by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM 

juicing-for-weight-lossJuicing has become a popular way to boost energy and lose weight. You may have heard juice cleansing radio ads, seen (or bought) expensive juices in the store, or maybe you’ve even made juice from scratch. But does juicing for weight loss work?

Juicing refers to using a juicer or blender to liquefy fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Juices differ from smoothies because the latter include additional ingredients like milk, yogurt, seeds, and sweeteners. Juices typically contain only the liquid components — although some juices contain pulp. Making your own blends is easier with a juicer, although some people use a blender.

When used with other dietary and lifestyle changes — particularly increased exercise and a plant-based diet — juicing can help you lose weight. You can add juice to your regular diet to maintain a healthy metabolism and detoxify your body, and some people juice-fast as a short-term detox or body cleansing regime.[1]

Is Juicing Good for You?

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Juicing can help you lose weight, but can also boost your nutritional intake. Since most Americans consume less than half the recommended servings of fruit and vegetables, and having a poor diet increases your risk of chronic illnesses, juicing is a great way to benefit from the nutrients that fresh produce contains.[23] Most people don’t eat two heads of romaine, two apples, three stalks of celery, two carrots, and a head of kale in one sitting, but you can easily juice all those and drink it in five minutes flat.
Especially when made from scratch, homemade juice is nutrient-dense, providing your body with potassiumfolate, and a wide range of vitamins and minerals, depending on which fruits and vegetables you use. Juicing also supports cardiovascular health by decreasing cholesterol levels.[24] Juicing releases the antioxidants and nutrients naturally present in produce into an easy-to-digest form.[5]

Juicing removes most of the fiber from the fruits and vegetables. If you want to retain more fiber in your drinks, you can make your juice in a blender instead of with a juicer. Alternatively, you can put some of the leftover pulp into your juice to add some fiber back.

Juice shouldn’t completely replace whole fruits and vegetables in your diet and won’t provide all the nutrition you need to stay healthy in the long-term. However, juicing can boost your dietary intake of nutrients, many of which have metabolism boosting and fat-burning properties. Juicing can also provide an option for short-term cleansing or fasting.

Benefits of Juicing

If you are a picky eater who still wants to eat a wide range of healthy vegetables, fruit can help cover up the taste of your least-favorite vegetables in juices. Because fruits are naturally sweet, you can skip the added sweeteners found in store-bought drinks and processed foods.

Making our own fresh, organic juices provides you with rich sources of minerals, folate, vitamin A, vitamin C (ascorbic acid), and antioxidants, among other nutrients.[6] Interestingly, one study found that juicing apples, pears, and mandarin oranges releases significantly more antioxidants than blending them. Also, including the peel in a homemade juicer added substantially more nutrients, antioxidants, phenols, flavonoids, and vitamin C to the juice.[4] These natural compounds are anti-inflammatory and support better health.[78]

Juices make a good substitute for your morning caramel latte — especially if you usually skip breakfast. Some experts say that the natural nutrients and fructose in an apple provides more energy than a cup coffee!

Skipping meals, including breakfast, can lead to weight gain over time; juice can provide a meal replacement — a low-calorie, nutrient-dense alternative to going without.[9] Drinking a fresh juice with — or without — a healthy, low-calorie breakfast is a fast and easy way to incorporate more veggies into your morning.

Juicing for Weight Loss

No matter how many pounds you are trying to lose, it’s important to exercise, reduce your calorie intake, and add more vegetables to your diet.[10] You can use food, including fresh juice, to empower your body to burn fat and eliminate toxins. More importantly, remember to talk about your diet with your healthcare team.

These are a few of my favorite recipes for juices that can detox your system, support a healthy weight, and get you closer to your goals. Make sure to buy organic produce and wash all items before juicing.

