2 Of The Biggest Juicing Mistakes (And How To Juice The Right Way).

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I met today’s guest article contributor – a big, muscular athlete named Drew Canole (pictured above) – at a seafood restaurant in San Diego.

As Drew and I sat dining on crab claws and oysters with our mutual acquaintance Sean Croxton, Drew mentioned the fact that this was actually a rare indulgence for him to be eating tasty animals.

I raised an eyebrow at this. The dude is a hulk of an athlete, after all.

“Vegan?” I asked.

He smiled and shook his head, “Nope, but I juice. A lot”.

Turns out Drew was right.

When I delved into his juicing website, I realized that he wasn’t shoving fruit-willy-nilly into his juice, throwing thirty bananas in a blender or forcing his blood chemistries out of whack with fiber-less, protein-stripped sugar water. Instead, this guy has actually cracked the code on how to juice the right way – especially for athletes and exercise enthusiasts.

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Now it’s not like I know nothing about juicing. I actually have a Omega masticating juicer (which sounds horribly violent, but is actually quite safe) and my favorite juice is carrot, lemon, turmeric and ginger, with some added olive oil, sea salt and amino acids stirred in afterwards (more on those latter three strange ingredients later).

But Drew takes things to a whole new level. He is a well-known authority on the subject of juicing and the amount of energy this man has on a daily basis is astounding. He’s also managed to get himself to under 7% body fat (he used to be over 20%), massively improve his workout performance, and achieved this all through his strategic inclusion of vegetable juicing in his diet. In this article, Drew shares with us the two biggest juicing mistakes that athletes make, and three ways to juice the right way.

Take it away, Drew.

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2 Of The Biggest Juicing Mistakes (And How To Juice The Right Way)

Let’s talk about juicing, shall we?

It has become a pretty hot topic these days.

Everywhere you turn, there is a new “miracle cleanse” that is available, a new celebrity that has become a juicing promoter and about a thousand new stories of how juicing has become the answer to every problem.

Now don’t get me wrong – that’s great – and it’s always amazing to see people becoming healthier, but there are some significant problems with the normal style of juicing – problems that especially athletes need to be extremely wary of. While juicing can be healthy and you probably know how nutrient-dense vegetables can be, there are two big juicing problems that you must be warned about: “obesity traps”and “performance drains”.

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Juicing Problem #1: Obesity Traps

Although the general population has the best intentions with juicing and really do want to improve their health, they are juicing completely wrong – and what they include in their juices actually hinders their performance and balloons their waistline.

How can this be?

The main problem is that people include far too much fruit in their juices. For example, one extremely popular juicing recipe includes “Cucumber, Kale, Lemons, Apples, and Carrots”. This recipe starts out great, but then slides downhill fast because of the inclusion (and most likely main component) of apples and carrots.

Why is this a problem?

As you juice fruit, you’ve stripped away the fiber and concentrated the sugars from many, many servings of fruit into a single serving of juice. Just try it sometime. Sometime just try and see how many freakin’ apples it takes to make just a tiny fraction of apple juice.

It’s a scientific fact that the digestion of liquids (like juice) occurs significantly more quickly than digestion of solid foods. This means that all that fructose sugar you’re putting into one place and consuming in a short period of time is being digested and absorbed far more quickly than if you had eaten its solid, fiber-filled counterpart (e.g. chomped on an apple or a carrot).

Guess what that means?

Your blood fructose levels can spike quite intensely and quickly, and there are some pretty significant difference between a fructose-spike and a glucose-spike, specifically:

-After eating fructose, 100 percent of the metabolic burden rests on your liver. But with glucose, your liver has to break down only 20 percent.

-Every cell in your body, including your brain, utilizes glucose. Therefore, much of it is “burned up” immediately after you consume it. In contrast, fructose is turned into free fatty acids (FFAs), VLDL (the small, easy-oxidized and artery damaging form of cholesterol), and triglycerides, which mostly get stored as fat.

