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Juicing Pros and Cons

Juicing is all the rage these days. When your favorite green drink can cost upwards of $7.00, juicing can be an enormous business opportunity and a potential drain on the wallet at the same time. So, when you down that $7.00 juice – or spend 30 minutes juicing your own concoction, is it worth it?

Fruit and vegetable intake has been proven to be an important component of a healthy diet that is associated with a decreased risk of numerous chronic diseases and metabolic syndromes. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, released by the USDA, places an increased emphasis on intake of fruits and vegetables, with fruits and vegetables comprising one half of the plate from the MyPlate dietary guide.

However, according to the State Indicator Report on Fruits and Vegetables released by the CDC in 2013, the American national median intake of fruits and vegetables is 1.1 and 1.6 times per day, respectively. Complementary to the previous statistics, nearly 37% of Americans reported consuming fruits less than one time daily and about 23% of Americans reported consuming vegetables less than one time daily (CDC, 2013). So, can juicing be an acceptable supplement or even replacement for whole fruit and vegetable intake?

In 2010, a study was carried out to determine if the incorporation of a vegetable juice could be a practical way for individuals to increase vegetable consumption, meet dietary recommendations for daily vegetable intake, and positively impact markers of cardiovascular health. (Shenoy et al., 2010).

Subjects were divided between three treatment groups assigned to drink 8 fluid ounces, 16 fluid ounces, or no vegetable juice per day. Despite being educated on the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, the subjects’ average daily intake of vegetables did not meet recommendations at any point during the study.

Aside from the juice, dietary intake of vegetables was similar among the three groups. However, the incorporation of vegetable juice significantly increased the total daily intake of vegetables to an average of 4.3 and 6.5 servings of vegetables in the 8 and 16 fluid ounce groups, respectively (Shenoy et al., 2010).

This increase in vegetable intake supports the concept that daily consumption of a vegetable juice is a feasible way to assist an individual in meeting his/her daily recommendation of vegetable intake. Although vegetable consumption was enhanced in those consuming the juice, no significant changes were observed in the study’s target vascular health parameters – including blood pressure, cholesterol, and other lipid profiles.

Obesity associated disease states like metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes are often associated with increased intakes of liquid calories. In 2013, Eshak et al. conducted a community-based, prospective cohort study with a large number of middle-aged Japanese men and women using a 44-item food frequency questionnaire.

The purpose of the study was to examine the association of the intake of soft drinks (cola, flavored juices, and non-100% fruit juices), 100% fruit juice and vegetable juices with the risk of type 2 diabetes.

During the 10-year follow-up, no associations were observed between 100% fruit or vegetable juices intakes and risk of type 2 diabetes in either men or women (Eshak et al., 2013). Additionally, the findings of this study indicate that the intake of non-100% fruit juices, but not 100% fruit juices, was associated with risk of type 2 diabetes, which is consistent with the findings from the Nurses’ Health Study II. In the Nurses’ Health Study II, fruit punch was associated with risk of type 2 diabetes, but not 100% fruit juice.

Similarly, the Black Women’s Health Study found that fruit drinks (80% sweetened and 20% unsweetened) were associated with risk of type 2 diabetes, but not 100% orange and grape juices. The authors propose that the natural sugars in the 100% fruit juices may have different metabolic effects than the high fructose corn syrup added to non 100% juices (Eshak et al., 2013).

Related to the differences noted between 100% fruit and vegetable juices and non-100% fruit and vegetable juices, there also seems to be various differences in whole fruits and vegetables versus processed fruits and vegetables.

In the past, studies have examined the effect that processing fruits and vegetables has on satiety and energy intake versus whole fruit and vegetable consumption (Flood-Obbagy & Rolls, 2009).

This study tested the effect on satiety and subsequent meal energy intake after consuming various forms of an apple matched for energy content, weight, energy density, and fiber content. The apple “pre-meals”, which included peeled apple segments, applesauce, and apple juices with and without added fiber, were consumed before subjects were fed the test meal.

