A Word on Those Juicing Infomercials

A reader recently asked me if I recommend juicing as a way to increase your intake of vitamins and antioxidants.

Here’s what I think:

1 – Juicing isn’t a good idea because you lose out on one of the principle benefits of fruit: the fiber. Fiber aids in digestion, of course, but it also helps keep your blood sugar from spiking. Drinking pure juice has an effect that is really no different from chowing a candy bar or slamming a soda.

Fiber helps regulate the absorption of fructose into your system. If you’ve heard about the glycemic index, you probably already know about the important role fiber plays in evenly releasing glucose into your bloodstream. (If not, check out the official Glycemic Index.)

2 – When you take out the fiber, you’re left with sugar. My readers know I’m no fan of the sweet stuff, especially from sources like high fructose corn syrup, refined flours and starches, and processed foods. I think for most people anything over 80 grams of carbohydrates a day – roughly three servings – is a terrible idea, yet Americans routinely eat three or four or even five times that. (By the way, I’m talking about carbohydrates from flours and starches, not nuts, fruits and vegetables! Eat those recklessly!)

There’s no reason any child or adult – excluding athletes – needs to ever drink a “sports beverage” or an “energy drink”. These things are basically a pancreatic panic attack waiting to happen. Juice gets a bill of health because we all know fruit is healthy, but juice is not fruit. The truth is that juice is virtually no different from these other sugary drinks.

3 – Juice is dirty. If you caught Wise Bread’s discussion of food manufacturing secrets the other day, you’ll remember the particularly disgusting news that orange juice is typically made from oranges that are coated in all sorts of pesticides and chemicals. And it all goes right into the juice.

When you “juice” at home, this is still a problem. Wash an orange, peel and eat it – you’ve avoided the chemicals because, perhaps even more important than washing, you removed the skin. Wash that orange and throw it into the juicer, however, and you’ve just ingested whatever chemicals were hanging out in the peel that didn’t get washed off. Juicing infomercials typically brag about how wonderfully potent juice is because it offers several servings of fruit in one glass. Think about that now with pesticides. (Also, a glass of juice is not several servings of fruit, anymore than a mug of chicken broth is several servings of chicken breast. You can get around pesticides by going organic, but you’ve still got that pesky sugar problem.)

[tag] nutrition, fruit, juice, food, health, juicing [/tag]

TAGS:  Hype, marketing

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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25 thoughts on “A Word on Those Juicing Infomercials”

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  2. I love Orange juice, and now I’m pregnant I always found it’s to be a great and really easy way to get Folic Acid. But after reading this, it makes me want to by pass them completely. I have a hard time eating oranges all the time, since most of the time they aren’t very sweet but sour. I don’t like sour fruit. We live in VT so it’s hard to get fresh oranges. I would love to have homemade Orange Juice, but sometimes those big juicers, are a pain, just to juice one little glass of juice (I always peel them too, the peel just makes it so mushy, and super citrus). I will be on a mutli vitamin soon, but still would love to drink some juice in the morning with breakfast. I’m hoping to find a substitute. I’ll check out our farms around, and see what I can find. Thank you for the information. When I was pregnant with my second child I couldn’t drink OJ, if I did it would make me sick. So would taking vitamins, it wouldn’t get past my throat. I found out that I was so unhealthy I couldn’t even take vitamins. Thankfully we knew a herbal Dr. who told me to take lemon juice with water and kyeanne pepper for up to 2 weeks. I did that, and I could drink OJ and take my vitamins again. I just recently (a couple weeks before finding out I was pregnant)been drinking lemon water. I just saw on Rachel Ray(I don’t really watch the show, just stumbled across it) and they had a guy talking about detoxing. Lemon water was one thing he suggested to do. He said it’s a great way to keep your liver detoxed all the time. So I tried it, since it worked in the past (excluding kyeanne pepper). I have experienced very little morning sickness so far, and I’m about 6 weeks along (Dr’s app. today). It also helps relieve other symptoms of pregnancy, like constipation. Since it’s detoxing, it has to go somewhere. I find one slice of lemon squeezed into a large glass of water is great. It’s not super tangy, but it’s nice and lemony. So far I’ve found it to work really well for my morning sickness. I only feel nauseous for maybe about and hour, on certain days. It’s usually hits when I haven’t eaten enough. Of course I don’t drink the lemon juice all the time, though I should. Just a little tip for other mother’s to be. Drink one glass of lemon water a day, and if it’s really bad, throw in a dash of kyeanne pepper, if you can handle to the spice. It’s worth a shot, even if your morning sickness doesn’t go away, well you’re still doing something good for your body. Thanks again Mark.