-The fatty acids created during fructose metabolism can accumulate as fat droplets in your liver and skeletal muscle tissues, eventually causing insulin resistance and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Insulin resistance can then progress to metabolic syndrome and type II diabetes.

-Fructose is the most lipophilic of the carbohydrates. In other words, fructose converts to an activated form glycerol called glycerol-3-phosphate, and this is directly used to turn free fatty acids into triglycerides. The more of this form of glycerol you have, the more fat you store (glucose does not do this).

-If you eat 120 calories of glucose, about less than one calorie of that is stored as fat. But 120 calories of fructose results in 40 calories being stored as fat. So eating high amounts of fructose is essentially the same as consuming fat!

-The metabolism of fructose by your liver can create a big list of waste products and toxins, including a large amount of uric acid, which drives up blood pressure and causes gout.

-Glucose suppresses the hunger hormone ghrelin and stimulates leptin, which then suppresses your appetite. But fuctose has no effect on ghrelin and interferes with your brain’s communication with leptin, resulting in overeating.

-Fructose goes primarily toward replacing liver glycogen, not muscle glycogen. So – unless you happen to be at a huge calorie deficit (in which case your liver may actually get some glycogen storage from fruit juice) instead of replenishing the energy stores in your muscles, you are efficiently preparing your body to store body fat – which is of course the polar opposite of what most people are trying to accomplish when juicing.

So because of all this, about the only time you should have a sweet, sugary juice would be after a weight training workout, post-workout, or in a fasted state without a lot of other added foods (e.g. for breakfast). Any other time of day, a juice comprised of fruit spells fat.

And those are the “obesity traps”…

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Juicing Problem #2: Performance Drains

Another huge problem athletes and exercise enthusiasts face with juicing is that the recipes they use are not optimized for performance. Let’s look at this on two specific levels:

1. The recipes do not have enough emphasis on vegetables and alkalinity. 

As an athlete or frequent exerciser, you put yourself through long bouts of intense exercise quite often. As you exercise, lactic acid, pyruvate acid, and CO2 build up as the use of muscle glycogen for energy increases. As your muscles become acidic, and hydrogen ions in your muscles accumulate from the buffering of these metabolic byproducts, fatigue sets in. This is a major problem for you as you go through intense training sessions or during a long competition, because this increased acidity can cause decrease the amount of time you can exercise, decrease exercise intensity, and lengthen workout recovery time.

Maintaining metabolic alkalinity has been proven to decrease overall net muscle acidity, allowing athletes to address these issues. The problem is that common juicing practitioners do not pay attention to the ingredients, and do not create alkalizing recipes. Most of the common juicing fruits discussed earlier do not actually create alkalinity in your body. So the only fruits that should really be juiced as a staple are lemons and limes, as they are some of the most alkalizing foods that exist. You can click here to view an acid/alkaline chart which shows a few more of the mostly alkalinic fruits.

2. Almost all juices do not include any protein or fats

This is another big performance drain for athletes. A diet lacking in protein causes lean muscle tissue breakdown during exercise and low levels of blood amino acids during exercise, which leads to muscle fatigue, central nervous system fatigue, metabolic slowdown, fat tissue accumulation, decreased performance and lengthened recovery time. All of these issues are quite common (even with non-athletes), and the caloric deficits from most juicing diets lead to weight loss, but a “skinny-fat” look due to the low amounts of protein and fat. Science has shown that in the general population, and especially athletes and exercise enthusiasts, a steady consumption of protein broken into small portions throughout the day is necessary for lean muscle maintenance, appetite satiation and long-term health.

Most “normal” juices also often lack any healthy fats, another key macronutrient for sustained energy, hormone precursors, cell membranes and both gut and joint integrity. Fat is what allows your body to transport vitamins A, D, E and K – all key fat-soluble vitamins necessary for cell membrane formation, steroid and hormone building, bone health and nervous system activity. These same fat soluble vitamins also assist with key metabolic functions, including the regulation of blood pressure and heart rate.

But that’s not all.

