Lets talk smoothies and juicing. You think they are healthy?

Juicing, smoothies, and a lot more have become so popular here in the western culture over the past ten years. Using juicing for detoxing supposedly and believing it is healing because people have written books on it.

From Western sciences view, you can clearly see that juicing and smoothies are hard on and imbalance the digestion and lead to disease… which we will see in the future. In this post, I am only going to show from Western Nutritional science that what is going on out there in the juicing/smoothie/health world and as an added bonus at the end, I will throw in a view on juicing from a Traditional Chinese Medicine view.

Starting from the beginning, the nuts and bolts of it:

Lack of Proper Digestion
From a Western science view (not and ayurvedic view), your digestive system breaks down nutrients you consume in food, converting them into small molecules that your cells, tissues and organs use as fuel and for hundreds of metabolic functions. It takes hours to complete this complex process depending on the persons digestion as well as the quality and the quantity of the food ingested. This results in simple sugars, fatty acids, glycerol and amino acids. After you break food into small pieces by chewing it, specialized enzymes made in different parts of your digestive tract act on it to finalize the process.

The beginning of digestion… the most important part:
As food enters the mouth, otherwise known as the “Buccal Cavity”, and mechanical digestion of the food starts by the action of mastication, a form of mechanical digestion, and the wetting contact of saliva. Saliva, a liquid secreted by the salivary glands, contains salivary amylase, an enzyme which starts the digestion of starch in the food. After undergoing mastication and starch digestion, the food will be in the form of a small, round slurry mass called a bolus.

The enzyme is made in two places. First, salivary glands in your mouth make salivary amylase, which begins the digestive process by breaking down starch when you chew your food, converting it into maltose, a smaller carbohydrate. When starchy foods like rice begin to break down in your mouth, you might detect a slightly sweet taste as maltose is released. Saliva is secreted in large amounts (1-1.5 litres/day) by three pairs of exocrine salivary glands (parotid, submandibular, and sublingual) in the oral cavity, and is mixed with the chewed food by the tongue. Saliva cleans the oral cavity, moistens the food, and contains digestive enzymes such as salivary amylase, which aids in the chemical breakdown of polysaccharides such as starch into disaccharides such as maltose. It also contains mucus, a glycoprotein that helps soften the food and form it into a bolus and also make proteins resistant to proteolysis by digestive enzymes. Proteolytic processing of polypeptide chain after its synthesis is necessary for the production of an active protein. It is also important in the regulation of some physiological and cellular processes, as well as preventing the accumulation of unwanted or abnormal proteins in cells. Then also an additional enzyme, lingual lipase, hydrolyzes long-chain triglycerides into partial glycerides and free fatty acids.

Without this very mandatory beginnings of digestion, the rest does not happen correctly and imbalance and disease ensues.

Amylase is a digestive enzyme that acts on starch in food, breaking it down into smaller carbohydrate molecules. This is necessary for the body to be able to absorb sugars and use them for energy. Amylase also helps break down starch, the main storage form of sugar in the plants we ingest, and allows for its digestion. Amylase can be detected in the blood in small amounts, but high levels of amylase can help in the diagnosis and monitoring of pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas.

Lingual lipase is a member of a family of digestive enzymes called lipases that use the catalytic triad of Aspartate, Histidine, and Serine to hydrolyze long-chain triglycerides into partial glycerides and free fatty acids. It digests fat. The enzyme, released into the mouth along with the saliva, catalyzes the first reaction in the digestion of dietary lipid, with diglycerides being the primary reaction product. However, due to the unique characteristics of lingual lipase, including a pH optimum 4.5 -5.4 and its ability to catalyze reactions without bile salts, the lipolytic activity continues through to the stomach. Enzyme release is signaled by autonomic nervous system after ingestion, at which time the serous glands under the circumvallate and foliate papillae on the surface of the tongue secrete lingual lipase to the grooves of the circumvallate and foliate papillae. The hydrolysis of the dietary fats is essential for fat absorption by the small intestine, as long chain triacyglycerides cannot be absorbed, and as much as 30% of fat is hydrolyzed within 1 to 20 minutes of ingestion by lingual lipase alone. The concentrations of total lipids in parotid, submandibular and whole stimulated saliva average 0.2, 0.9 and 1.3 mg/dl, respectively. Cholesteryl esters, cholesterol, triglycerides, diglycerides, monoglycerides and free fatty acids accounted for 96-99 percent of the total salivary lipids. Thus, polar lipids such as phospholipids contribute only a minor fraction, indicating that the lipids are not primarily of membrane origin meaning they must be in a different state of aggregation from lipids in blood or lymph.

