Juicing: Miracle or Myth?
Let’s face it, juicing is easy. It’s much easier for us to consume the recommended five a day in one easy-to-make smoothie or shake than it is to individually prepare a meal incorporating each. Many companies have capitalized on the juicing craze selling convenience and health benefits as a reason to buy their products, but is there actually any credibility to their claims? We decided to investigate.
For the purpose of this article, juicing is considered as the removal of pure juice from a vegetable or fruit.
Firstly, juicing is not any healthier than eating whole foods. In fact, while most of the vitamins and minerals are retained, the healthy fibre is lost in the skins etc. techncally making it less beneficial. However, extracting the juice will also make those fruits and vegetables more tolerable, as they are blended together into one taste rather than eaten separately.
Fruit and vegetable juice contain a high amount of natural sugar, and thus need to be regulated. Due to the small amount of juice from each item, it’s easy to go overboard and throw in many more fruits and vegetables than you normally would, one pear here, two bananas there, next minute you have a fructose cocktail. Excess sugar is converted into fat by the body, defeating the purpose of juicing in the first place – it’s less healthy and causes fat gain.
On the other hand, research identifies that the government’s recommendation of 5 a day only scratches the surface when it comes to antioxidant intake. Nutritionists now recommend at least 8-10 portions of fruit and vegetables a day, which, is simply impractical. This is where juicing assists. It’s impossible to achieve this level of nutrients naturally with whole foods, while relatively simple with juicing.
Of course, eating the fruits and vegetables whole would be a better choice, but that doesn’t necessarily make juicing a “fad” or bad thing. Humans have long derived ways of separating ingredients from foods, take olive oil as an example. Just because it’s in an oil format doesn’t make it any less useful to us.
The production of the juice does, however, have a large impact on how healthy the output is. Many juices sold over the counter are concentrated, meaning they are completely derived of all nutritional and enzyme value. Creating your own, or buying from a naturally produced source such as a farmer’s market, will ensure that you receive the best qualities the juice has to offer. Low sugar fruits such as kale, celery, spinach, pear, lemon, and ginger provide a host of antioxidants without that insulin spike.
Many juicers claim that a 2 or 3-day juice fast meal plan will help you lose weight and detoxify. Juicing will assist in weight loss, as the caloric intake is significantly less than the nutritional value provided, however there is no research to suggest that juicing detoxifies the body. This is the role of the liver and is done so naturally on a daily basis, suggesting that this claim is little more than a marketing ploy.
Given the evidence presented, we think a better method of consuming more fruits and vegetables might be blending, which first of all gives you more substance and a fuller taste, and second of all adds healthy fibre to your diet. Make the juices fresh yourself using organic vegetables, with a small amount of added fruit such as berries and pears on the side. Blenders are also much cheaper than juicers, averaging a retail price of EUR 49.99 compared to EUR 79.99 for a juicer.
For more nutritional advice, check out NUTRITIONAL ADVICE to find a provider near you who will assist with achieving your health goals.
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