    1. Without wishing to promote any products, I have just purchased a Vitamix food processer, which jucies the entire fruit, breaking every part of the fruit/vegetable down to cellular level, so you consume the entire fruit/plant. Surely this is GOOD juice?

      1. If it keeps all of the fibre/pulp in the juice, that’s good, just be careful with the skins (pesticides again).

  3. Hi Mark,

    Love your site, loved your book too.

    I want to say you have been a huge inspiration to me and have helped me so much. I would love to know your thoughts on juicing veg, not fruit.

    I.E. Carrotts, beets, green leafy veg like cabbage, broccoli, wheat grass etc. Am I wasting perfectly good food? I thought I was getting more vitamins this way.

  4. Hi Mark,

    I want to say you have been a huge inspiration to me and have helped me so much. I would love to know your thoughts on juicing veg, not fruit.

    I.E. Carrotts, beets, green leafy veg like cabbage, broccoli, wheat grass etc. Am I wasting perfectly good food? I thought I was getting more vitamins this way.

  5. What about juicing without the peel? I’m not a big orange fan, but I’m trying to find some with calcium, potassium, and Vitamin D

    1. When juicing an orange you should use a vegetable peeler to remove the shiny orange part of the skin because it contains oils you cannot digest. The white flesh below should be juiced because it is high in flavinoids. You should do the same thing if you’re eating an orange whole.

  6. This is super, super late, but maybe Mark will get an email and respond.

    Anyway, I’ve been eating primal for over a month and have been very happy with the results thus far. My wife found a juicer on sale and bought it, since I had mentioned thinking about one a while ago.

    You say that there are problems with the pesticides and losing out on the fiber.

    What if I peel the orange, and then add most of the pulp back into the juice? I like my juice thick and pulpy anyway.

    Same goes for any other fruit or vegetable…the juicer is really just for making it liquid easier than a blender, and making sure the seeds are out.

    If I do it like that, wouldn’t it be just like eating the fruit or veggies raw, but in a refreshing drink?

  7. Hi Mark,

    A lot of what you write has been very beneficial. I feel like this post is just inflammatory.

    You know the value of fasting. Yes juicing on apple juice is not a good idea. But green juice with little or no fruit is a healthy way to fast, no?


  8. Hmmm. I think this topic needs to be re-visited. What if one is juicing organic vegetables and not fruit? One can also argue that the removal of the fiber, in the specific instance of drinking juice, is a good thing because fiber also blocks nutrient absorption (or so I’m told). Juicing also ruptures the cells in the vegetables releasing nutrients and enzymes for quick absorbtion. If one has enough fiber in the diet already, and eats salads and other veggies in addition to juicing and generally follows a primal lifestyle, I think the addition of vegetable juicing can only be a good thing.

    As will probably come as no surprise, I juice veggies regularly. Since starting to do so, I have felt really well. My skin looks better, I have more energy, and I went through radiation treatment with no fatigue. Speaking of radiation treatment, the book Anticancer: A New Way of Life recommends that cancer survivors such as myself should eat 12 servings of vegetable a day. Juicing allows me to get that in on a consistent basis without spending all my free time eating vegetables.

  9. I’m with Tina. I don’t juice fruit. Fruit is delicious and pleasurable to eat whole. I only juice organic vegetables with an emphasis on vegetables I don’t normally eat. I do juicing as a supplement to my regular meals of veggies, fruit, and meat; rather than as a meal replacement.

    Since juicing, like so many others, I have noticed improvement in my skin. I used to have patches of dry skin but now they’re gone.

    I would love to get more feedback about strictly vegetable juicing.