Lipases digest fats or triglycerides into free fatty acids and glycerol. Cellulases, which are not found in the human system, break the bonds found in fiber. By disrupting the structure of the fiber matrices or cell walls which envelop most of the nutrients in plants, cellulase increases the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables.

Okay, so what all does that mean?????????

The act of chewing a solid food not only breaks down the food into smaller particles but also releases several liquids that start the digestive process in not only digestion of stuff but it also makes the food into a clump that sticks together to be digested in the rest of the digestive process.

What if this piece of digestion is skipped? Well, the rest of the digestion does not happen properly. If a piece is missed, not predigested the further digestive actions are hampered.

What if the meal is liquid already? Notice that the body naturally creates chewed food into a bolus, not a liquid. The natural digestive processes that take place in chewing are missed as well as the natural holding together of those materials for further digestion.

From just this you may be able to see the multitude of diseases that are being caused by not chewing enough. Lets now put this view into drinking your meals. Does the body cope well with having excessive dense nutrients poured down a gullet without the beginning phases of digestion doing their jobs?

Why has there been a huge increase of digestive diseases (and other diseases) since juicing and making smoothies became popular? Hmmmmm? More diseases but yet we are eating “healthier”? (scratch of the head)

Amylase deficiency is associated with severe problems. Skin problems including eczema, psoriasis, allergic reactions, dermatitis, etc. Amylase deficiency is also known to trigger respiratory distress and contribute to asthma attacks. Skin breakouts, hypoglycemia, depression, mood swings and allergies have all been found to also be connected to amalyse deficiency. In severe cases, individuals may suffer from chronic pancreatitis, hepatitis or pancreatic cancer. Amylase digests carbohydrates (converts them to sugars) along with dead white blood cells. When you are low in amylase you are a candidate for blood sugar imbalances, Hypoglycemia, Type II Diabetes, carbohydrate cravings and allergies. Amylase is also involved in anti-inflammatory reactions such as those caused by the release of histamine and similar substances. Asthma and emphysema may also be exacerbated by an amylase deficiency.

Improper lingual lipase in digestion leads to malabsorption disorders as well aching feet, arthritis, bladder problems, cystitis, acne, gall bladder stress, gallstones, hay fever, prostate problems, psoriasis, urinary weakness, constipation, diarrhea, and heart problems as just a few of the many symptoms and diseases of deficiency. Since lipase digests fat, fat-soluble vitamins and balances fatty acids. Lipase deficient people can be expected to have a tendency towards high cholesterol, high triglycerides and difficulty losing weight. The future outcome of these tendencies is heart disease, which kills more Americans than any other disease. Lipase deficient people also have decreased cell permeability, meaning nutrients cannot get in and the waste cannot get out.

If you’re digesting your food better, does that mean that you get more nutrition from it? Yes!  If your not digesting your food properly you are not. Does not matter how “healthy” the meal is at this point. Longer chewing has been shown to increase the amount of protein your body can absorb from foods and put to use in building your system. Drinking your food will have the opposite effect. The first step of digestion is needed for the rest of the digestive process to function properly.

If you really want to be healthy, stop looking outside yourself to find stuff to make you healthy. Start looking inside at how you are functioning. It does not matter the amount of healthy food you are putting in if you are not digesting it properly. It will only result in toxicity. Putting higher density of nutrients in will only make the matters worse. Add to that making that high level of sugar and nutrients and you are creating problems.

The funny thing about all of this is that we will feed ourselves the most popular diets that are supposed to be healthy and then those diets are actually creating the problems that we end up taking digestive enzymes and other supplements for.

Your body knows what to do naturally. We are the ones that are inhibiting health from happening with unnatural food combinations, eating habits, and diets.

So what does this say about juice cleanses? Are you really cleansing your body when you are destroying the capability of the body to digest?

