Probably one of the most common questions I get from clients is,

“What do you think about juicing?”

And with juice bars popping up left and right and multiple celebrity endorsements, it’s hard not to think you could be missing out on something, right?  So what’s the deal?  Is it worth the $8 price tag for 16-ounces of the stuff?  Probably not, but if you’re a juice drinker, no need to give it up.

Juicing 101

First of all, let’s start with the basics and look at what juicing is.  Juicing is the process of extracting the juice from fruits or vegetables through a variety of different ways, including pressing, masticating, squeezing, etc., however, most juices today are sold with the added disclaimer of being cold-pressed, which claims that fewer nutrients are lost in the processing in comparison to other methods that use blades to extract the juice.  The belief is that these blades generate heat that when spun, destroy the heat and light-sensitive vitamins and minerals in the fruits and vegetables.  And while there may be a marginal loss of nutrients as a result of this method of extraction, there’s little to no research that I can find to uphold the claim that all or most of the nutrients are destroyed.

Sugar Content

There’s seems to be this notion that because juices are rich in nutrients, it’s a way to rationalize their sugar content.  Juices have been so heavily marketed for their health benefits, that a lot of  people have lost sight of the fact that they could be taking in 50-100 g of sugar at a time.  And while I’m starting to see juices that are more conscious of sugar content, the truth is that most still contain quite a bit of it, due to the amount of fruit being used.  Because let’s be honest, most people don’t want to drink a juice that tastes like parsley and celery.  They’re looking for a sweeter taste, which, of course, comes from using multiple pieces of fruit, as it takes three apples just to get one cup of juice.

The other thing to consider, is that a lot of people are drinking these in conjunction to meals, so if you have a juice that has 70 g of sugar, and drink it alongside of a sandwich, you’re going to be taking in a lot of carbs, and likely calories, at once, which may work against your health goals.  If you are going to have some juice, look for smaller servings or choose one that is lighter in fruit and heavier on the veggies, or shucks, just eat an orange.

The Missing Ingredient… Fiber

Fiber is the component of vegetables and fruits that is referred to as roughage, which is mostly indigestible, and what is also, for the most part, lost in the juicing process. Fiber adds bulk and volume to your belly, helping to not only fill you up but keep you fuller for longer periods of time.  In addition, it aids in digestion, overall GI health, and blood sugar control, as fiber can slow down the absorption of carbohydrates into our bloodstream, helping to prevent big spikes in blood sugar levels.  When you drink juice, on the other hand, it’s digested much more quickly and, in comparison to eating a whole apple, won’t fill you up; at least not for long.

Juice Detoxes

The trend of liquid cleanses has supercharged the diet industry, attracting a myriad of followers, leading us all to believe that juicing has the ability to remove toxic and harmful substances from your body.  Many will go on juice fasts or juice detoxes with the hope and belief of restoring health, purging toxins, and losing weight, but time and time again, research tells us that there is little, if any, evidence to show that any of these types of cleanses benefit our overall health. Sure, drinking only juice for a few days will likely lead to weight loss, but how sustainable is that?  And as soon as you resume normal eating, the weight will return. Don’t get me wrong, incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your day goes hand-in-hand with improved health but going on an extreme cleanse like this is not only necessary, but it could be dangerous.  It’s also important to note that juices contain little to no protein or fat, which can lead to feelings of hunger and lethargy, and is certainly something I would advise against doing for any extended period of time.  Because honestly, I see it only causing more harm than good.

We have an incredible built-in detox system, which is called our liver, and if you are in good health, your liver does an amazing  job at processing any potentially harmful chemicals and excreting them out of the body.  You’d be much better off caring for your liver by staying hydrated, limiting alcohol and added sugar, and of course, eating more fruits and vegetables.

Bottom Line

If someone asks, I will always recommending choosing whole fruits and vegetables over juice but, I’ll also never tell anyone to stop drinking it.  For those who struggle to get in an adequate amount of fruits and veggies a day juicing may be helpful, but it’s not the only way.  Smoothies are an excellent way to pack in a couple of servings of fruits and veggies AND keep the fiber, oh, and they’re delicious.

Give this guy a try- Chocolate Avocado Banana Smoothie

 

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