Subjects were asked to rate their hunger and satiety after consuming the pre-meal ,the perceived calorie content ,and how filling they thought the pre-meal would be. Interestingly, meal intake was significantly different between experimental conditions.

Subjects consumed significantly less energy from the test meal after eating apple segments compared to the applesauce and both juice preloads (Flood-Obaggy & Rolls, 2009). All four pre-meal treatment groups ate significantly less energy during the test meal compared to the control group which consumed no pre-meal.

However, in the two juice treatment groups, total energy intakes at lunch did not differ significantly from each other (Flood-Obaggy & Rolls, 2009). Contrary to other studies proposing that the difference in energy intake was due to fiber content, the authors of this study concluded fiber content was most likely not the reason since the treatment groups were matched for fiber content.

To further reinforce this reasoning, the authors did not notice a significant difference in satiety between apple juice with and without fiber. They proposed, however, that different forms of fruit may have different effects on satiety due to intrinsic structural properties that affect volume and chewing.

Although their treatment groups were matched for energy content and weight, they believe the structure provided by intact cell walls makes whole apple larger in volume than applesauce and apple juice.

The processing of fruits and vegetables alters their structure and induces significant changes in chemical composition, nutritional value, and bioavailability of certain nutrients.

For example, fruit juices have a lower content of fiber than raw fruit due to processing and breaking down of cellular structures like fiber within the skin of fruits. Cooking vegetables creates a loss of water-soluble and heat-sensitive bioactive compounds (Griep et al, 2010).

However, processing can also increase availability of bioactive compounds, as evidenced by the effect of heat improving bioavailability of lycopene from tomatoes and carotenoids from carrots.

Processing can also initiate the conversion of certain bioactive compounds into more bioavailable forms, much like the effect of processing on the conversion of folate polyglutamate in vegetables into the more bioavailable monoglutamate (Griep et al, 2010).

A study examining the effects of vegetable juice processing on folate content revealed that there was no statistical difference of total folate in juiced vegetables and unprocessed vegetables (Wang, Riedl, and Schwartz, 2013).

Comparing the content of folate within the pulp and juice of various vegetables, they found that folate content of juices was as high as raw vegetables for nearly all the vegetables they tested.

Their study also showed that during juicing, folate polyglutamates in some vegetables were highly deglutamylated into the more bioavailable form of folate monoglutamate (Wang, Riedl, and Schwartz, 2013).

Although it is generally recommended to consume whole fruits and vegetables for vitamin and mineral intake, juicing and consuming juices has been considered as a viable supplement to dietary intake of whole fruits and vegetables.

With this intake of juices, it has helped adults consume an amount of fruits and vegetables closer to the amount recommended in dietary guidelines, and improved some health markers of cardiovascular health.

One study examined the difference in oxidative stress markers among healthy subjects with habitually low intake of fruits and vegetables (Khan et al, 2014).

Their study used the supplementation of a high and low blackcurrant juice, and a placebo to examine their effects on flow-mediated dilation and plasma concentrations of F2-isoprostanes (high levels indicate more oxidative stress) and vitamin C.

The groups of blackcurrant juice, a juice rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, had significantly increased flow-mediated dilation, plasma vitamin C concentrations, and lower concentrations of F2-isoprostanes than the placebo groups.

With the results, the authors concluded that consumption of a blackcurrant juice drink high in vitamin C and polyphenols for 6 weeks can decrease oxidative stress and improve endothelial function in a population that generally consumes a low intake of fruits and vegetables (Khan et al, 2014).

Similarly, another study conducted by George et al. had its subjects consume 400 ml of a fruit and vegetable puree-based drink (FVPD) after following a low-flavonoid diet for 5 days (George et al, 2013).

The study examined the effects of ingestion of the puree drink on vasodilation, antioxidant status, phytochemical bioavailability and other CVD risk factors compared to a fruit-flavored sugar-matched control.