Natural Problems of Eating Raw Foods
Cruciferous vegetables need to be cooked before eating. They contain chemicals that stop the production of thyroid hormone in your body. Symptoms of the disease of hypothyroidism are cold hands and feet, thinning hair, fatigue, reduced or nonexistent libido, coarse dry hair, constipation, difficulty losing weight, and depression, etc… By cooking the crucifers 2/3 of the chemicals are reduced. These include arugula, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, cabbage, turnip, collard greens, bok choy, brussels sprouts, radish, rutabaga, and watercress. Eating cooked food has more of an impact on digestibility as well.

Oxalic acid is a very irritating substance to the mouth and intestinal tract and is found in spinach, chard, parsley, chives, purslane and beet greens. Oxalic acid stops the absorption of iron and calcium and causes the formation of kidney stones. Eating raw potatoes disrupt red blood cell function due to the hemagglutinins that they contain. Raw sweet potatoes are indigestible. Raw mushrooms have toxic carcinogen substances and once again cooking them destroys those substances in the mushrooms. Alfalfa sprouts have an immune inhibiting effect on the system as well as they are mildly toxic and cause inflammatory arthritis and lupus.

Quantity and Denseness

The quantity of nutrients that are being ingested is quite enormous compared to the amount that you would eat if just cooked. This is heavy nutrient dense foods which then are quite hard to digest due to the nutrient denseness of the drink. Think about what that is doing to the system. We think that we can just throw something in and it digests but this is so wrong. As a liquid, blended or juiced, the substance does not have any bulk to hold it together and move through the digestive system at a beneficial speed to be properly digested. This is something that the Western science does not have any awareness of yet. A liquid diet will cause imbalance in the digestive system and inturn create disease. Liquid moves fast through the digestive and if it was just water that we were talking about that would be fine but it is a huge amount of heavy and hard to digest nutrients that are in juicing. In just several years from now we will see many people suffering from malabsorption diseases as well as other diseases solely caused by the juicing craze alone. When it comes to sugar, rapid absorption is not a good thing. A big glass of fresh juice provokes a big release of insulin from the pancreas, this in turn messes with your digestion and causes what is thought of as sugar high and crash. It makes you hungry but without the ability to digest what you eat in the end. The stress on the pancreas and over stimulation, over a period of time, creates a loss of cell sensitivity to insulin and your pancreas can’t produce enough, this is otherwise known as Type 2 diabetes.

The quantity of substance that consumed is much larger than what you would eat. Think about it for a moment, how many apples would you eat at once? Okay, now think of how many go into making that juice. As it is we Westerners tend to supersize everything. Now, supersize something that is nutrient dense, already hard to digest, moves through the digestive system at a high speed and is also uncooked, cold or room temp. This is actually disaster waiting to happen over time.

Just for fun, below is a table to ponder upon. While doing so you can also think about the excessive amounts of nutrients, vitamins, minerals as well as flooding the body with antioxidants. Which in the trickle down and watering down of the science until it hits the masses years later. All this hype on antioxidants is not all it is hyped to be and we will see pretty soon that free radicals are needed in the body. (this is the ongoing blunder of Western nutritional science, cholesterol was the last one) It has already been proven that taking high dose antioxidants reduces the benefit you get from exercise. We also know that the normal production of free radicals in the body triggers the body’s own antioxidant defenses and we have seen in the past nutritional science disasters how taking something in excess only creates another imbalance somewhere else. (i.e. calcium supplementation creates other mineral deficiencies and imbalances that will also increase your risk of heart disease, kidney stones, gallstones, osteoarthritis, hypothyroidism, obesity and type 2 diabetes) Using Western science here, other studies in nematodes, which are a type of worm used for study of free radicals, shows that big doses of antioxidants actually shorten their lifespan. There are also no clinical trials that showed any benefits from increasing antioxidant intake more than what is found in one’s normal diet. In fact, to the opposite, there have been studies that show that free radical production (reactive oxygen species) are fundamental to maintain normal health, you excessively try to get rid of free radicals = you killing yourself. this like every other thing going on in the body is in a normal balance when a person lives a normal life and eats normally in moderation.



