No, not juicing as in steroids. I’m talking about the plastic cups of pulverized, Osterized, barely palatable concoctions of kale, seaweed, wheat grass, and whatever other obscure vegetables or fruits the juicer is able to buy at a discount that so many women have permanently affixed to their hands when they walk into the gym.
I know it seems contrary, even heretical, to suggest you stop or limit your consumption of these drinks, but hear me out. Vegetables and fruits contain simple sugars and more complex, harder-to-digest carbs. No problem there. However, when you blend up fruits and vegetables, you’re breaking down all those normally hard-to-digest carbs into infinitesimally small pieces. Drink that stuff down and you’re virtually bypassing much of the digestive process. All those sugars are presented to your bloodstream like flowers to your momma on Mother’s Day. They get absorbed super quick, and your pancreas releases a surge of insulin to counteract all that sugar. It’s virtually the same effect you’d get from shot-gunning a 24-ounce 7-11 Slurpie.
Insulin shuttles off some of the sugar to muscle cells and the rest are stored (in the liver or as body fat), but then insulin levels dip below baseline and you get hungry again pretty fast. If you give in to that hunger, you’re ingesting more calories than you might normally have and extra, unnecessary calories get stored as fat. What’s more, if you do the juice thing often enough, you may actually develop some insulin resistance, which is the first step down the path to Type II diabetes.
There’s one more thing to consider, too. You probably wouldn’t be able to eat all the fruits and vegetables that are in a typical fruit or vegetable smoothie if they were sitting there on a plate. They’d take up too much room in your stomach and even all that Spandex in your Lululemon pants wouldn’t be able to flatten out your belly. However, pulverize all those fruits and vegetables down into primordial ooze and they, and all the calories they contain, fit in your stomach just fine. Juicing allows you to eat more than you normally could, which is never really good if you’re trying to keep tabs on your body fat levels.
I’m not suggesting that you give up all juices. Drink them in moderation, eat them in their un-pulverized, natural state, or simply employ one simple trick: just have the juice junction, jamboree, or whatever add a scoop of protein (whey or casein) to your drink. The protein will ameliorate the big insulin surge, not to mention giving your muscles some extra building blocks.