Fat also provides you with concentrated, steady, slow-release forms of energy (1 gram of fat equates to 9 calories of energy, which is double that of carbohydrates or proteins). In addition, many essential fatty acids – such as omega 3 fatty acids – have to be consumed within our diet, since they are not naturally produced by our bodies. So a diet lacking in healthy fats leads to decreased mental clarity, unsustainable energy and decreased formation of steroids, hormones and healthy cell membranes, all things that are absolutely imperative for an athlete’s success or for you to get the most out of your workout.

And sure, fructose can get converted into fat by your liver, but that’s not a healthy way to make fats.

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How To Juice The Right Way

However, not all juicing is bad.

When used properly and tailored for performance, juicing does actually have the potential to greatly improve an athlete or exercise enthusiast’s health and performance. It can indeed create an alkalized environment in your body and generate reliable, slow-release sources of energy – but only when done properly.

So here are my top three tips for juicing properly and avoiding the mistakes you just learned about:

1. Add fats to your juice recipes for healthy and long-lasting energy. A one-ounce serving of chia seeds provides the body with 5 grams of Omega 3-fatty acids. It also helps with brain health, improving mental clarity and focus. Chia seeds also provide the body with a lot of anti-oxidants, protecting you from the free radicals generated during exercise. Other examples of fats that you can add to your juice include olive oil, liquid EPA oil, MCT oil, coconut oil, cod liver oil, and even butter or ghee!

2. Include compounds that improve athletic performance. Do to the high nitrate content, beet juice can lead to significant improvements in performance. A study conducted at the University of Exerter’s School of Sports and Health Sciences measure the effects of beet juice on cycling endurance. In this study, a group of cyclists drank 500mL of beet juice for 6 days, while a control group was given a liquid containing almost no nitrates. The beet juice group was able to pedal for a full 16% longer than the control group and had significantly lower resting blood pressure after the consumption of the beet juice. In the realm of athletic competition, an improvement of 16% is quite impressive. Other examples of performance-enhancing compounds you can add to your juice include sea salt, powdered electrolytes, or marine phytoplankton.

3. Add proteins to your juice. An ideal juice doesn’t just contain alkalinizing compounds, healthy fats, and athletic performance-enhancing compounds, but also sources of proteins or amino acids that are easily digested. You can’t necessarily shove a steak into a juicer but you can certainly stir in powdered amino acids or hydrolyzed collagen into your juice.

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A Good Juicing Video

I also have a video that will show you some of the best ways you can juice (and some of the worst). It’s called “The Worst Juicing Mistake Killing Your Metabolism”, and it also includes even more unique juicing strategies to boost your energy through the roof, and get, as I like to say, get “single-digit bodyfat” lean.

Click here to watch my juicing video now.

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Do you have questions, thoughts or feedback about how to juice the right way, your own juice recipes to share, or any other comments about these common juicing mistakes? Leave your thoughts below, and either Drew or I will reply.


Also published on Medium.

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56 thoughts on “2 Of The Biggest Juicing Mistakes (And How To Juice The Right Way).

  1. Jill Connolly says:

    Great video! I am a vegtable only juicer. I try to keep my sugar intake below 30g a day so fruit in my juice is not an option. I loved hearing all the good stuff about juicing without fruit that I didn’t know. Sometimes, it’s hard to get used to the taste of the veggie juice. I sometimes add garlic and salt the rim of the glass which brings out the savory flavors and changes the expectation of “juice”. What kindo of amino acids do you put in your juice?

  2. Alex Wong says:

    Hello! Hoping that this is still active considering the article is probably at least a couple of years old now. Anyway, super new to juicing! Got the idea from the Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead documentary on Netflix.

    I’m just wondering, to avoid unwanted weight gain and too much sugar, do you think the mindset of have a variety of different juices (some more veggie heavy, some more fruit heavy) would be okay and avoid this issue?

    My thought process here is that if I have a variety of these vegetable and fruit juices, it would be overall fine and hopefully beneficial.