This all goes much further and much more detailed as you can easily put together that Western exercise creates free radicals in the body which have been shown to cause damage. This is the point where the knowledge stops and from this the entire supplement world has made their billions on antioxidant supplements and feeding on your fear. What I mean by this is maybe you should question what the West thinks exercise and health is. This is just one of many article starting to filter thru the mass ignorance of bootcamp and beat yourself up fitness. Everything you know about fitness is a lie

Remember, what we know in the West keeps changing not because we are growing and learning more from the apex but because we know very little and most of what we know comes from a every changing foundational knowledge as well. Western nutrition has only been around for what, 45 years or so? I can tell you from when I started over 25 years ago, there is massive amounts of information and misinformation out there when there was hardly anything back in the late 80s. Same with Western exercise science has been around even less time. Yoga asana, is in direct opposition to what Western exercise is and the results of. It is also time tested of centuries and does have its own understanding of physiology that is not understood in the West and is not Western science based. That is a completely different post though.


Back to the excessive nutrients in juicing….. The World Health Organization recommends that you limit your intake of added sugars to no more than 10% of your calories. If you are an average sized adult, ten percent of your calories is maybe around 50 grams of sugar, or the equivalent of 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar. Below is some facts on a few of the main fruits to understand about the nutrients density of juice versus eating the fruit.


One 8-oz. glass of orange juice has close to 2.5 times the sugar and just one-third the fiber of a typical piece of fruit. The small juice contains 112 calories, 0.1 g dietary fiber, and 20.8 g sugar, while the fruit has 45 calories, 2.3 g dietary fiber, and 9 g sugar.


An 8-oz. apple juice has roughly twice the sugar but less than one-tenth the fiber of a medium-sized apple. Juice has 120 calories, 0.3 g dietary fiber, and 27.2 g sugar; the fruit has 72 calories, 3.3 g dietary fiber, and 14.3 g sugar.


A glass of grape juice contains — once again — about 2.5 times as much sugar as the same volume of fruit (one cup of grapes), although with about half as much fiber. Juice has 154 calories, 0.3 g dietary fiber, and 37.6 g sugar; a cup of grapes has 62 calories, 0.8 g dietary fiber, and 15 g sugar.


An 8-oz. juice has not quite twice the sugar contained in the same volume of fruit (one cup of diced pineapple), with roughly one quarter the fiber. Juice has 140 calories, 0.5 g dietary fiber, and 34 g sugar; a cup of fruit has 74 calories, 2.2 g dietary fiber, and 14.4 g sugar.

Food Combining

Lets throw another thing about juicing out there to think of. It is not usually just an apple that is being turned into this liquid meal but now we throw all kinds stuff like fruits, milks, ice, oils, nuts, seeds, avocado, nut butters, oils, protein powders, herbs and crushed up supplements together which even by Western food combining standards much of the combining that is done is indigestible. What do you think it turns into? Toxicity. Morbid metabolic toxicity. Food combining (which is how foods digest or do not digest when eaten with other foods) has been known to the Western world since the early 1900’s, has still not been blended into the Western nutritional education yet it has been scientifically verified. Check out the book, Food Combining Made Easy by Dr. Herbert Shelton for more information on that.

Food Combining Made Easy

And then just for the last bit of info on juicing if you are a vegetarian. Vegetarians in the West have been shown to have a high chance of B12 deficiency. A common myth amongst vegetarians and vegans is that it’s possible to get B12 from plant sources like seaweed, fermented soy, spirulina and brewers yeast. But plant foods said to contain B12 actually contain B12 analogs called cobamides that block intake of and increase the need for true B12.

From a Chinese Medicine point of view

First off, I am not a TCM doctor so this is only a basic Chinese Medicine understanding. TCM is very similar to Ayurveda and also based on the principle that over indulgence is just as harmful to the system as under indulgence. A balanced medium is the key to health. The spleen and stomach are the center of health, as they responsibly work to supply the body with nutrition from the food and drink we consume. They are the central engine of the body. The more efficiently these systems work, the better we feel physically, mentally, and emotionally. In TCM, most raw vegetables are cooling in nature and all fruits are cooling. The spleen/stomach requires a certain amount of heat to complete it’s processes. Juicing does not have anyway to change the potency of the foods in the way that cooking does.

