or juice-and-lean protein cleanse. The chefs at Juicebox and I are working together to build recipes to support juicing athletes—stay tuned!

Now, for friends who do less intense exercise, like walking or gentle yoga, or are mostly sedentary or overweight, an all juice cleanse could be beneficial. Juice cleansing has a catabolic effect on the body: it breaks things down. For those with excess weight, a juice cleanse may stimulate breakdown and detoxification of adipose tissue.

You Won’t Lose Weight (Sorry!)

Unfortunately, a juice cleanse isn’t a quick fix to losing weight. While juicing can restore your organs, recalibrate your palate for clean, whole foods and help eliminate depleting cravings, it is not a sustainable way to lose weight.

Here’s why: for sustainable weight loss, you need lean muscle mass. This means you need not only high intensity workouts, but you also need lean protein several times a day. Moreover, fat is an essential nutrient in burning fat. You simply can’t burn fat without eating healthy fats! 

The good news is that juice cleansing flushes your body with vitamins, minerals and enzymes that act as facilitators for weight loss and restoration. Think of juice as a tool your body uses to fix what’s broken, but the other two macronutrients—protein and fat—are the hands that hold the tool. 

Juice After Your Workout

High quality juicers provide vegetable-heavy juices, but when the juice is a bit on the sweeter side, due to starch or fruit, the best time to drink juice is immediately following a high-intensity workout.

After a good sweat and contracting your muscles, cells are insulin sensitive—they are ready to gobble up glucose from the carbohydrates in juice and use this energy to fuel and repair muscular tissue. Moreover, your blood sugar won’t spike and crash, even if the juice is sweet.  

Alright juicers, now you have a preview of how to approach a juice cleanse. Next week we’ll explore cleanse preparation, how often you should cleanse, and what happens in your body during a cleanse. Get pumped!