Ultimate Green Juice

Mint stimulates your digestive system without a laxative effect, complementing any weight loss program.[11]

Ingredients

  • 1 green apple
  • 2 cups spinach
  • ⅓ cup fresh mint
  • 1 cucumber
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup coconut water

Directions

If you are using a juicer:

  1. Put the apple, spinach, and cucumber through your juicer.
  2. Add the lime juice and coconut water, mix well.

If you are using a blender:

  1. Put all ingredients in the blender and blend thoroughly.

Flavorful Carrot Juice

Carrot juice can protect your heart by increasing the body’s level of antioxidants and decreasing systolic blood pressure.[12] Pineapples are a source of manganese, anti-inflammatory compounds, and digestive enzymes like bromelain.[13]

Studies have shown that even in small quantities, cayenne pepper helps speed up your metabolism and makes you feel full longer.[14]

Ingredients

  • 4 whole carrots
  • 1 nectarine
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks
  • 1 head romaine lettuce
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more, if you like spice)

Directions

  1. Process the carrots, nectarine, pineapple, and lettuce with your blender or juicer.
  2. Top with cayenne pepper.

Ginger-Turmeric Apple Juice

Ginger is extremely powerful. Scientists have linked it to normalized blood sugar and also found it has antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.[15] Ginger also helps digestion, reducing nausea and even motion sickness.[16]

A mouse-based study found that including turmeric in your diet might help reduce the risk of obesity.[17]Finally, kale is a great source of calcium, folate, and potassium. To get the most nutrients, core the apple but leave the skin, and do not peel the ginger.

Ingredients

  • 1 apple
  • 1 cucumber
  • 2 cups kale
  • 1/2 inch ginger, unpeeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric or 1/4-inch turmeric root, unpeeled
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Directions

  1. This cleansing recipe works best in a blender so that you get the benefits of fiber in the apple skin.
  2. Place all ingredients in the blender. Blend until all the ingredients are liquefied.

Juicing for Health & Energy

Even if you are not trying to lose weight, juicing is a powerful way to help your body maintain high levels of energy throughout the day and feel healthier. Here are a few of the recipes I use for juicing.

Energetic Beet Juice

Beets are packed with energy-boosting potential. Researchers have linked beet juice to lower blood pressure, improved athletic performance, and decreased muscle fatigue.[1819] Beets also have potent anti-inflammatory properties.[20] Cayenne pepper raises your core temperature, so this juice is great before a run on a cold day.[14]

Ingredients

  • 1 large orange
  • 1 beet
  • 2 cups kale
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions

  1. Process the produce with your juicer or blender.
  2. Top with cayenne pepper.

Healthy Morning Drink

Making this in a blender will retain some of the fiber in the greens; also, bananas and raspberries don’t juice very well, so they should go into a blender instead. The green color of this drink is a clear sign of all its benefits. Dark green vegetables are especially rich in iron and folate (the natural version of folic acid).

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup raspberries
  • 2 cups greens (spinach, kale, field greens, etc.)
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup coconut water

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients into a blender.
  2. Process until the ingredients are liquified.

Farm Share Blend

Try this recipe when you have extra fruit and vegetables from your other meals. Any fruit will pair well with the neutral flavor of bok choy, which experts have linked to several health benefits.[2122] Why basil? In an animal study, basil extract improved memory retention.[23] It also makes this drink smell great.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups bok choy
  • 1/3 cup basil
  • 1–2 cups of mixed fruits: cherries (pitted), plums (pitted), grapes
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Directions

If you are using a juicer:

  1. Put the bok choy, basil, and fruits through your juicer.
  2. Stir in the lemon juice.

If you are using a blender:

  1. Put all ingredients in the blender and blend thoroughly.

Juicing Tips for Beginners

Juicing can feel intimidating if you haven’t done it before. Make it simple and pleasurable by following these tips for beginners. If you have a blender, you don’t even need special equipment!

