Juicing: Good Or Bad ?
Fruits and vegetables are good for your body. Juicing fruits and vegetables has become increasingly popular in recent years.
Supporters claim that juicing can improve nutrient absorption, while others say it strips away important nutrients like fiber.
Following is a detailed review of juicing and its health effects, both good and bad.
These are two common types of juicers:
Centrifugal juicers: These juicers grind fruits and vegetables into pulp through a high-speed spinning action.
Cold-press juicers: Also called masticating juicers, these crush and press fruits and vegetables much more slowly to get as much juice as possible.
Cold-press juicers don’t produce heat, so they do not cause the breakdown of beneficial enzymes and nutrients that is thought to happen with centrifugal juicers.
Juice is an Easy Way to Get Lots of Nutrients
Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and plant compounds that may protect against disease.
If you find it difficult to get the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables into your diet each day, juicing can be a convenient way to increase your intake.
One study found that supplementing mixed fruit and vegetable juice over 14 weeks improved participants’ nutrient levels for beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium and folate.
Whole Produce Protects against Disease, But Studies on Juice are Disappointing
There’s plenty of evidence linking wholefruits and vegetables to reduced risk of disease, but studies for fruit and vegetable juices are harder to find.
Nonetheless, other areas of health show more promise. For example, juices may reduce the risk of heart disease. Apple and pomegranate juices have been linked to reduced blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Despite these results, more studies are needed to better understand the health effects of fruit and vegetable juices
Fruits and Veggies Are Best Consumed Whole
You may actually need the fiber content of the fruit or vegetable to experience the plant’s full health benefits.
For example, important antioxidants that are naturally bound to plant fibers are lost in the juicing process. These may play an important role in the health benefits of whole fruits and vegetables.
In fact, up to 90% of fiber is removed during the juicing process, depending on the juicer. Some soluble fiber will remain, but the majority of insoluble fiber is removed.
Potential Health Benefits of Fiber
Higher fiber intakes have been associated with lower risks of heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes.
One study compared whole apples to apple juice. It found that drinking clear apple juice increased LDL cholesterol levels by 6.9%, compared to whole apples. This effect is thought to be due to the fiber content of whole apples.
An observational study showed an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in people who consumed fruit juices, whereas whole fruits were linked to a reduced risk.
Juicing for Weight Loss May be a Bad Idea
Many people use juicing as a way to lose weight.
Most juice “diets” involve consuming around 600–1,000 calories per day from juices only, resulting in a severe calorie deficit and fast weight loss.
However, this is very difficult to sustain for more than a few days.
While juice diets may help you lose weight in the short-term, such a severe calorie restriction can slow your metabolism in the long-term.
This is also likely to lead to nutrient deficiencies in the long-term, since juices lack many important nutrients.
Juices Should Not Replace Meals
Using juices as a meal replacement can be bad for your body.
This is because juice on its own is not nutritionally balanced, since it does not contain sufficient protein or fat.
Consuming enough protein throughout the day is necessary for muscle maintenance and long-term health.
Additionally, healthy fats are important for sustained energy, hormone balance and cell membranes. They may also provide the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.
However, replacing one meal a day with juice is unlikely to cause harm, as long as the rest of your diet is more balanced.
You can make your juice more balanced by adding protein and good fats. Some good sources are whey protein, almond milk, avocados, Greek yogurt and peanut butter.
Take Home Message
Fresh juices contain important vitamins and antioxidants that can benefit your health.
However, fruits and vegetables are still the healthiest and most nutritious when consumed whole.