  10. My boyfriend says he once went on a one-month “juice fast,” where he bought a juicer and would juice both vegetables and fruits at home and only drink the juice. He did not consume anything else in his diet (except for alcohol/beer when he went out). He did it for one month and claims that he lost 10-15 lbs. This doesnt at all sound to me like a healthy thing to do for a month, especially since he was so strict on consuming other things but still allowed himself frequent bouts of alcohol (of which he got drunk off quicker, to no surprise), and was consuming nothing but sugars. Im just curious what kind of effects HOMEMADE fruit/vegetable juicing would have on the body, and what kind of position he put his body in to react to all of the carbs, no fat no protein for 1 month, and how that caused him to lose so much weight (Im assuming his body broke down his own flesh for protein….) but he swears by this “juice fast” and says he felt great after it and wants to do it again. To me that just seems unhealthy but Im sort of curious about what might have happened to his body during that time.

  11. Hi, I am looking at double jaw surgery this summer. During the recovery period of 6 to 8 weeks, I will not be able to eat solid food.

    I’m not sure how to make a liquid diet a Primal diet, other than to drink a lot of whey protein.

    I had considered juicing as a way to get nutrients, but apparently it’s not Primal?

    1. Look into downloading Primal Toad’s “Toadally Primal Smoothies” (http://primalsmoothies.com/tps/) – there are lots of different great recipes with a breakdown on how much protein each drink contains. Good luck with your surgery!

  12. I think there is a sticking point for me in your post. If you juice more than one serving of fruit or veggies then you are indeed getting multiple servings (natch). Also, according to my dietician, one 6 oz. glass of orange juice contains the the SUGAR as well as nutrients of 3 servings. She highly recommends against drinking any fruit juice if you are diabetic as it equals several servings at one time. Dangerous spikes in blood sugar can ensue.

  13. Question about fruit skin –

    1. Fruit juice is bad because it removes the fiber from the skin; skin is good
    2. The skin is dirty because it contains a lot of pesticides and other chemicals; skin is bad

    Is fruit skin good or bad?

  14. Another important aspect in terms of drinking juice is to understand that when it comes to carbohydrates like those from fruits and vegetables, the majority of digestion begins in the mouth. Gulping down some juice down the gullet and you’ve bypassed an important part of the digestion process and now you have a gut full of juice to ferment- increase gas and bloat anyone?? Not to mention as Mark stated the importance of ingesting the fiber from that fruit and/ or vegetables.

    1. I have 2 different types of juicers. One is the NutriBullet and the other on is the Montel Williams one he was selling a while ago. I can’t remember the name right now. I have been using both of those regularly. I also have the Jack LaLanne juicer. This one removes all the fiber. I prefer the first two because i get ALL of the greens and fruits including the fiber. Just add some filtered water and you are good to go. I always add a little fruit to the greens just for a little smoother taste. I juice first thing in the morning when I get out of bed.

  15. I didn’t read past first sentence of #1. Juicing is a technique used for specific issues with health. You’re not supposed to get fiber from it because you’re suppose to be getting concentrated nutrients and giving your digestive system a break. That’s the whole point. Its used for specific time periods. If you’re using it daily for general use, you’re certainly going to get fiber elsewhere in your day. But of course, Mark already knows this. He just wants to stir the pot, as usual and not give the facts.

  16. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

    Juicing orange peel, Mark? Come on…who does that really?

    Juicing does magical things for my sleep, cravings, concentration, moods. I juice veg and fruit (mostly veg) as an augment to my primal meals. A green juice midday, and a carrot based juice at the end of the day as “dessert”. I keep my juice away from my regular meals so as not to interfere with digestion of either.

    Elsewhere on the site, there are multiple places where Mark recommends the 80/20 primal to “sensible vice” ratio is recommended. If there is place for beer and chocolate and wine and birthday cake, one would assume that Mark would have at least allowed for fresh pressed organic juice to be categorized as a sensible vice at the very least.

    His response seems less well considered than I would expect.

  17. Ok, just saw his post named “Dear Mark, What’s wrong with juicing?” where he walks this response back a bit: he acknowledges some benefits and makes allowances for fresh-pressed juice.

    It was by no means a full-throated endorsement, but I am feeling much better that the balanced, whip-smart Mark I am used to was well-represented in that post.

    Crises averted. 🙂