The FVPD significantly increased plasma vitamin C and total nitrate/nitrite concentrations (George et al, 2013). Also during the 6 hours after juice consumption, the antioxidant capacity of plasma increased significantly and there was a simultaneous increase in plasma and urinary phenolic metabolites, along with significantly lower glucose and insulin peaks compared to the control (George et al, 2013).

The authors concluded that pureed fruit and vegetable products are useful vehicles for increasing micronutrient status and plasma antioxidant capacity.

Alongside growing interest in polyphenol supplementation among the general adult population, there is also increasing interest in the effects of polyphenols in the context of muscle function and performance recovery.

The rationale for this area of growing interest is that membrane lipids and proteins are damaged by oxidation reactions and the breakdown of myoglobin results in production of ferric acid.

Exercise-induced radical production is too high for endogenous scavenging mechanisms and muscle micro-damage also induces neutrophil oxidative burst (Myburgh, 2014). In a study done in 2011, the effect of pomegranate juice supplementation on strength and exercise after eccentric exercise was examined.

Using pomegranate juice supplementation and a placebo, the study found that elbow flexion strength was significantly higher during the 2- to 168-hour period postexercise with pomegranate juice compared to the placebo.

Elbow flexor muscle soreness was also significantly reduced with pomegranate juice compared with that of placebo and at 48 and 72 hours postexercise (Trombold et al, 2011). The results indicated a mild, acute ergogenic effect of pomegranate juice in the elbow flexor muscles of resistance trained individuals after eccentric exercise (Trombold et al, 2011).

Although intake of whole fruits and vegetables is recommended to meet dietary guidelines of fruits and vegetables, fruit and vegetable juice supplementation seems to a viable option to increase intake.

Juicing fruits and veggies may decrease the impact of certain nutrients and eliminate the fiber that our body needs for heart health, improved digestion and sustained energy, but overall, the vitamin, mineral, and phytonutrients found in 100% fruit and vegetable juice seems to be a beneficial “complement” and beneficial for the general population and athletes.

If you decide to try juicing to bolster your fruit and veggie intake, consider using a Vitamix ® so that you can use the whole fruit and maintain the benefits of the fiber and skin of many fruits and veggies.

Here are a few recipes to try!


  • 2 Full Medium Cucumbers
  • 2 Handfuls of Baby Carrots
  • 1 Medium Tomato
  • 1 Medium Red Bell Pepper

Healthy Sweet & Sour Beverage

  • 2 Medium Apples
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 slice of Fresh Ginger

Tart Berry

  • ½ Large Cucumber
  • 1 Cup Spinach
  • ½ Cup Strawberries
  • ½ Med Green Apple
  • ½ Large Orange
  • ¼ Cup Pomegranate

Super Berry

  • 1 Cup Kale
  • 1 Cup Spinach
  • ½ Cup Strawberries
  • ¾ Cup Berry Mix (raspberries, blackberries, blueberries)
  • ½ Cup Pitted Cherries


  • 1 Cup (total) Mango and/or Pineapple
  • ½ Large Orange
  • 1 Large Carrot
  • 3 Stalks Celery
  • ½ Lime
  • Coconut Water as desired to dilute

Ginger Pear

  • 1 Cup Spinach
  • 1 Cup Arugula or other green
  • ½ Medium Cucumber
  • 1 Medium Pear (cored)
  • ½ Large Orange
  • ½ inch piece of Ginger

Great Greens

  • 1 Cup Spinach
  • 1 Cup Kale
  • ½ cup green grapes
  • 1 Kiwi (peeled)
  • 3 Stalks Celery
  • Lime Juice as desired

Purple Power

  • 1 Cup Flowering Kale
  • ¾ Cup Blueberries
  • ½ Large Red Apple
  • ½ Medium Cucumber
  • 3 Stalks Celery
  • Lemon Juice As Desired to Finish

Raspberry Lime

  • 1 Cup Spinach
  • 1 Leaf Red Chard
  • ¾ Cup Raspberries
  • 1 Small Peach
  • ¼ Cup Pitted Peaches
  • ½ Lime (peeled)
  • 3 + Mint Leaves (to desired level of mint flavor)



Eshak, E. S., Iso, H., Mizoue, T., Inoue, M., Noda, M., & Tsugane, S. (2013). Soft drink, 100% fruit juice, and vegetable juice intakes and risk of diabetes mellitus. Clinical Nutrition, 32(2), 300-308.