Another issue from a TCM is the food combining, the body digests things like fruit and veggies differently, so if you are combining them that can cause some trouble in digestion/energy extraction. Mango’s in particular are quite cool, as are cucumbers and spinach.

Overload the digestive system with alcohol, rich foods, too hard to digest foods, or simply too much food and you will feel sluggish, mentally foggy, and even emotionally depressed. Our body will deal with overload like this in it’s own way, through the liver, colon, and excretion. The best ways to support the digestive system according to Chinese medicine is to consume regular meals of warm, cooked food. Sweet potatoes, steamed squashes, aromatic spices like cinnamon and black pepper, soups and stews are especially nourishing to boost the spleen and stomach – pretty much the antithesis of raw, cold, juices. Perhaps, juice fasting leaves our digestive systems in greater havoc than a big meal, dessert and three cocktails. The excess cool moisture impedes the function of the spleen and pancreas, thereby weakening these primary digestive organs. This leads to “internal damp”. Damp has a tendency to congeal into Phlegm. Health problems such as chronic or recurrent thrush, sinusitis and bronchitis, to name but a few, are expressions of internal damp and/or phlegm. The spleen-pancreas is deficient, hence the fluids are incorrectly transformed and transported. Symptoms such as sinusitis and bronchitis are created or aggravated by the excessive consumption of cooling and moisturising cooking methods and foods such as raw fruit and their juices.

In TCM, the Liver, Kidneys/ Bladder, Intestines, Lungs and Skin are our built in “cleansing” organs. They filter out the bad stuff that we put into our bodies and help us get rid of it so that we don’t poison ourselves and make ourselves sick. In theory, cleansing works by encouraging these organs get rid of the bad stuff, but in ways that are too extreme as well as unnecessary or potentially harmful. One of the issues is that many people cleanse to make up for bad eating and lifestyle habits, kind of like taking vitamins and eating only fast food. Many toxins and metabolites are stored in fat cells. When the body uses and loses fat in this rapid and extreme way, those toxins flood into the blood stream and cause you to feel sick or flu like. This in the Western world is supposedly good and means you are detoxing but that is so far from true.

If you want to be healthy, you need to eat well and live correctly. Period. No amount of juicing or cleansing will make up for poor eating habits and poor lifestyle choices.

There is more reasons i could write about but is this not enough?

So now do you really think that juicing and smoothies are healthy?

and for those who need more than someone’s blog..
“There’s little evidence that detox diets actually remove toxins from the body. Most ingested toxins are efficiently and effectively removed by the kidneys and liver and excreted in urine and stool.” Worse, Detox diets and all this popular healthy trendy propaganda ultimately perpetuate the belief that our bodies are inefficient on their own and are inherently harboring pathological material unless we do something about it. It also contributes to the myth that if we regularly indulge in unhealthy habits, that we will have the opportunity to reverse those effects by a quick detox.

other references for perusal:







8 thoughts on “Lets talk smoothies and juicing. You think they are healthy?

  1. Hello,

    I am not sure if you receive e-mails through that address, but I give a shot.

    I am so glad that I discovered this blog, I really do appreciate your sharing your knowledge with us. My name is Bulgu and I am from Turkey. I don’t want to take your time, so here is my question in case you would like to response: I have sometime this summer (2 months) and I’d like to go to India and take Ayurveda classes. I know 2 months will not be enough to build a proper knowledge on the subject but can be a good start. Can you please suggest me a place where I can get proper classes?

