If you’ve recently started drinking juice and began to notice weight gain, then there’s a possibility that it could be the juice. There are a few reasons why juice can make you fat.
Juice isn’t filling
Juicing strips the fruit and vegetables of fiber, which is in the skin and seeds. Fiber helps to keep us fuller for longer, so if you’re having juice as a snack, you’re going to get hungry again quicker than you would if you ate a piece of fruit. This can lead to more snacking later on in the day.
When it comes to managing weight, people tend to forget about the calories in beverages, so underestimate what they actually consumed per day. The additional calories in juice can make you fat.
Juice has a lot of sugar
Orange juice has 8 grams of sugar per 100ml, and apple juice has 10 grams of sugar per 100ml. 13.5 grams of sugar per portion is considered quite high, but the amount of sugar in apple and orange juice is still moderate, especially when factoring in the fact that a glass of juice averages 200ml. Many people enjoy a glass of apple or orange juice with breakfast, which isn’t unhealthy, but the sugars get very high when juices with a blend of fruits come into play.
Apple, Pear, and Pineapple juice has 40 grams of sugar per serving! 200ml of orange and grapefruit juice has 20.4 grams of sugar! Even green juices like can have high sugar content, but they seem to be lower than their fruity counterparts on the premise that green juices tend to contain more vegetables than fruit. A serving of kale, lemon, ginger, green apple, and celery juice contains 12 grams of sugar per serving.
Excess fructose is linked to belly fat
Fructose is a type of sugar found in fruit, honey, agave nectar, and corn syrup.
Our body breaks down all carbohydrates into glucose which it uses for energy. We need sugar for energy but within reason. Our sugar intake shouldn’t go above 37.5 grams per day for men and 25 grams per day for women. The apple, pear, and pineapple juice is over this amount!
However, whatever isn’t used is stored as fat. Fruit contains both fructose and glucose, and excess fructose has been linked to belly fat, which means that juice can make you fat.
One study found that already overweight people with a quarter of their calorie intake coming from fructose-sweetened beverages had an increase in belly fat. Another study found those on a similar high-fructose diet burned less fat and had a slower metabolism.
Health problems associated with fructose and belly fat
Although fat in other areas of your body may make you feel insecure, it’s visceral belly fat around your organs that’s worse for your health. Even people who are considered to have a healthy weight can have visceral belly fat. Belly fat has been linked to illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, and dementia.
Too much fructose can cause diabetes, high cholesterol, metabolic syndrome, and fatty liver. As fructose causes fatty liver, this then results in insulin resistance. In fact, fructose is more likely than glucose to be the cause of fatty liver.
Fructose isn’t all bad for you, in fact, because fructose and glucose are handled differently by our bodies, a beverage or snack with a mixture of both types of sugar is beneficial post-work-out and for athletes. Too much glucose at once essentially blocks the system as it’s hard for the body to process it all at once. Glucose enters the bloodstream straight away, whereas fructose needs to be processed in the liver first, which means that there’s a more stable release of energy when you combine the two. There’s simply a time and place for fructose, and as juice cleanses rarely incorporate an exercise regime, they aren’t the time and place for it.
There’s a reason our five pieces of fruit and vegetables a day are recommended to contain three portions of veg and only two portions of fruit. Although both are good sources of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber, fruit tends to have more calories and more sugar than vegetables.
We do need sugar in our diets, and the best place to get that is from the naturally occurring sugars in whole foods such as fruit, but it’s very easy to over consume sugar.
Will a juice cleanse make you fat?
Juice cleanses tend to be very low in calories, usually 1,000 or less which cannot be maintained long term. Around 60% of our calorie intake, based on a 2000 calorie diet is needed just to keep you alive, so a diet of all juice can't be a long term thing. Every juice cleanse is different, some have participants fast and only drink juice all week while others suggest a few fast days with only juice a few days a week. Either way, it’s a shock to your metabolism.
Without fat and protein, the body is only running on carbs. Although carbs are our main source of energy, we lose muscle mass on low-protein juice-cleanses. These kinds of diets rarely incorporate a fitness regime, and if they did, the low-protein content would render it useless. Low-protein means that the body doesn’t have the resources to build and repair muscle, and muscle mass will still decrease.
When you come off a juice cleanse, or any other fad diet, you inevitably will gain weight when you return to your normal eating habits. Even if you gain back the exact amount of weight, you’re actually in a worse position than before. This is because you don’t gain back muscle unless you’ve begun weight training. You gain back fat so you end up with more body fat than you began with.
Can I drink juice at all?
Juicing can be a handy way to get extra vitamins, minerals, and an extra portion of fruit and veg. There's nothing wrong with enjoying juice as part of a healthy balanced diet and active lifestyle if it’s drunk in moderation and drinking it in moderation.
Opt for single-fruit juices like orange juice, or a green juice made mostly from vegetables as they have fewer calories and sugars. You can add protein powder, and add the pulp back into the juice to make it more filling. There’s also the option of watering down juice so you can still enjoy it, but with less sugar. It’s better to make your own juice from scratch than buying pre-made juice, as they can have added sugars.
The better option is still to eat fruit and vegetables. The fiber content keeps you full, raises blood sugar in a slower, more stable way, and has more vitamins and minerals. While sugars in fruit and veg, and naturally occurring lactose in dairy products, is nothing to worry about, the additional sugar and speed in which it enters your bloodstream in juice is a cause of concern.
Enjoy juice in moderation, but don’t rely on it if you’re expecting weight loss and a big health boost.