You’ve heard the buzz. Juicing is swiftly becoming America’s new health sensation. Yet, all this media attention begs the BIG question “is juicing healthy?”

Proponents of juicing tout its ability to improve longevity, reverse diseases, increase stamina, promote weight loss, and even help improve cosmetic conditions like grey hair.

Some of these over-the-top health claims are hyped-up marketing to convince you that you need to spend $10 on a glass of squeezed kale juice to feel amazing. Hype is a part of all major health fads.

That said, many of these juicing benefits are based on truth.

Juicing can enhance your health – when you do it the right way. So when asking: “is juicing healthy?” We need to realize that there is both a RIGHT way and WRONG way to juice.

If you make any of the 4 big juicing mistakes we're about to cover in this article, your so-called “healthy juice” may actually be a sugary monster silently making you fatter and sicker.

Let’s take a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly so that you will understand how to avoid the most dangerous juicing mistakes, while maximizing the benefits of this potentially amazing health habit.

Good #1: Focus on raw, organic, green veggies

juicing green beans healthy juicingMother Nature makes one overarching distinction: green things usually have the highest nutrient density.

All green vegetables are packed with plentiful vitamins, micronutrients, and abundant minerals — making them some of the most nutritious foods on the planet.

So, how do we use this information to our advantage?

Include one powerful green in every juice — whether in the form of kale, spinach, cucumber, or celery. Green veggies should be the basis of your juice.

Good #2: Start “spiking” your juice.

Yes, spiking your juice is a great idea—but save the Grey Goose for the evening. I am talking about adding in the 3 most powerful superfood additives to your juice to amplify its health benefits. In no particular order, I recommend:

  • Chia seeds (add 2 tbsp)
  • Goji berries (add 1/8 cup)
  • Virgin coconut oil (add 2 tsp)

Juice doesn’t have to taste bland if you know about the right enhancement ingredients. Try including some of the three super-additives discussed above after you have made your drink. Your health and energy will thank you for it!

BAD #1: Go easy with the fruit juices!

lemon and lime is  juicing healthyWhen starting a juicing habit, it’s tempting to toss too many fruits into the concoction for more sweetness. Let’s face it: most people prefer the taste of pineapple over kale; however, for those who are apt to use too many fruits, I have the following words of caution for you…

Although most fruit contains healthy vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients, fruit also contains a considerable amount of sugar.

Although fruit sugar is “naturally” occurring, it's still sugar.

Read that again. Fruit sugar is still sugar.

Even though the 25g of sugar in your juice came from pineapple, after your Gastrointestinal Tract digests the fruit, the resulting sugar will act in your body through the same metabolic pathways as sugar found in a candy bar.

The end result? Too many fruit sugars will spike your blood sugar levels, increase insulin secretion, and consequently promote fat storage and fluctuating energy.

If you are like me, weight gain and lower energy are the exact opposite effects you want from your juice.

Many fruit lovers are often offended when I discuss the health-harming effects of too much natural sugar. To reiterate and clear the air: I love fruits, and I enjoy fruit regularly in the proper portions (usually the whole intact fruit with the fiber).

That said, if you are interested in optimal health and weight management, it is critical that you be mindful of the TOTAL AMOUNT of sugars you ingest — regardless of whether or not it derives from natural sources.

 The base of every good juice should be a VEGETABLE.  I personally prefer kale, rainbow chard, cucumbers, celery, carrots, and spinach. Fruits are your juicing additives. Use them much more sparingly. Here are a few tricks I have learned along the way.

  • A little bit of lemon/lime goes a long way in terms of enhancing your juice's flavor. Plus these additives have health benefits themselves.
  • One small apple can also work wonders for making a juice sweet & healthy. Make sure to remove the apple seeds before juicing, as they contain naturally occurring cyanide.
  • One grapefruit can add a ton of flavor, while enhancing the juice's weight loss benefits.

BAD #2: Not using high quality organic produce

organic buying guide is juicing healthyIt’s safe to assume most people juice for better health — not to introduce toxins into their bodies in the most efficient manner possible. Quality produce that is not contaminated with pesticides is an important juicing consideration.