Flood-Obbagy, J. E., & Rolls, B. J. (2009). The effect of fruit in different forms on energy intake and satiety at a meal. Appetite, 52(2), 416-422.

George, T. W., Waroonphan, S., Niwat, C., Gordon, M. H., & Lovegrove, J. A. (2013). Effects of acute consumption of a fruit and vegetable puree-based drink on vasodilation and oxidative status. British Journal of Nutrition, 109(08), 1442-1452.

Griep, L. M. O., Geleijnse, J. M., Kromhout, D., Ocké, M. C., & Verschuren, W. M. (2010). Raw and processed fruit and vegetable consumption and 10-year coronary heart disease incidence in a population-based cohort study in the Netherlands. PLoS One, 5(10), e13609.

Khan, F., Ray, S., Craigie, A. M., Kennedy, G., Hill, A., Barton, K. L., … & Belch, J. J. (2014). Lowering of oxidative stress improves endothelial function in healthy subjects with habitually low intake of fruit and vegetables: A randomized controlled trial of antioxidant-and polyphenol-rich blackcurrant juice. Free Radical Biology and Medicine, 72, 232-237.

Myburgh, K. H. (2014). Polyphenol supplementation: benefits for exercise performance or oxidative stress?. Sports Medicine, 44(1), 57-70.

Shenoy, S. F., Kazaks, A. G., Holt, R. R., Chen, H. J., Winters, B. L., Khoo, C. S., … & Keen, C. L. (2010). The use of a commercial vegetable juice as a practical means to increase vegetable intake: a randomized controlled trial.Nutrition Journal, 9(1), 38.

Trombold, J. R., Reinfeld, A. S., Casler, J. R., & Coyle, E. F. (2011). The effect of pomegranate juice supplementation on strength and soreness after eccentric exercise. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 25(7), 1782-1788.

Wang, C., Riedl, K. M., & Schwartz, S. J. (2013). Fate of folates during vegetable juice processing-Deglutamylation and interconversion. Food Research International, 53(1), 440-448.

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Do Detox Diets Really Work?

There is a popular belief that restricting what you eat for a period of time can rid your body of built-up toxins and help you lose weight. The appeal of this claim is hard to ignore – and it seems that advertisements for detox diets pop up everywhere, in magazines, health food stores, and online. While other diet fads have come and gone, detox diets remain popular. But do they really work?

The concept of dieting to detoxify your body can be traced to ancient Indian cultures. These days, there are plenty of detox diets from which to choose, from the one-day fast to the five-day juice diet to the three week detox program. The diets are all different, but they all focus on severe food restriction for a period of time.

The Case for the Detox Diet

Promoters of detox diets claim that the only way to rid the body of chemicals and toxins is through a detoxification diet. If these toxins aren’t removed, they claim, they can lead to health problems, and even cancer.

The most common type of detox diet allows the dieter to eat fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, but not meat, fish, eggs, dairy, wheat, sugar, caffeine or alcohol. There is also a juice diet, which only allows juiced vegetables and some fruits. Another option is fasting, during which a person consumes only water – although some diets allow herbal teas and fruit juices. Fasting is also commonly done for religious reasons – not just for health.

Proponents of detox diets believe following the diet will give the following benefits:

  • Fewer headaches
  • Improved complexion
  • Weight loss
  • Decreased bloating

These are actual benefits, and it’s really no mystery why these things occur. Since you are drinking more water and less caffeine and alcohol, you may have fewer headaches. Since you’re becoming better hydrated and getting more nutrients from fruits and vegetables, your complexion may improve. And because you’re consuming fewer calories and less salt, you will likely see weight loss and decreased bloating.