    Thank you so much in advance! Best wishes, Bulgu

    • Hi Bulgu. Thank you for your comment and your time you have taken to do so. I am glad you are finding value in the blog. I hope that my path takes me to turkey someday, so much in the culture there.
      2 months will only give you a very very basic start to understanding Ayurveda. Unfortunately i have to say that Ayurveda is almost completely lost in India. I live there 6 months of the year to continue to study vedic sciences myself with my teachers. What you will find is a lot of commercialized programs of certifications and i would not go that route if you are truly wanting a real education. 2 months can give you a pretty good start on the journey that will take years of study though. Since the doctorate education of Ayurveda is 5.5 years in a university and then there is still a huge lack of actual Ayurvedic knowledge in that, it leaves very little opportunity to really grasp this knowledge. It simply cannot be had in a certificate program and that is most of what is being taught out there. How do we find authentic education? Well, as someone that has gone thru three “programs”, the last one was a 3 year course in America, I would say that your not gonna find it there.
      My answer is that one of my teachers and i are working on putting together a program online that is a study in one of the original texts. This is how Ayurveda is supposed to be taught, not a variation made for a mindset outside the paradigm but study from the text actually makes your paradigm change to learn it. It is an experience, not a course you take and fit into your paradigm. This is real ayurveda.
      I hope i am communicating this clear.

      Ayurveda cannot be understood from a modern culture paradigm, this is why it has been turned into the diet plan stuff in the west, for easy consumption. That is not ayurveda at all.

      So that would be my answer. Otherwise i can put you in touch with one of my teachers to start to study the real thing. None of them have a course to take. It is all very organic and without structure. This is very hard to do from a modern mindset. It also means that it takes years to go thru.

      The other option would be to do any one of the many number of courses that are offered all over the place. It is a totally different thing. Depends what you are in for. 2 months will in no way make you a practitioner or teacher of anything unlike what we are producing these days. this is the downfall of ayurveda as well as yoga and all of these beautiful vedic sciences.

      You can email me at brad.yantzer@gmail.com for further correspondence. As i do not want to give personal details out in public.

    • Sure. I usually just drink boiled, spiced milk for breakfast as I’m usually not too hungry in the morning. I usually swish in my mouth before I swallow but am just curious if this is not proper because of what you said about juice/liquid foods. From what I understand, milk is a very important food but the milk I get is not fresh. It’s whole, local (produced pretty short distance from my city), organic, unhomogonized cow milk which is allegedly pasteurized to the bare minimum of the law. I bring to a boil with ginger, black pepper, nutmeg, turmeric, and either sugar or honey after its cooled. Can you also clarify the heating of honey? I hear from some people not to heat it at all, and some that it’s okay to put in warm liquid. I usually add raw honey to milk that is about 40 degrees Celsius.

    • It is a great question. First what needs to be understood is that your and individual and also that nothing at all is good as a meal all year around as everything changes. What i mean by all of that is that the seasons change, so does the day. as well this all affects the individuals system and the individual also has their baseline that they are working from and their imbalance. If you understand those you are golden.
      Milk itself is heavy and cold. Fresh milk is light in its own quality to digest, different milks are different in their qualities. Water buffalo milk is very heavy and is much of the time thrown in with cows milk in India. Getting fresh milk is not easy in most places now a days.
      Nothing on this blog can be taken as a golden rule. Everything has to be understood together with the bigger picture.

      So say your digestion is not good. in the winter milk boiled with spices is fine. in summer, it is dependent upon the persons digestive capacity. Also the amount of milk one is consuming matters greatly. 400 ml vs 100ml is very different. There is a post with the seasonal regime for you to understand how that works in general. look it up.

      Is the milk boiled or out of the fridge…… big difference. Foods coming out of the refrigerator are harder to digest. They keep the qualities that are gained from being put in the fridge.

      Breakfast time is usually a time of kapha depending on the time of year and the time so one is calling breakfast but in general a light meal is taken. not kapha provoking foods. So in that way milk is not the best breakfast and is better to be had for a lunch or dinner.

      It really all comes down to the persons digestive capacity first.

      The way someone drinks it will also have an affect on how it is digested. if the temp of the milk is hot, someone will sip the milk. Better digestion because of both the amount consumed and the temp. Meanwhile, if someone take large gulps and is running off to work while doing so, the digestion is hampered.

      There is a blog on honey you can read. no heating of honey ever. I know that there has been western research done on heating honey but all of it is trying to see what Ayurveda is talking about from its own lens and then making findings using their own lens as well. Doesn’t work that way, ever. So no heating of honey at all. Not even in tea.

    • Hmmm okay thanks a lot. Ya I usually drink the milk slow, and typically between 1 to 2 cups. I will check out those posts you mentioned.

  2. Pingback: Oil Pulling: An ancient Ayurvedic treatment, or is it? | trueayurveda

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