Tag Archives: lifestyle

Spilling the Juice on Juicing

Spilling the juiceAnother year, another diet craze hits the market. Although to its credit, the juicing frenzy has stuck around longer than most, especially because of the new found popularity of technology like Nutribullet.

So – is juicing the best thing since steel-cut oats?

We do get the appeal of juicing. As humans, we eat with our eyes as much as we do with our stomachs, and the sheer vibrancy of the greens and reds of many of the freshly blended juices just screams “healthy!” to our stomachs.

And yes, juices can be a great way to load your system with raw, unprocessed vitamins and minerals.

So what’s the problem, we hear you ask? Well there are a few.

  1. Humans have teeth for a reason. We as a race evolved to chew on food. It’s part of our physiological make-up, and a hugely important part of digestion. Take the visceral act of chewing away from a human, and it can confuse their body’s understanding of when it’s hungry or full.
  2. Juice-only diets generally lack protein. Behind the bright green veneer, lies essentially a cup of blended carbohydrates. So while juicing purported health benefits, it actually does little more than feed the average body’s addiction to high-glycemic sugars. Yes, there are hardened juicers out there who perhaps blend tuna in with their green shakes (we happen to know one!) but the majority of fair-weather/beach-body juicers need their juices to be sweet in order to be palatable.
  3. Most juicing excludes the fibre. Take away the act of chewing and now the fibre too, and you have basically blocked any of the natural ways in which your body slows the absorption of nutrients into the blood. Which is great if your juice is purely made of vitamins, but troublesome as your juice is mostly made up of sugars. This results in a huge blood-sugar spike…and we all know that what goes up, must come down. So the inevitable crash after will have you seeking your next quick-high, perpetuating a vicious cycle of sugar-addiction.
  4. News flash: Your stomach likes solids! Just as you would never run your washing machine without clothes inside it, feeding your body nothing but liquids can be very confusing to your gastric system, and can cause you severe stomach cramps and nausea. Your body was designed to churn solid food into soluble materials – don’t deprive it of its purpose in life!

Often times, those on a juice diet also struggle to feel sated after a day of juices and end up succumbing to a solid meal. While this is good news for your empty stomach, it can be bad news for your calorific intake. This pattern of behaviour often results in the diet juicer actually putting on weight when they should in theory be losing it!

So, our advice is to ditch the juice and eat the way your body intended you to.

By all means, enjoy juice if you find it hard to fit your 5-a-day into your diet, but make sure you calculate that into your overall daily calorific intake. And wean yourself off the high-fructose base of many juices, and really try to stick with earthy leafy greens and vegetables for maximum benefit.

Sleepy Times

bed and pillows
We are the society that doesn’t sleep.

Where our sleep was formerly dictated by the rise and fall of the sun, today the glow of technology keeps us up all night, and sleep deprivation is paraded as a badge of honour in offices and homes around the world.

Sleep debt and insomnia are now rife and likely holding back your weight and fitness goals (we’re shouting to wake you up, sleepy chops!).

Studies have even found that dieters that don’t get enough sleep lose half as much fat as individuals on the same diet that are getting enough sleep.

But even if you’re more focused on strength training, it’s worth noting that you may need about 7-9 hours of sleep minimum to allow the body to fully recover. Especially the major hormone responsible for muscular regeneration, HGH, is actually triggered by sleep. So staying up all night to watch Breaking Bad actually hinders muscles from regenerating after a training session (Walt causing trouble again!)

It’s also worth noting that when we lose sleep, our insulin sensitivity declines, meaning our body produces excessive amounts of it… which means, you’re likely to feel hungrier, burn fewer calories, and feel less sated after a full meal than one of those smug night sleepers.

Of course, sleeping is easier said than done for some of us… so try to do the following to sleep more and look and feel your best:

Come 2 or 3pm, cut the caffeine. Caffeine has a lifespan of about 8 hours in the body… so quit the coffee and yes, black and green tea, and even chocolate, 8 hours before your bedtime.

Switch off the screens. Ideally within a half hour of your ideal bedtime, cut out artificial blue-light sources – TVs, phones, laptops, kindles. If you really can’t live without them, there are apps that change the blue light to red in the evening, which can help reduce their effect on your circadian rhythms.

Find a bedtime rhythm. A regular bedtime routine will teach your body to yield to sleep, and not fight it. So whether it is a certain piece of music that you play, or a shower you take, or a pyjama you wear every night… train your body to spot the signs of an impending bedtime and welcome sleep like an old friend.

Well… just writing this blog has made us sleepy… so we’re going to switch off our blue device now and snooze.

Slumber well, AB-MXRs!