T Nation

"Juicing Craze" from the Documentary "Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead"?


There has been a semi-recent documentary released in 2010 called “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead” about a man, Joe Cross, who decided to go on a juicing fast for 60 days to get control of his health.

He was able to lose quite a large amount of weight and got off his medications and overall was much healthier. Several years later another documentary, which came out in 2014, gave us an update on how things were going.

I am curious what the take is on ‘juicing’ (putting whole fruits and veggies in a juicer and drinking the juice), whether it aides or hinders you in your efforts to become leaner yet more muscular for the average person looking to make gains in their personal fitness journey.


I was hoping this was going to be about steroids:(

I like a juice now and again but juice only diet seems a particularly silly and miserable low calorie option and we know how successful drastic weight loss is in the long term…


I see nothing wrong with liquefying plants and drinking them, but a juice-only diet would not be a path to gaining or even retaining muscle.

I take that back. It might work if you juiced your meat too. Did he cover that in his documentary?


IMO you can lose a consider amount of fat if you just juice, of course not if you’re drinking a million a day. But is it optimal for muscle growth? Absolutely not. You could add protein powder to the drink and that would help to a degree

Edit: Did you really watch the full 97 minutes? That’s torturous.


I watched both documentaries on a quiet night shift lol. Seems like a good idea for a sedentary overweight population, but definitely not for anyone active. I reckon the reduced calorie intake part of it matters much more than the increased micronutrient aspect they talk so much about in the documentaries when it comes to fat loss (although I’m sure that’s great for your general health).


If you saw the second documentary #2 Joe mentions he did lose muscle. I think it’s a great jump start for people who are “sick” and need to get off meds and heal the body from years of being “sick”. I wouldn’t do the fast long term for someone who is trying to gain muscle or keep the muscle they already have. Maybe incorporate a juice in to their daily routine, but not the entire day.


i tried it to “detox”. its a shit idea… especially if youre an active individual.


and a definite no if youre looking to add muscle solely through drinking juice. it will have great health benefits… just not on its own.


Couple things to take into account:

  1. Liquefying a lot of fruits can cause a considerable amount of sugar consumption. This can be problematic in itself from a blood sugar and insulin stand point. Combine with the proposition of a lot of those fruits being high in fructose with which the body has a limited capacity to metabolize, and it can be even more of a problem.

  2. Juicing mostly eliminates the fiber component of fruits and vegetables. This can increase the elevation of blood sugar from consumption because of rapid digestion. This in turns causes higher secretions of insulin to counter. Aside from the insulin and blood sugar component, a lack of fiber has other negative aspects to it, one being a reduction in fermentation of short chain fatty acids that supply energy to microbes that are colonized within the colon. There is a lot of research about the importance of a health gut microbiome, and fiber consumption plays a big role in that by supplying the energy to those microbes.

  3. If one is just juicing fruits and vegetables there is likely going to be a lack of complete amino acid profiles along with a gap in micronutrients such as B12 and zinc. This wouldn’t be conducive for building muscle.

Overall, it would be a really solid way to get a wide variety of micronutrients from the diversity of fruits and vegetables. It certainly has a place in overall healthy diet, but to use it as your sole source of nutrition would be less than ideal.


Good post Shanz, so a small amount of vegetables and protein (could be a protein shake) with a large amount of juice would be the idéal?


Ideal is relative to your goal. Balancing whole foods like meat, eggs, dairy, vegetables and fruits, combined with several juicing drinks would probably work just fine for most everyone.

If you are speaking in terms of a single meal, whole vegetables would give you some fiber, protein (depending on the source) would give you a complete amino acid profile, and help to slow digestion of the juice drink. This would be a better scenario in most cases for eliminating some of the issues I spoke of in my previous post.


I’ve done a few week long juice fasts and a couple years ago I did 15 days and lost around 21 lbs. I mostly juice vegetables and limit fruit to apples and occasionally grapefruit. I also take multi vitamins and hemp oil while juicing.
The first 3 days I felt almost flu like symptoms as my body detoxed and insulin/blood sugar balanced out. My mouth tasted like butt and I smelled bad in the morning. After day three I started feeling better and about day 7 and on I felt fantastic. I wasn’t hungry, my mind was crystal clear, and I had a ton of energy. I’m planning on starting another one on Monday.
I think to fully benefit from a juice fast you need to have a solid plan on when/how you end the fast. Planning to “wing it” is almost a guaranteed way to lose any if not all the benefits you acquired.