    Would like to lose some weight (although understanding, that shouldn’t be the main goal, but rather overall better health!). I also am still consuming regular food too, but at reduced amounts. Trying to significantly reduce my meat consumption (I’m not looking to become an athlete / body build).

    Any advice is much appreciated!

    1. I would steer away from "fruit-heavy" juices as the article recommends. I much prefer blending to juicing for the reasons here: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/article/nutritio…

  3. Mike says:

    Hey Ben –

    The video link in the article redirects to a sign-up page for a PDF. Do you have a link to the video?

    Cheers.

    1. Thanks for the heads up, give me a few to see what I can do to get this working again.

    2. The link is working now.

  4. Hi,

    Thanks for the post and good information. I am a “juicer” — albeit a relatively new one, with just a year at it so far. It has been helpful in that I get a great dose of fruit and veg and vitamins daily – lots easier to get them via a juice sometimes. I also use a lot of avocado, which is rich in “good fats” and other good stuff.

    Anyway, interesting to read the info and now putting a lot less fruit and more greens. I am also interested in the links you mentioned you were getting updated. … Many thanks again, Liz

  5. Jennifer says:

    I can’t locate your juicing video? Can you share some links please?

    1. We are working on getting these links updated – stay tuned, it should be no more than one week!

    2. Lesl says:

      Video link is not working

      1. We'll look into it. Thanks!

      2. This is fixed now. Thanks!

  6. Theodor Machnich says:

    Hi Ben,

    can you update pleas the links in your very intresting blog post.

    Most of the running in a error of the url shortening service.

    How can I figure out the amount of the additional interesting thins you addet,like fat, amynoacids, electrolytes etc…

    I tryed out last year the programm from this australien guy vor 2 month, but I can’t hold the wight down.

    It was also hart to work, I am a musician and to stand 4 hours on a stage and act was difficult, but I have to let 50 pounds go away to feeling better.

    Also I need energy throug the day and a Solution to nötig falling in to the nett Pizza Store after a eavening show. All this circumstances bringing me in waight troubles, ok I like also delisious Food in Restaurants but not all the time….best Theo

    1. Theodor, I suggest you have a listen to the latest podcast where we talk about the best ways to accelerate fat loss <a href="http:// :https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2016/06/353-5-best-ways-accelerate-fat-loss-can-testosterone-high-get-running-shape-fast/” target=”_blank”> <a href="http://:https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2016/06/353-5-best-ways-accelerate-fat-loss-can-testosterone-high-get-running-shape-fast/” target=”_blank”>:https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2016/06/353-5-best-ways-accelerate-fat-loss-can-testosterone-high-get-running-shape-fast/

      And I will get the links updated!

  7. Patricia Foord says:

    Do “juicers” not eat whole foods at all?

    Patricia

    1. Depends on the juicer ;)

  8. Jessica says:

    I was wondering if there is a website with safe juicing recipes?

  9. Ken says:

    Hi Ben,

    Thanks for the article! I have read that there are vegetable which we shouldn’t eat raw and cooking them would help to break the thick cell walls and aids the body’s uptake of some nutrients that are bound to those cell walls.

    Do we have this problem blending raw veggies? If so, what are the veggies we should use? Thanks in advanced!

    1. The process of blending can break down much of the cellulose and make this less of an issue

  10. Penny says:

    Do you put the chia seeds into the juicer or mix it in after.

    1. mix them through afterwards

  11. Priya says:

    Taking greens daily,is it safe? i read some articles that say they are harmful due to high oxalate content.iam scared that I will end up with kidney stones. Kindly clarify.One more thing ,can beets be juiced or they too contain high fructose ?

    1. Beets aren't super duper high in sugar, but i'd personally leave them out since they are relatively high. And you would have to eat oodles and oodles of kale , etc. to have oxalate issues, unless you have gout or kidney stones or something ALREADY.

  12. DJ says:

    Hi there

    New to this would it be ok to juice a bag of carrots whole cucumber and two apples that is then shared between my daughter and I

    This is all we do as low income and was hoping as the amounts are small there would still be significant health benefits in doing this ..

