Is Juicing Healthy?
Juicing is a trend that has been around for awhile now. It involves, extracting the liquid out of a fruit or vegetable and removing the pulp and fibre. This, theoretically, leaves only the nutrient dense, easily absorbable, nectar behind.
That thinking can be problematic for a number of reasons:
1. Fibre is extremely important.
Fibre is our friend and most Canadians do not get enough. It slows gastric emptying, which keeps you satiated longer and ensures a steady release of sugar. It helps to lower cholesterol, feed the beneficial gut bacteria, and keeps everything moving through the digestive tract. When it is removed from juice, all the sugar goes into the bloodstream at one time, it is quickly absorbed, spiking blood glucose and thus insulin. But, if a piece of fruit is consumed whole, or even in a smoothie, the fibre is retained, digestion is slowed, and the sugars are released gradually. This is not an issue with most vegetable juices since most above ground veggies are naturally low in sugar, but it does tend to make them less delicious to consume.
2. Many commercially made juices contain a large amount of fruit juice.
Since most consumers want their drink to taste good, many juices include apple, pineapple, carrot and beet to offset the less desirable tasting vegetables. They also do not list the amount of each ingredient, leaving the consumer to feel they are getting a healthy drink, when in reality, it is mostly fruit juice.
3. Non-organic juices contain concentrated herbicides and pesticides
If you are looking to cleanse or detox the last thing you want to consume chemicals. To make a cup of juice it often requires using many fruits and vegetables, this can lead to a highly concentrated amount of herb/pesticides.
4. Fruit and vegetable juices are not meal replacements
They lack the fat, protein and fat-soluble vitamins necessary for a balanced diet. Long-term cleanses can leave you nutritionally deficient. If you are considering a cleanse, think about adding a protein powder and chia seeds as a way to add protein, fat and fibre.
These are only a few points to consider, when thinking about undertaking a juice cleanse or even just occasional consumption, but to answer the question, "is juicing healthy?" the answer is, yes and no. It depends on how you are doing it and what is in the juice. It can be an excellent way to deliver a large dose of vitamins and minerals all at once, or a delicious treat on occasion. It is a great way of getting a few servings of those dark leafy greens, but if that green juice tastes sweet you are probably getting more sugar than you bargained for. It can be done in a healthy and nutritionally balanced way or in a way that leaves you worse off than you were before. All that being said, juicing is not a bad thing, it is just not the panacea it once claimed to be.
If you are considering juicing for detox or weight loss or would like to know about your optimal nutrition book your appointment today at Aspire Naturopathic Health Centre.
Take good care!