Lately, some of my clients have been asking me if they can have a juice for breakfast.  I appreciate that they are looking for something quick and easy to make, but their laziness to prepare a real breakfast is linked to the many reasons why they are unsuccessful in reaching their goals. Making you breakfast is just like making your bed, if you can start the day on the right foot, then the choices you make in the rest of your day are more likely to be positive ones.

So why are juices not a great option, they are full of “healthy” fruits and vegetables right?  There is a valuable lesson for everyone here, especially those who want to lose weight, DON’T DRINK YOU CALORIES.

Unlike the calories we consume in real whole foods, the calories in liquid meals never fill us up, and many of the worst offenders are the treats that many believe to be healthy.  In the past, we have been lead to believe that fruit juice and smoothies are healthy because they come from a natural source and they contain load of vitamins.  This is true, but unless they are freshly made, they are not full of vitamins as the nutrients quickly disappear as the juice ages.

The one thing juice is good at is delivering a very rapid hit of sugar into the bloodstream and into you brain.  When you drink a juice, it goes swiftly into the stomach and into your small intestine where the sugar is extracted and absorbed rapidly into the bloodstream and transported to the brain.  Your brain then releases “feel good hormones” like dopamine, and you get a nice little sugar high and want more of it.

The additional energy hit from the sugar has to go somewhere, and unless you start to burn it off immediately with exercises, it will be stored as fat, either in your liver or around your gut.  Did you know that there is roughly 120calories in a small cup/carton of apple or orange juice?  Thats 5 teaspoons of sugar, its the same as drinking a can of soft drink.  Grape juice is by far the worst of the bunch and the sugar levels are even higher.

You can use exercise to work off those additional calories, but many people have very little idea how much work is actually required to burn off 120calories of sugar.  You may also start to think, maybe I should switch to the zero-calories drinks?  However, the evidence is mounting that drinking these zero-calories drinks can lead to increased levels of inflammation in the gut and an increased risk of obesity.

I’m never a fan of fruit juice or smoothies and I would recommend that you eat the whole food version.  One of the big differences between eating an apple or drinking apple juice is that the apple has far more nutrients and fibre, so it will hang around inside you stomach and small intestine fir a lot longer and make you feel fuller for longer, not to mention slower absorption of the sugars and not sugar high.  Its also worth noting that the undigested fibre will pass through the small intestine and down into the large intestine, where it will feed your good bacteria.  Readers of the TSTM blog will understand why it is important to take care of the good bacteria and gut health.

The simple message is that eating real whole fruits and vegetables will fill you up for longer and give you more vitamins, minerals, and fibre than a juice.  Juicing will also make you fatter.