    I don’t think either of us could perhaps add any more ..except for ..

    I will get chia seeds to add definitely and maybe also add the amino acid powder at the same time – any sugestions which one ?

    Please let me know if juicing the above will be ok for us ..

    I usually have this then one scoop of whey protien drink for breakfast

    Lunch is a protein roll with spinach and tomato

    Dinner usually a piece of fish or chicken with broccoli and various roasted veg in coconut oil

    Then maybe some mixed nuts later

    Throughout day if hungry I have a banana with soya yoghurt and strawberries / blackberries

    I am 2-3 stone over weight have lost 3 stone already with general diet and started this diet this month in hope to increase energy And health as spent many years in bed with daily migraines

    Thank you so much for your time to reply ..

    I walk lightly for exercise as still recovering and body getting use to changes I’m Making. I was hoping to get some benefit from this once a day drink in morning and hope carrots would be good for me

    Thanks again looking forward to any reply :-)

    1. You need WAY MORE vegetables and WAY LESS fruit in there, and definitely include the chia/coconut oil for fat and aminos for protein. As you juice fruit, you’ve strip away the fiber and concentrate the sugars from many, many servings of fruit into a single serving of juice. This makes your blood fructose levels spike quite intensely and quickly. So definitely get more vegetables in there – Spinach, kale etc

      1. Hey Ben, awesome article, as always! Alkalinity is the key. I always say that it doesn’t matter if you are vegan, paleo or vegetarian. You can always add more alkaline foods and drinks ) into your diet.

        Just wanted to let you know that some links don’t work (I wanted to check out your friend’s juicing website and the link did not work).

        Also, the alkaline-acid chart you recommended is not accurate. Actually it is very misleading. About 90% of alkaline diet info you find online is not to be trusted as a reliable source of information.

        Why?

        Let me quote Ross Bridgeford from Energize for Life (he is an alkaline diet expert I trust)

        “The reason that other charts show such disparity is because they base their classifications on the readings for the

        Potential Renal Acid Load research (PRAL). This is not an accurate source for this purpose. The reason for this is, to test

        for PRAL they basically burn the food at an extreme temperature and then take a read of the ‘ash’ that is left behind

        and what it’s pH is.

        While this does give a read of its alkalinity from the mineral content of the food, this is only half the picture. By

        burning it at such a high temperature they also burn away all of the most acid-causing content of the food, namely

        sugar. That is why on some charts high sugar fruits are listed as alkaline. Bananas for instance are high in the alkaline

        mineral potassium, BUT they are also 25% sugar which makes them very acidifying when we consume them.”

        + “So, basically, the main difference between the charts comes down to one simple thing:

        Some charts determine acidity or alkalinity on the food before it is consumed & others (like mine) are more interested

        in the effect the food has on the body after it has been consumed.

        Personally, I have no interest in what a food is before I’ve eaten it – I want to know whether it will alkalise or acidify my

        body. Make sense?”

        To sum up, I recommend you check out the “pH Miracle” (books + website) by Doctor O. YOung for charts that are reliable and accurate. Ross Bridgeford uses charts by Doctor Young. So do I!

        Other than that, awesome content and advice, very inspiring. Thanks! I hope my comment will help people get on the right alkaline track. It always distresses me when I see the charts you used (or something similar) or people use terms “alkaline” without fully understanding what it is.

  13. ETM777 says:

    Is there a book on what to add to juices? I never knew this information! It made a huge difference I did a juice fast and the results this time was way better. My skin was more moist, supple and clearer. Is there a book with this information specifically for jocks or fitness enthusiasts?

    1. There's examples in the article about what to add to juices. You can find extras here: https://greenfieldfitnesssystems.com/product-cate…
      And I would also check out blending: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2014/02/benef…

  14. NATALIE LIRA says:

    Very interesting!

    Which are the vegetables that have more proteins, so that would be more appropriated to use in those juices?

    Thanks!!!