To make things easy for you, I put together guide handout that lists the fruits and vegetables that you should always buy organic, as well as those that are safe to buy non-organic.

Download the pesticide food guide here. Print it out, and take it with you next time you grocery shop. Also, for a reference article on the pesticide-cancer link, check out this research review article.

The Ugly #1: Relying solely on juice can dramatically slow your metabolism when done in excess.

The human body is an energetic machine that relies on calories for fuel. When you eat too few calories, your metabolism SLOWS DOWN.

Now, the right kind of juice that we've been talking about (veggie based, with great additives, and a little bit of fruit) is packed with vitamins and minerals. But these great juices do not have very many calories.

There is an abundance of research that shows that very low-calorie intakes (i.e. exclusively juice fasting) for an extended period of time (longer than 72 hours) starts to slow the body’s metabolism. That is precisely why so many people experience weight loss plateaus during juice fasts.

The weight you'd lose on a juice fast in the first few days is almost exclusively a combination of water loss, bowel movements, and muscle glycogen depletion.

Juice fasting can help “cleansing” the body, but please understand that juicing for the purposes of weight loss is a faulty approach that will only lead to rebound weight gain (and no establishment of sustainable, healthy habits to keep you on track long-term).

Juicing is also known to change your body's pH level, which can have a variety of benefits.

Use juice as a healthy additive to a comprehensive weight loss program, not as an exclusive weight loss approach. Juicing should be used as a chance to replenish your body with an amazing blend of vitamins and nutrients — not as a “catch-all” meal solution.

The Ugly #2: Using too much raw cabbage, broccoli, kale, and bok choy.

leafy vegetable greens is juicing healthyWhat, less kale?! Yes. Maybe a bit less kale.

Most people don't know that cabbage, broccoli, kale, and bok choy belong to a subset of vegetables called “goitrogens,” which contain substances that actually prevent the thyroid from absorbing iodine — a mineral necessary for the production of active thyroid hormones.

Put plainly: if you block iodine uptake through eating too many goitrogens, you block thyroid hormone production. Low thyroid hormone leads to weight gain, low body temperature, hair loss, digestive issues, and depression.

Is your kale juice going to destroy your metabolism overnight? Absolutely not. However, goitrogens are something to think about – especially if you have any pre-existing thyroid condition (or are taking thyroid medication).

If you want to be super-fancy, lightly cooking vegetables deactivates the goitrogens. So instead of always juicing kale, consider lightly sautéing it a few times per week. The added fiber from the whole kale leaf is awesome too.

So, to answer our initial question: Is Juicing Healthy?

vegetables at market is juicing healthyIt certainly can be – when you follow the guidelines in this article. And to get you started on the right track, I suggest that you try one of my personal favorite recipes below.

You can use these recipes verbatim, or get creative and make your own. If you follow the guidelines in this article, there is no way to go wrong. Juice up my friend!

“The Green Monster:”

  • 2 big leaves of kale
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 green apple
  • 1 cucumber
  • ½ small lime

“The Detoxifier:”

  • 2 carrots
  • 1 inch piece of ginger
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 1 green apple
  • 1 grapefruit

Optional: add 1 bunch of Italian Parsley and/or Cilantro

“Everything But…The Kitchen Sink:”

  • 1 apple
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 big leaves of Kale
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 grapefruit
  • Squeezed lime (into finished juice)
  • 1 inch piece of ginger

Did you find this article informative? Eye-opening? Awesome! Please share the truth about juicing!

You may also enjoy the Top 4 Favorite Recipes For Healthy Holiday Cocktails

Also, what are your favorite juicing recipes? Post them in the comments below! I'm always looking for new great recipes.

Your new friend & health coach,

headshot-400Dr. Anthony Balduzzi
Founder, The Fit Father Project
Brotherhood Nickname: “Mr. Results”
Bragging Rights: Has helped over 35,000 fathers lose fat, build muscle, & get healthy for their families
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Small note about research cited in this article:
*Always remember: weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual. Just because these studies cite certain data does not mean you will experience these results/outcomes. Always consult with your doctor before making decisions about your health. This is not medical advice – simply well-researched information. Thanks for reading!