Scientific Evidence Lacking

Very little research has been done on the various detox diets available, therefore there is no scientific support for or against any of the diet’s claims. Those who attempt to make cases for or against the diet method rely on what is known about the functioning of the human body as well as toxicology.

We do know that certain components of detox diets are very healthy, such as:

  • Focusing on fruits and vegetables. Everyone knows fruits and vegetables are healthy choices. The most recent dietary guidelines have raised the recommended daily servings for these foods. Fruits and vegetables are low in calories and are full of vitamins, fiber and antioxidants.
  • Reducing calorie intake. When food groups such as meat and dairy are eliminated from a person’s diet, calorie intake will be lowered. Since most Americans consume too many calories, reducing calorie intake will likely lead to gradual weight loss. Many of these diets, however, reduce calories too much, which can lead to muscle loss and put the body in starvation mode, leading to a slower metabolism.

The Body’s Way of Detoxifying

Our bodies filter out toxins on their own on an ongoing basis. The liver, lungs, kidneys and skin all work to detoxify our bodies. When nutrients and other substances enter our bodies, their first stop is the liver, which filters out and eliminates harmful toxins. The kidneys also filter out waste by creating urine. The skin allows us to sweat out toxins, and the lungs help us filter the air we breathe.

Our bodies are about 70 percent water, so it makes sense that staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water will help us stay healthy. But to date, there is not scientific evidence to support the idea that drinking water flushes out toxins.

Safety Concerns

The benefits of detox diets are questionable. If you decide to go on one, be sure to talk to your doctor first. Certain people should never use a detox diet, including children, pregnant women, and diabetics. Also, vigorous exercise should be avoided during these diets since calorie intake is severely limited.

The Bottom Line

Those who are considering a detox diet should be careful. There is little research available to support their claims. Instead of short-term detox diets, healthy long-term changes would be more beneficial. Eat a more plant-based diet, drink more water, and cut back on your caffeine and alcohol intake.


American Dietetic Association

Nutrition –

The Nutrition Source

Harvard School of Public Health

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Healthy Diets are Better for Weight Loss than Exercise

Exercise on its own will not help you drop pounds if you continue eating an unhealthy diet.

An Australian review of 43 weight loss studies dating as far back as 1985 has proven this.

“Exercise by itself is not going to be an effective weight-loss strategy for an individual. You really need to combine exercise with better nutrition,” said review lead author Dr. Kelly Shaw, a public health doctor with the Department of Health and Human Services in Tasmania.

Dr. Shaw further concluded that following a healthy diet actually does more to help weight loss than exercise.

“You need to look at your nutrition intake because there’s a bigger bang for your buck from modifying nutrition than there is with physical activity,” she tells those who want to lose weight.

Her review is published in The Cochrane Library journal.

It seems apparent that diet has more of an impact on weight loss than exercise in the short term, according to John Jakicic, chair of the Department of Health and Physical Activity at the University of Pittsburgh School of Education. Jakicic was not involved in the review.

“Within 6 months, with diet alone, we can get about a 9 or 10 kilogram weight loss, which is over 20 pounds, versus with activity, we get about a 2 kilogram weight loss in that same period of time,” Jakicic said.

But exercise should not be ignored. While diet is important in the early stages of weight loss, “exercise seems to be one of those key factors for keeping the weight off when you lose it,” Jakicic said.

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Effectiveness of Internet-Based Weight Loss Services

These days, there are many online weight loss programs in addition to traditional weight loss programs, such as Weight Watchers. But do they work, and how do they compare to traditional weight loss services?