    1. Things like Spinach, Kale, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Peas are high protein…

  15. javimei says:

    I still like the taste of veggie juices and would like to drink them a couple of times a week. If I do one for dinner after a workout, how much of solid food should I add to that?

  16. SCE says:

    Thanks for the information. I appreciate it. Is there a place where you detail a few of your favorite recipes?

  17. Michel says:

    I have a Hurom slowjuicer, but do you recommend a slowjuicer?

    1. I like a masticating juicer, myself. Check this out for why – https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2013/08/healt…

  18. rsg426 says:

    totally random but have you seen the kind of stuff sumo wrestler eat? http://munchies.vice.com/videos/the-10000-calorie…

    1. That’s crazy! And delicious.

  19. vtaylormade says:

    What kind of juicer do you recommend? Right now I just do smoothies. If I am to follow your system I need to get a juicier.

    1. I use my Omniblender for pretty much everything http://greenfieldfitnesssystems.com/product/omni-… but I also own a Omega Masticating Juicer http://www.amazon.com/s/?_encoding=UTF8&camp=…

  20. jbillen says:

    How do you do this and stay under 20G of carbs a day. I'd like to juice but as a type 2 diabetic – I'm concerned that it will wreak me.

    1. As a type 2 diabetic, this may not be the best solution for you unless you're really just doing things like lemon, ginger, olive oil, etc…

      1. Kim Blocker says:

        Hello, For a diabetic What else can be juiced besides ginger and lemon? How about celery, beets, cucumber? Thank you.

        1. ANYTHING that won't be spiking your blood sugar. So maybe not the beets, but the cucumber and celery yes. I am not a doctor and this is not to be taken, interpreted or construed as medical advice. Please talk with a licensed medical professional about this. These are just my own personal thoughts and not a prescription or a diagnosis or any form of health care whatsoever.

    2. drew canole says:

      Adding protien to your juice – such as liquid egg whites has been shown to help in our community. We have a diabetes protocol if you are interested in it.

  21. AznMagicMan says:

    Does juicing have a benefit over blending? i.e. Should I filter out the fiber from my Vitamix to get the juice by itself?

    1. Only for the extreme concentration of nutrients. I personally juice just one to two times per week and the rest of the time I blend, and then use https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/multi for my extra nutrient power punch.

  22. gccarib says:

    I noticed you didn't add flax seeds to your list of recommended fatty acids. Is there a reason flax seeds didn't make the list?

    1. They're good. But poorly converted to DHA if you're vegan and relying upon them for neural health. However they are indeed fine. There can be some issues with flax seed oil in high amounts though. A meta-analysis reviewed nine studies that revealed an association between flaxseed oil intake or high blood levels of alpha-linolenic acid and increased risk of prostate cancer

  23. steve says:

    How about blending everything keeping the fiber of the fruit the way nature intended???

    1. sure, but you have to use LESS produce and therefore get LESS of a nutrient packed punch compared to blending. I can easily juice 4-5 carrots, some cucumbers, a bunch of ginger, etc. in a format that just wouldn't really work in a blender. Even the mighty OMNIBlender. ;)

  24. JJCet says:

    Interesting stuff, many thanks–but I'm curious how the recommendation to consume your fructose after a workout squares with JJ Virgin's claim in Ben's last podcast that consuming fructose after exercise shuts down fat burning?

    I'm more or less on a ketogenic diet and I don't really eat much fruit. But after workouts I tend to have a smoothie with a cup of berries for the phenyls and antioxidants on the assumption that this would be the best time for my body to take the carbs. Is that right, or is this actually the worst time?

    1. Like it says: "about the only time you should have a sweet, sugary juice would be after a weight training workout, post-workout, or in a fasted state without a lot of other added foods (e.g. for breakfast)." – so if you're an early morning exercise kind of person who works out fasted, fruit isn't a big deal. If you're working out later in day, and you've already been eating other meals, I wouldn't do it.

      1. JJCet says:

        Appreciate the attention! Muchly helpful.

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