Some people swear by juicing, but does it really work? And does the weight that's lost really stay off? Well, it's complicated. First, let's take a look at the stars of a juice cleanse: Fruits and vegetables.
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Not only are fruits and veggies packed with nutrition, but eating them can help with weight loss. One way they accomplish this is their high fiber content. Fiber fills you up and keeps you from returning to the pantry for less healthy snacks. Fruits and veggies are also relatively low in calories, so you can eat a large volume of them (and fill up!) without "overspending" your calorie budget. Furthermore, a study out of Harvard found that people who regularly eat fruits and vegetables gain less weight over time.
So, that begs the question: Will drinking produce offer the same benefits? After all, juicing is a trend that promises a plethora of health benefits, from weight loss to increased immunity to quelling inflammation.
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One positive in the pro column is that juicing adds nutritients to your diet, including vitamins A, C, E, and even iron. So if you're faced with the option of no fruits and vegetables in your diet or having a serving of juice, juice is a worthy addition. That said, be wary of prepackaged juices. Many deliver added sugars (aka empty calories), and vegetable juices can be high in sodium. Another drawback: The oh-so-valuable fiber is lost during the juicing process, so you don't get to reap those benefits.
Another positive about juicing? There is some research that shows it may help with weight loss. In one small clinical trial, healthy adults followed a three day "juice cleanse," or juice-only diet, drinking six daily bottles of a mixture of greens, roots, citrus, lemon, cayenne, vanilla, and almond. After three days, they lost, on average, just under 4 pounds—and had kept it off by their two-week followup appointment.
And yet another study found that drinking vegetable juice in combination with a healthy diet helped people lose slightly more weight than study participants who didn't drink juice at all.
So, is a juice cleanse worth it?
It is possible to lose weight by juicing. And because so many Americans fall short on their daily recommended dose of fruits and veggies (and miss out on lots of valuable nutrients as a result), juicing is certainly one way to boost your produce intake. But long term? You should still eat—and not just drink—your food.
If you'd prefer to get your nutrients the old-fashioned way (from solid food), sign up for the Cooking Light Diet, our customizable meal plan, today! Subscribe or learn more at cookinglightdiet.com.
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