Pros and Cons
machines, books about juicing - even juice bars - are starting to
pop up all over the place. And the claims made about juicing are
amazing, enticing, and provocative. People in the developed world eat
far too few fruits and vegetables (and way too much processed and
junk foods), and juicing can make up for that by making it possible
to get the food value of many, many servings of fruits and vegetables
in a single glass. The proponents of juicing - which involves
removing all or almost all pulp and fiber from these foods and making
them into a drinkable "juice" - have said that drinking these
juices allows greater nutrient intake and density, more exposure to
antioxidants (which can retard the aging process), can kill pain, and
reduce the need for medication. What's the real story?
Some people simply don't like to eat fruits and vegetables. So they
avoid them as much as possible, missing out on a lot of good basic
nutrition and trace elements. Such people also tend to fill up on
other foods to compensate, which in some cases can lead to excessive
calorie intake, weight gain, and nutritional imbalance. Juicing can
make it quick and simple to get many servings' worth of vegetable
or fruit goodness in a single quickly-prepared glass. For example,
it's quite possible for a large serving of juice to contain all the
enzymes, calories, water, trace elements, and natural sugars from
of fruits and vegetables. Can you imagine trying to eat five pounds
for breakfast - and succeeding? I didn't think so.
Not only are the "juiced" nutrients more densely packed than they
are in the whole fruit or vegetable, but for many people juicing is
easy and fun and encourages them to try out new and potentially
healthy additions to their diets that they wouldn't have tried
otherwise. There are now a huge number of juicing recipes that you
can find on the Internet, and thousands of other juicing enthusiasts
have discovered combinations that, they say, make the most prosaic of
veggies taste delightful. And, whatever recipes you might find, you
can add your favorite ingredients to the blend and find the mix
that's just right for you!
It's possible to add protein to the mix for more complete nutrition
and even better flavor. Some high-protein ingredients are yogurt,
flax seed, peanut butter, finely ground nuts, and almond milk.
(and things to watch out for):
Juiced fruits and vegetables can go bad very quickly. The same good
stuff that your body craves is attractive to microorganisms too. And
juiced veggies and fruits don't have the chemical preservatives
that processed foods and drinks do, so they start to rot almost
immediately. So, to prevent your new juice blend from going bad, make
sure and make just enough for you and your family to drink that same
day (and immediately freeze whatever portion you're going to drink
later). In fact, for maximum freshness it's best to make just
enough to consume right there on the spot (and make sure your
sources, like your farmers' market or grocery store, provide
absolute freshness too). Frozen juice can keep its full food value
for up to three days.
Though juicing fanatics might regard this as blasphemy, consider
blending (yes, in a common kitchen blender) instead of juicing on
some occasions. Blenders retain the fiber, unlike juicers which
remove it. And fiber is very, very good for you. So why eliminate
all of it, all the time? Fiber adds bulk and helps fill you up too
(especially important if you're trying to lose weight).
Be very skeptical of "too good to be true" claims: they probably
are "too good" and "not true." High-pressure sales of juicing
products, even sometimes with celebrity endorsements and multi-level
marketing, accompanied by claims of "total life-changing" or
"cheating death" experiences, should make you leery. These kinds
of sales pitches are almost always linked with wildly overpriced
juicing products. And you should discount claims that you ought to
avoid solid food and subsist only on juice; that could lead to
serious nutritional deficiencies. Claims that juicing gives you more
nutrients than you'd get from eating the same foods whole (because,
supposedly, the fiber that juicing removes "gets in the way" of
absorption) are also suspect, and decrease the credibility of those
Look around the major online marketplaces like Ebay and Amazon to see
what price ranges the different kind of juicing supplies are falling
into these days. Then you'll know what's out there and how much
it usually costs if you decide to explore the many juicing specialty
sites that are online these days.
Don't neglect health and juicing discussion forums on the Internet.
There you can find uncensored and (usually) unbiased personal stories
and reviews by those who've tried juicing and juicing products.
If you concentrate your juicing efforts mainly on fruits (and many
do), you'll be getting a lot of sugar in your diet, and that can
add up. Try to strike a balance between fruits and vegetables. (And
nutritionists recommend varying the colors of the foods you choose,
too, to get a good mix of nutrients.) These days, there are many
sites on the Internet which give calorie counts for almost any
conceivable food. Remember, you're in charge, and you're doing
this to take control of your own nutrition, so take the job seriously
and do the research.
Make sure and thoroughly clean your juicer after each use. The bad
bacteria that can make your juice start to go bad after sitting out
for even as little as half an hour also start working - just as
fast - on the food residues and particles in all the nooks and
crannies of your juicing machine. You don't want to be adding this
morning's bacteria population to this evening's juice! Also wash
all utensils, wash the fruits and vegetables themselves to remove any
dirt, pesticides, or bacteria, and also keep all your implements and
cutting boards scrupulously clean at all times.
line: Juicing doesn't give you anything that eating non-juiced
whole veggies or fruits wouldn't give you. And there's a lot of
healthy fiber that you don't get if you just consume juiced fruits
and vegetables - the juicing process removes it all. But, if you
already have enough fiber in your diet, and if you have historically
been doing very poorly at eating a healthy number of servings of
these essential foods, then juicing can be an easy way to ramp up
your consumption of some of the healthiest foods you can eat, and you
can have a lot of fun in the process! Just don't go too hog wild on
the fruits and ignore the vegetables, since many fruits have a high
sugar content that can lead to weight gain and other problems if
carried to excess. Juice away!
Anna. "Juicing for Health and Weight Loss," WebMD,
retrieved April 5, 2014.
C.E., et al. "100% Orange juice consumption is associated with
better diet quality, improved nutrient adequacy, decreased risk for
obesity, and improved biomarkers of health in adults," National
Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2003-2006. Nutrition
Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide. 4th ed.
Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons; 2012.
G. "A comparison of nutrient density scores for 100% fruit juices,"
of Food Science.