It seems like green juice has become synonymous with health. And if there were ever a sign of an exploding industry, it would have to be the fact that the number of pretty little shops selling nothing but beautifully-colored juices is starting to rival the crazy number of cupcake places in NYC. And while I love a concoction of kale, apple, lemon, and ginger at The Butcher’s Daughter, whenever my patients ask about juices, I tell them to avoid them.
I realize this might sound radical, and that the juice industry is probably already forming an angry mob outside my door. I am an integrative doctor, and I know many of my peers often prescribe shakes and juices. Often the rationale for shakes is that many people have what is called leaky gut, meaning their intestines have been damaged over time by a diet of chemicals, processed food, and pharmaceutical drugs, their digestive systems aren’t functioning well, and they will won’t absorb whole foods properly. The drinks are therefore a delivery vehicle for supplements and nutraceuticals, because in liquid form they are more easily and quickly digested, and therefore will be more fully absorbed into the bloodstream.
This may be true, and helpful when prescribed to replete a specific nutrient in people with real absorption problems, but there are a lot of downsides to a liquid diet—even if only for one meal a day—and for the following reasons I encourage my patients to make juices a treat, never a staple.
Here are five reasons NOT to make juices a routine part of your diet:
1. Juices leave you hungry.
Solids take almost twice as long as liquids to leave your stomach, meaning if you’re having a drink for a meal, you’ll be leaving your belly hurting for something to chew on. Especially for people trying to lose weight, this can end up meaning eating more over the course of the day.
2. Fat is back!
Don’t go back to the terrible, fat-free 80s. Juices generally don’t contain much (if any) fat or protein, both of which stimulate your brain to quiet hunger pangs when they reach your small intestine. This is another reason you won’t be satiated as long from a juice.