Get Creative With Fruits & Veggies


You can get creative with your juices! Experiment with different options to find what combinations you like best. Look for ripe, organic ingredients with a wide variety of colors and textures. If you’re trying to lose weight, use more vegetables and fewer fruits, because veggies have less sugar.

Thoroughly wash all your ingredients. Even organically grown produce has some pesticide residue, so it’s important to take the time to wash everything that goes into your juice.[24]

Adjust to the Taste of Vegetables

If you’re used to drinking soda and sweetened coffee, celery juice might not appeal to you right away — but that’s ok! One goal of juicing is to add more vegetables and fruits to your diet, but it doesn’t have to happen all at once.

As you get used to the taste of naturally sweet fruits and earthy vegetables, you might be more comfortable adding bolder vegetables to your juice. It’s more important to make a juice that you will enjoy than to make one with more veggies that you end up pouring down the sink.

Select the Right Juicer

There are several factors to consider when choosing which juicer to buy, including price, versatility, size, how easy it is to clean, and how much of the ingredients it uses (versus waste). The two main types of juicers are centrifugal and masticating juicers.

Masticating juicers are typically more expensive, but they have some benefits: they work better for greens and squeeze more juice from fruits and vegetables. As a bonus, some models can also make nut butter and baby food. Centrifugal juicers, on the other hand, are cheaper and usually smaller.

Prep Ahead of Time

Don’t get too ahead of yourself when you’re juicing. If you need to do some preparation ahead of time, you can cut and wash your produce, but don’t make your juice until the day you will drink it.

Precautions & Potential Side Effects

Remember that juicing is a complement to your healthy diet and exercise plan; it is not the only tool required to lose weight.

If you decide to do a juice fast and drink only juice for a set period of time, use it as a launching pad for healthy habits. Juice fasting is an effective way to improve your overall health, not necessarily for permanent weight loss, because you may gain lost weight back — unless you start a healthy diet afterward.

Juicing can take time and costs money, especially if you select organic fruits and vegetables. Minimize these challenges by purchasing seasonal produce that is on sale, planning your recipes, and using leftover produce in your juice.

Juicing may not be a good option if you are diabetic or pre-diabetic because it often has high sugar content — although you can lean towards more vegetables, and fewer fruits.[25] It is important to talk to your healthcare provider about your diet, including juice consumption, particularly if you have a health condition.

Points to Remember

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Drinking fruit and vegetable juice is a delicious way not only to support weight loss but also improve energy. Juicing is beneficial because vegetables and fruits are rich in vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, and natural sweeteners; these compounds become part of the juice.

It is easy to make your own juice at home, using washed, organic fruits and vegetables in a juicer or blender. Blenders allow your juice to retain the healthy fiber from produce, which can keep you full for longer. You can also perform a short-term juice-only cleanse or fast for its overall gut-cleansing health benefits.

Another way to support weight loss efforts is with colon cleansing. Colon cleansing boosts your metabolism and detoxifies your gut by flushing toxins and compacted fecal matter from your small intestine and large intestine. We recommend using a vegan, natural colon cleanse kit.

If your goal is to lose weight, it is important to include more vegetables and fewer fruits because fruits are high in sugar. However, that sweetness can also help you get used to the earthy taste of vegetables. Make juicing an addition to a healthy diet rather than replacing whole vegetables and fruits.

These are a few of my favorite recipes for juices that can detox your system, support a healthy weight, and get you closer to your goals. Make sure to buy organic produce and wash all items before juicing.

We Recommend:

Omega J8006 Nutrition Center Masticating Dual-Stage Juicer, Metallic

Do you like to make your own juice? Share your favorite recipe below! Have you ever done a juice fast for weight loss? Tell us more in the comments.

