It was right around 2008 when I snagged my first juicer. It was of the black-and-chrome Jack LaLanne variety, and I put it to use with great alacrity, having gullibly believed every second of the infomercials suggesting that juicing would help me to lose weight and having also presumed that I would reap the holistic benefits of consuming copious amounts of the nutrients that were now being loosened from the constraints placed upon them by their plant overlords.
Well, the joke was on me. It’s not that some of the theory wasn’t correct, but my execution was all wrong. I went out and purchased about an entire orchard’s worth of apples, several bags of carrots and a bunch of experimental vegetables that I don’t even like eating under normal circumstances (Raw cucumbers? Blech!) simply because I had the notion in my head that I could extract the nutrients I’d been missing out on from the vegetables I hated and sneak them into my system under the cover of juice.
The result? I think I actually gained five pounds in two weeks.
Whoa! I thought the juice would automatically make you lose weight since you ditched all the solids!
In essence, the juicer can take an item with a caloric content that you would typically burn off during a casual 15-minute bike ride (one entire apple = 95 calories), and condense it into a form that will have you spending an entire evening cursing at Alex Toussaint over the handles of your Peloton screen (the juice from 10 apples = 950 calories).
And don’t think adding carrot juice into the mix was somehow mitigating the damage I was doing to my body. A juicer can take that three-pound bag of baby carrots that would ordinarily divide neatly into five days worth of healthy, 100-calorie afternoon snacks, and turn it into the equivalent of a 500-calorie slice of cake.
That, my friends, is the dirty secret of juice: It eliminates all of the fiber and roughage that would ordinarily slow down your digestive process — and prevent spikes in blood sugar levels — and delivers a concentrated caloric gut punch straight to your liver. Now what you’re doing is essentially drinking a fruity, non-carbonated soda, only with more vitamins in it, and often more calories, too.
Okay, but Naked Juice is really healthy for me! Look at all of the fruit contained in that bottle!
I hate to break it to you, but the idea that fruits (vegetables also, but especially fruits) equate to health is intrinsically flawed, because a fruit stripped of the solid form that holds it together is no longer a fruit, in the same way that ink stripped of its solid form is no longer a soybean, and certainly isn’t a squid.
We already addressed how the outer shell of the fruit influences how your body interacts with the fruit, but now let’s look at it practically. Let’s pick a Naked Juice drink at random. Eeny, meeny, miny, moe… Green Machine. The 15.2 ounce bottle advertises itself as containing the juices of roughly three apples, one-third of a mango, one-twelfth of a pineapple, half of a banana and one-third of a kiwi.
Think about exactly how long it would take you to eat three raw apples of an average size if you crunched your way through them, slowly masticated and swallowed, and then took successive bites. Honestly, by the time you finished one apple, would you seriously reach for a second, and then a third? How long would it take you to finish three apples if you were casually sitting around watching YouTube videos and eating apples? Maybe 15 minutes? Would you then follow it up with substantial portions of four more fruits?
If you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into, drinking a bottle of Naked Juice is like pouring yourself an extra expensive glass of Mountain Dew, and serving it up alongside a weak multivitamin and a chaser full of delusion. It’s because you fully bought into the propaganda on the side of the bottle, and forgot that you would never eat 22 strawberries in a single sitting — let alone follow it up with two apples and a whole banana — because you literally couldn’t do it without causing yourself unbelievable discomfort.