The Appeal of Online Dieting

Online weight loss programs can easily be accessed from the comfort of your home, making them very convenient. Dieters can also be anonymous on the Internet, which is a big plus since research shows that many adults prefer to lose weight without having to participated in a face-to-face program. Additionally, many of the online diet programs offer helpful tools, such as the ability to track your progress, online food journals, and grocery list apps for smart phones. All these things could help motivate a dieter to stick with their program.

How Effective Are These Services?

Internet-based weight loss programs are fairly new, but so far, they’ve received extremely positive reviews. They have been proven to work, and, in some cases, they’ve been shown to be as effective as in-person interventions.

A study found in Preventive Medicine looked at the effectiveness of behavioral weight loss programs delivered via the Internet, in person, and both online and in person. After six months, the in person group experienced the highest percentage of people reaching a 7% weight loss (56.3%). The Internet group saw 37.3% of its members reach 7% weight loss, and the combination group has 44.4% of its members reach 7% weight loss. The percentage of participants who reached a 5% weight loss, however, didn’t differ among the groups. Researchers determined that Internet-based interventions are effective alternatives to in-person treatment. They also determined that the addition of occasional in-person counseling sessions didn’t improve the outcomes.

Weight Loss

The effectiveness of Internet-based weight loss programs has been studied since they began to appear in the late 1990s. A Journal of the American Medical Association study compared the use of an Internet behavior therapy weight loss program with the use of a website which provides weight loss education. Participants in the behavior therapy group were e-mailed 24 weekly behavioral lessons and had access to an online bulletin board. They also wrote self-monitoring diaries weekly, and received individualized feedback concerning what they wrote. Participants in the behavior therapy group dropped more pounds than those who were provided with online access to weight loss information. The study seems to prove that Internet courses are a good method for delivering weight loss behavior therapy.

Another study by the same group of researchers compared a basic Internet dieting program with a program which also offered e-mailed behavioral counseling. Individuals in the counseling group submitted calorie and exercise information via email and received weekly behavioral counseling and feedback from a counselor. The study, also published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that participants in the online counseling group lost more weight on average than the group which didn’t receive counseling.

Weight Maintenance

The long-term effects of Internet-based programs on weight loss maintenance have yet to be seen. But most research indicates that Internet-based weight loss services are beneficial. A group of 255 overweight and obese males participated in a six-month behavioral weight control program online. After the six-month period, the participants were divided into groups – frequent in-person support, minimal in-person support, or Internet support – for a 12-month weight maintenance phase. Participants in the Internet-based program lost approximately the same amount of weight in the 18-month period as the individuals who met with counselors. The study, published in Obesity Research, also suggests that the Internet is a viable method for promoting weight maintenance.

Choosing an Online Weight Loss Service

You may want to give online dieting a try, but you may not be sure how to choose the right program. Before you jump into a program, make sure the following criteria are met:

1) The program should be designed and operated by qualified health professionals with experience in weight loss counseling. At least one of these professionals should be a registered dietitian (RD).

2) Be cautious of services that:

– Try to sell you extras, such as special foods, vitamins, or supplements.
– Advertise quick weight loss. A healthy diet results in steady weight loss – no more than two pounds a week.
– Promote fad or very restrictive diets.
– Offer a one-size-fits-all diet. Diets should be individually tailored based on weight, height, age, goals, activity level, and medical history.

3) The program should offer a variety of diet plans from which to choose (low-fat, vegetarian), as well as flexibility within the plans.

4) The website should have a professional appearance, be easy to navigate, and offer supporting tools such as progress trackers, chat forums, and bulletin boards.

5) Before making a final decision, talk to your doctor. Ask if you have any dietary restrictions due to your health. An Internet-based service will likely not be able to offer that kind of advice.

Is Online Dieting For You?

Online diets are popular because they are private and convenient. If you use the Internet regularly, you may find that an online program suits you best, rather than following a traditional program or reading a self-help book. Remember that, whether you choose an online diet or a traditional weight loss program, it’s up to you to make weight loss happen.


American Dietetics Association

American Obesity Association


Health Canada

Public Health Agency of Canada