References (25)
  1. Juicing 101: Nutrition Tips for Consumers. USDA Food and Nutrition Information Center. Accessed October 25, 2018.
  2. Clemens R, et al. Squeezing fact from fiction about 100% fruit juice. Adv Nutr. 2015 Mar;6(2):236S–243S.
  3. Blekkenhorst LC, et al. Cardiovascular health benefits of specific vegetable types: a narrative review. Nutrients. 2018 May;10(5):595.
  4. Liu RH. Dietary bioactive compounds and their health implications. J Food Sci. 2013 Jun;78 Suppl 1:A18-25. doi: 10.1111/1750-3841.12101.
  5. Pyo JH, et al. Comparison of the effects of blending and juicing on the phytochemicals contents and antioxidant capacity of typical Korean kernel fruit juices. Prev Nutr Food Sci. 2014 Jun;19(2):108–114.
  6. Bhardwaj RL, et al. Bioactive compounds and medicinal properties of fruit juices. Fruits. 2014;69(5):391-412.
  7. Holt EM, et al. Fruit and vegetable consumption and its relation to markers of inflammation and oxidative stress in adolescents. J Am Diet Assoc. 2009 Mar;109(3):414-21.
  8. Rahimlou M, et al. Ginger supplementation in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study. Hepat Mon. 2016 Jan;16(1):e34897.
  9. Improving Your Eating Habits. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Department of Health and Human Services. Updated May 15, 2015. Accessed October 25, 2018.
  10. How to Use Fruits and Vegetables to Help Manage Your Weight. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Department of Health and Human Services. Updated November 9, 2016. Accessed October 25, 2018.
  11. Koithan M, Niemeyer K. Using herbal remedies to maintain optimal weight. J Nurse Pract. 2010 Feb;6(2):153–154.
  12. Potter AS, et al. Drinking carrot juice increases total antioxidant status and decreases lipid peroxidation in adults. Nutr J. 2011;10:96.
  13. Bromelain. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, National Institutes of Health. Updated September, 2016. Accessed October 25, 2018.
  14. Ludy MJ, Mattes RD. The effects of hedonically acceptable red pepper doses on thermogenesis and appetite. Physiol Behav. 2011 Mar 1; 102(3-4): 251–258.
  15. Rahmani AH, et al. Active ingredients of ginger as potential candidates in the prevention and treatment of diseases via modulation of biological activities. Int J Physiol Pathophysiol Pharmacol. 2014; 6(2):125–136.
  16. Palatty PL, et al. Ginger in the prevention of nausea and vomiting: a review. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2013;53(7):659-69.0.
  17. Ejaz A, et al. Curcumin inhibits adipogenesis in 3T3-L1 adipocytes and angiogenesis and obesity in C57/BL mice. J Nutr. 2009;139(5):919–925.
  18. Siervo M, et al. Inorganic nitrate and beetroot juice supplementation reduces blood pressure in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Nutr. 2013 Jun;143(6):818-26.
  19. Dominguez, R. Effects of beetroot juice supplementation on intermittent high-intensity exercise efforts. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2018;15:2.
  20. Clifford T, et al. The potential benefits of red beetroot supplementation in health and disease. Nutrients. 2015 Apr;7(4):2801-2822.
  21. Guan YS, He Q. Plants consumption and liver health. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:824185.
  22. Peterson J. Nutrient in cruciferous vegetables protects against lung cancer in study of 18,244 Chinese; benefit depends on genetic factor. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health. Published September 18, 2000. Accessed October 25, 2018.
  23. Sarahroodi S, et al. The effects of green Ocimum basilicum hydroalcoholic extract on retention and retrieval of memory in mice. Anc Sci Life. 2012 Apr-Jun;31(4):185–189.
  24. Baranski M, et al. Higher antioxidant and lower cadmium concentrations and lower incidence of pesticide residues in organically grown crops: a systematic literature review and meta-analyses. Br J Nutr. 2014;112(5):794-811.
  25. Bazzano LA, et al. Intake of fruit, vegetables, and fruit juices and risk of diabetes in women. Diabetes Care. 2008 Jul;31(7):1311–1317.

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