- Haley Schlechter, RD, LDN
To Juice or Not to Juice
I recently have gotten quite a few questions regarding the power of juicing, in regards to health and weight loss. Lets review what science says about it! I’ll make this quick.
Avid juicers and juicy bloggers will claim that by juicing, which removes majority of fiber in food, allows your body to absorb more nutrients and rest. They also have said that juicing can reduce the risk of cancer, remove toxins from you body, aid in weight loss/ digestion and boost your immune system.
What research says:
As a start, we all could stand to increase our fruit and vegetable consumption. It is very well researched that consuming a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can reduce your risk of cancer, and aid in weight loss. Okay, but what about that fiber thing? It is very true that juicing your fruits and vegetables will indeed remove the fiber of the fruit or vegetable. On the other hand, science does not tell us juicing is by any means a superior method of consuming fruits and vegetables over simply eating raw or cooked fruits and vegetables. Further, there is no sound evidence that juicing it detoxifies your body. To be clear, there is no sound research or scientific evidence that juicing your fruits and vegetables is healthier than simply eating them.
On the contrary, Science will tell you that consuming adequate fiber is likely a much better way to remove unwanted “toxins” from your body, as fiber is what drives GI motility aka bowel movements and can lower “bad” cholesterol. Further, your liver is literally a detoxifying MACHINE breaking down and eliminating potentially harmful toxins 24 hours a day. Lastly, science would go even one step further and caution you to be careful if you are regularly juicing. Juice is high in sugar and, if over consuming, (much easier to over-consume liquid calories) it can lead to unwanted weight gain or inappropriate glucose spikes for those with diabetes or a risk.
A Dietitian’s thoughts:
I would much rather you eat raw or cooked fruits and vegetables than juice them. I am a big fan of fiber and its many benefits, including helping you feel full (we know this helps with weight loss. As for your liver, you should be kind to it by limiting alcohol/ processed food consumption and by choosing to eat a well-balanced diet. Juicing is not necessary to detoxify your liver any further. Further, consuming only juice for days on end (i.e. juice cleanses) may initially result in weight loss due to calorie restriction, but is not sustainable nor will it result in sustained weight loss.
If you are someone that is currently not eating adequate amounts of fruit and vegetables and find it easier to consume recommended amounts via a liquid, I would recommend blending your fruits and vegetables before I’d recommend juicing. What's the difference? When you juice your vegetables you remove the pulp or skin of the fruit which is where all the fiber and other nutrients are. When you blend your fruits and vegetables the whole fruit or vegetable remains, including the pulp. When you blend your fruits and veggies rather than juice, you are left with more healthy phytonutrients and fiber.
Moral of story: Science shows juicing is not superior to other methods of consumption and may even have some serious drawbacks. If you hate fruits and vegetables and would prefer to drink them, get rid of the juicer and blend-on my friends. As for juice cleanses (only consuming juice for days at a time), remember, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is! Give your body a hug, it is detoxifying you all the time.
Grow Strong My Friends!
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