Steer clear of traps and heal your body through juicing

July 02, 2015


Fit people don't have it easy. Choosing a salad over a fries doesn't come effortlessly, nor does sneaking in a run (not to mention HIIT sessions, Barre or Soul Cycle classes) in between toddler naps, work projects and household chores. But these are not deal-breakers in their relationship with a healthy lifestyle. Portion control is.

I, for example, could easily polish by myself an entire bowl of guacamole; with corn chips, of course. Avocado is, after all, a super-food chock-full of mono saturated aka good fats, while corn contains an array of vitamins, such as C and B5. What's the harm, right? The short answer: too many calories. Another healthy food I tend to overdo is kale. And why should I pace myself when this bitter green is low-cal, low-carb, fat-free and sugar-free.

But after one too many kale chips, my tummy feels like a washing machine about to explode.



Moderation is a learning curve, yet it is particularly hard to practice when it comes to natural, fresh-squeezed juices. Magazines offer an encyclopedia of tips on how to keep your food portions in check: don't cook big batches; when at restaurant, ask for a brown baggie and immediately pack half of your meal; drink a glass of water before picking up the fork; use your palm, fist and thumb as a guideline.

For the consumption of natural juices though, instructions are scarce and vague. No wonder people have blindly jumped, in recent years, on the juice detox bandwagon, allured with promises of "weight-loss", "total-body cleanse" and "skin regeneration". These detoxes, lasting anything between 10 and 60 days, prompted its adherents to eat little to no solid foods and, instead, to gulp down glass after glass of liquefied fresh produce.



Some lost weight but only because their bodies were being starved of valuable nutrients. For most "juice junkies", the results were devastating: cavities, digestive issues, lack of energy etc.

Don't take my work for it, listen to what the experts have to say.

  1. For starters, natural juices have plenty of calories that can quickly add up without you noticing. "A cup of pineapple, for instance, is about 83 calories, but a cup of pineapple juice is 120 calories. An 8-ounce glass of orange juice may contain as many as four medium oranges," says says Gayl Canfield, director of nutrition for Pritkin Longevity Center.
  2. Depending how much fruit you are cramming into the juicer, your juice can also pack a substantial amount of sugar (you saw it coming!), which later translates in bad breath and rotten teeth. "When they make their way into your mouth, there is no difference between the sugars from fruit and the sugars from chocolate or sweets. Small problems mount up on each tooth, leading to cavities and larger dental issues," says Dr. Sameer Patel, Clinical Director at London-based dental practice.
  3. In excess, raw juices upset your digestive system. According to  nutritionist Scott Laidler, if you're making more trips to the bathroom than usual, it's because of the acids in fruits and veggies, which irritate the stomach.
  4. Do you really think that human bodies are smart enough to bring life into this world, run marathons, survive natural hazard and do many other spectacular things, but lack the power to clean themselves from inside out? Me neither. "The body has its own amazing detoxification systems: the liver and the kidneys. Unless there's a blockage in one of these organs that do it day and night, there's absolutely no need to help the body get rid of toxins," says Ranit Mishori, a faculty member in family medicine at the Georgetown University School of Medicine.

On the other hand, juicing was shown to improve brain health, skin appearance, slowdown aging and help people hit their daily vegetable intake.

So how can you benefit from this amazing health tool without crossing the line?

Here's an easy guide to juice smartly:

- Try to limit your servings to 8-12 oz. of liquid a day.

- Don't forget to chew on whole fruit and vegetables, as they contain fibers, which keep your blood sugar stable and help with satiety.

- Pair that glass of juice with healthy fats and protein, otherwise you'll find yourself ravenous in a couple of hours. Some suggestions: nut butters, seeds or Greek yogurt.

Thirsty for more tips on juicing? Nutritionist Elaine Briseboins has come up with three more awesome ideas.


Andreea Ciulac

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