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Popular Juice Trend May Actually Promote Weight Gain

Update Date: Apr 29, 2013 11:22 AM EDT

More and more people are juicing to lose weight or get healthier, but medical professionals warn that the current popular trend of extracting liquid from produce is not actually beneficial for health.

The $5 billion dollar juicing industry continues to grow 5 percent to 8 percent every year, and juicing is being promoted by many was a useful strategy for weight loss.  However, health experts warn that drinking juice may actually do the opposite and promote weight gain.

"Juicing in general reduces the fiber content and therefore decreases the feeling of fullness gained by eating fresh, crisp fruits and vegetables," Ashley Barrient, MEd, LPC, RD, LDN, dietitian, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care in Melrose Park, Illinois, said in a news release.

"Patients who consume whole fruit and vegetables report greater fullness and overall satisfaction with their diet," added Barrient, who specializes in working with weight-loss patients.

Barrient also warned that juicing can pose many risks for those who have undergone surgical weight loss.

"The concentrated sugar and caloric content of juice can result in 'Dumping Syndrome,' which includes diarrhea, rapid pulse, cold sweats, nausea and uncomfortable abdominal fullness," Barrient explained.

Experts explain that the sugar and calorie content of juice is significantly greater than the sugar content of whole fruit and vegetables, and it takes several pieces of produce to make an average-sized juice portion.

"Most of the patients in the Loyola program incorporate whole fruit back into their diet one to two months following surgery," Barrient said. "Appropriately portioned fruit, meaning half of a banana or a half-cup of berries, is digested well by surgical weight-loss patients."

She explains that the concentrated sugar and caloric content of juicing can hinder weight loss after surgery and increase the risk for regaining weight in the future.

"Aim for a diet rich in lean protein and dairy, fruits and vegetables and ensure adequate water intake," Barrient said.  She stressed that supplementing diet with required vitamins and minerals is a lifetime requirement after weight-loss surgery.

"The most successful diets are those that can be sustained. For most people, juicing is a trend and trends do not last," she concluded.

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