Juicing is a trend that seems to have been around forever to some degree though its popularity in pop culture has ebbed and flowed. It involves extracting the juices from a variety of fruits and vegetables and combining them into one delicious, nutritious beverage.
This cultural phenomenon has led to specialised juice bars popping up all over the world with their own customised flavour combinations, often specially blended to help some specific need from boosting your immune system to added energy.
The juices contain most of the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are contained within the whole product, apart from some elements that we will discuss later, which makes it a really easy way to inject some nutrients into your diet quickly and easily.
Is Juicing Good Or Bad?
Is juicing good for you or is there a dark side to this trend? Let’s find out.
Why People Juice?
There are two main ways that juicing can be done; as part of a detoxification diet or as a supplement to your daily diet; and their differences are rather drastic.
The thing that probably comes to mind when you hear the word juicing is juice cleanses. This is an intense and short-term diet where all solid foods are eliminated for anywhere from a few days to a few weeks and replaced entirely with pure juices.
The thought process behind this is that this alteration to your diet will rid your body of toxins, allow your it to absorb the nutrients more easily and gives your system a rest from digesting fibre; however, there is very little evidence to back these claims. The body is designed to detox itself using the liver and kidneys and it is built to process fibre so diets like this are hard to prove effective. A diet like this is most often used for really rapid weight loss but this is most likely temporary as long-term use can lower your metabolism because of the strain you are putting on your body.
The other reason for juicing is to add more nutrients into your diet by drinking juices as a supplement. It is hard to get the amount of nutrients that our bodies need from our diet alone, especially in our modern world of processed food, so this is a good way to make sure your diet is balanced and healthy.
This is a direct and simple way to level out any nutrient deficits you may have. Studies have shown that supplementing your diet with juices for a period of 14 weeks causes an increase in beta carotene, vitamin C, selenium and folates; these levels will depend on which fruits and vegetables you choose to juice.
Advantages Of Juicing
It is well known that whole fruits and vegetables reduce your risk of disease but can juices do the same? Research has shown that consuming fruits and vegetables in liquid or concentrate form can reduce your homocysteine levels and lower oxidative stress, which improves your heart health.
Soluble fibre, which is the only fibre left behind in the juicing process, has the ability to improve your blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol. Since most of the vitamins and minerals contained in the fruits are retained in the juice you will get a quick shot of nutrients to help balance out your system and leave you feeling energised and healthy.
Contrary to main juice cleanse guides it is not advisable to use pure juices as a meal replacement because it lacks protein and fats required for energy, but this can be remedied by adding in protein powder and a healthy fat like yoghurt. Adding juices that are well balanced in fruit and vegetables is a great way to inject your diet with some goodness that you will feel the effects of in the long term.
Disadvantages Of Juicing
The main downside to juicing is that it strips the fruits of vegetables of their solid matter that consists mainly of fibre. Approximately 90% of fibre is lost while juicing, which is an important consideration since it is an essential part of any healthy diet.
Fibre not only lowers your risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes, but it also has a lot of antioxidants bonded to it that are released when they are digested. The thing that makes most fruits and vegetables so healthy is their levels of antioxidants therefore juicing them and removing many of these antioxidants may make them less effective.
This would mean you would have to consume a much larger amount than if you were to just eat the fruit in its whole form. To prevent this loss, it is recommended that you try blending your ingredients rather than purely extracting the juices so you don’t lose out on this important fibre. It is also important to keep in mind what fruits and vegetables you are juicing.
Some fruits are very high in fructose that, when consumed long term, can actually have the adverse effects of weight gain, type 2 diabetes and high blood sugar. This can be corrected by making sure your juices have a good balance of vegetables to high fructose fruits.
When it comes to juice cleanses there are a lot of disadvantages because you will be severely calorie deficient during that time. The side effects of this include diarrhea, nausea, dizziness and fatigue so this type of juicing is not recommended especially not without the guidance of a doctor.
Is Juicing Good Or Bad? Summing Up
All in all, juicing is a multi-faceted practice that can be done in a healthy or an unhealthy way. Due to this fact you should approach juicing with as much knowledge and maybe even doctors’ advice to make sure that you are using it in a healthy way.
We all need a little boost in our nutrient intake and getting your regular five a day can sometimes be tough; juicing is a great solution to all of these issues. You just have to do it right.