Paleo 101 Guide
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6 Hidden Dangers of Juicing

Jeremy Hendon | August 7

Juicing is all the rage, and it can be an excellent way to get a few more veggies into your day.

However, along with the gain in popularity comes a few risks. If you’re juicing – particularly if you’re buying juices from stores – be particularly careful about these 6 risks:
6 Hidden Dangers of Juicing

1. Juices You Buy in the Store are Almost Always Pasteurized. If you’re doing all of your juicing at home with fresh vegetables, then this probably doesn’t apply to you. Pretty much any juice that you buy, however, has been pasteurized.

What this means is the juice was subjected to very high heat in order to preserve it for longer. Unfortunately, the same high heat that preserves the juice also destroys pretty much all of the vitamins and minerals in the juice, along with all of the natural enzymes that would normally help you digest the juice.

Don’t buy juice unless you know it hasn’t been pasteurized, which means that it needs to be extremely fresh.

2. Beware of High Sugar Content. Let’s be honest here. Fruit juices are really nothing more than sugar water. You’re missing the fiber and many of the vitamins and minerals that are found in whole fruits, which means that you’re getting all of the sugar without any of the nutrients. If your juices consist mostly of fruits, then you might as well be drinking soda (although that’s not to say you should drink soda!).
juice fast, paleo juicing, smoothies

On the other hand, vegetables tend to be much lower in sugar. But you still need to be careful. Vegetables like carrots and beets are fairly high in sugar, and juicing these vegetables is only marginally better than drinking apple juice.

If you’re going to juice, stick only to vegetables (and mostly to green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, chard, or broccoli).

3. Fiber is good for you. The primary effect of juicing is to remove most of the fiber from a vegetable or fruit. Unfortunately, that fiber is very important.

Fiber from vegetables and fruits helps to keep you full, which you probably know already. What you might not know is that the fibrous part of the vegetable also contains polyphenols, which act as anti-oxidants.

Juicing typically removes both the fiber and the polyphenols.

4. You Still Need Fat and Protein. This is not a knock on juicing, unless you’re using it to replace meals. Vegetables are high in some nutrients, but you still need to eat sufficient fat and protein, as well as the vitamins and minerals that are usually found with fat and protein.

Protein is important because it’s the building block of most of the tissue in your body, and fats are essential for a variety of reasons. In particular, you can’t adequately absorb vitamins like A, D, or K unless you’re getting sufficient fats.

The point is that juicing should be something you do as a supplement and not as a meal replacement.

5. Beware of Additives like Soy Lecithin. If you’re making your own juices from fresh green vegetables, then there is no need to worry about this.

If you’re buying juices from a store or service, though, you’ll want to be extra careful about what else goes into those juices. In particular, watch out for “emulsifiers” or thickeners like soy lecithin and guar gum.

6. You May Be Missing a Lot of Nutrients. Depending on how you’re juicing, it’s likely that you’re not getting most of the nutrients that are found in fruits and vegetables. After all, a great many of the nutrients are located in the skins of fruits and vegetables, and the skins often don’t make it into the juice.

The skin is usually associated with fiber, carotenoids, and flavonoids, all of which are important nutrients.

Should You Stop Juicing?

Juicing has a place and time. If it’s the best way for you to add more vegetables to your diet, then go for it.

It’s still always better just to eat fresh or frozen vegetables, but juicing can be a good alternative.

However, make sure you avoid the risks above, and you’ll be much better off for your efforts.

Images (in order):Hoàng Long – Bé T?p Ch?p Cho?t and madlyinlovewithlife.

Note changes: Apologies for posting that wheatgrass contains gluten. This was an error I made before I realized that wheatgrass actually doesn’t contain gluten despite its name. Please see my other post, Is Wheat Grass Paleo, for more information. Thanks to everyone for pointing out this error.

Debbie Barlow - July 10

I am presently doing the REBOOT WITH JOE juice cleanse. After seeing the movie FAT, SICK, AND NEARLY DEAD, I was very inspired. Am on day 5 of who knows how many days. 6 pounds down. It surprisingly has not been difficult to do so far My husband had a terrible detox day yesterday. He wanted to nap all day. I may have some coming up???

I love paleo, but was not budging very much on the weight loss front. I still plan to go back to paleo, will try to juice once a day in the morning, eat a big salad at lunch, and will then have a veggie and protein at night with lots of fat. I will try to skip dairy, and coffee in the future.

I start the day with hot water and half a lemon juiced to dissolve any mucus. I half do juices, and half do smoothies for more fiber. In one drink a day I add pea protein powder, and in another drink I add MCT oil for fat. I also drink one 8oz of coconut water for electrolytes a day. I try to concentrate on veggie drinks most. So far so good. I have 25 pounds to go. My total a day is 7 to 8 / 8oz of juices, and 6 / 8oz of water, and a herb tea with lemon slice at night.

I was terrified entering into this, but it has been pretty easy so far. Getting this much enzymes into me has also naturally made me want to do exercises which is interesting. So I do a brisk 30 minute walk every day. A good start.

Take care. Love your recipes. You have quite the cooking talent. Debbie Barlow

Cindy - July 10

I think you will find Wheat Grass does not actually contain gluten

    Ancestral Chef - July 10

    Apologies – the article has been corrected.

Michele - July 10

Not entirely true that wheat grass contains gluten!!!!!!!!! Please give correct info!

The type of gluten that causes reactions in those with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity occurs in the grains — i.e., the seeds — produced by the grass plants wheat, barley and rye. (For more explanation of this, see my article What Is Gluten.)

Pure wheat grass and barley grass (just the grass, with absolutely no seeds) do not contain gluten.

In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, in its finalized gluten-free label rules, has said that wheat grass and barley grass could be used to make foods labeled gluten-free, as long as the finished products contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten.

    Ancestral Chef - July 10

    Apologies – the article has been corrected.

Donna Davis - July 10

Wheat grass has no gluten and is very effective in destroying cancer cells so you should retract that and know that just because the word wheat is in the title it doesn’t contain wheat it’s a grass….very good for cleanses and good food anti – inflammatory food.

    Ancestral Chef - July 10

    Apologies – the article has been corrected.

Judy - July 10

Hi Louise,

I agree with all your points. I just want to add the Organic factor. Drinking the juice of so many fruits and veggies may increase the poisons from fertilizers, pestcides and who knows what in your system. Some people lose weight with Green Smoothies – all applies to those too.

I can see cleansing somewhat – it does feel good. Someone told me that the “high” you get from fasting is because morphine is produced ny the brain to help us because we are “starving”. Our bodies cleanse themselves naturally when we just eat natural foods. I’m not an expert. Whatever works – with caution.

Lalena - July 10

Maybe this is a silly question…

But juicing is not the same as making smoothies is it?

I make green smoothies with a high powered blender and I am assuming that although the drink is silky smooth… The fibres, nutrients and such are still intact, correct?

    Ancestral Chef - July 10

    Great question – using a blender is fine (the fiber is still in there), but if you put lots of fruits into it, then it can still be quite high in sugar.

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