If you’ve always subscribed to the notion that you should eat your fruits and veggies, it’s time to get with the times. Many people now prefer getting their produce from a bottle, and we’re not just talking about good old orange juice. Today’s juices include “exotic” ingredients like kale, Swiss chard, ginger, dandelion and lemon juice, to name a few, and they’re hot—so hot, in fact, that you almost wonder if fruits and veggies will one day go the route of typewriters and pay phones, becoming so obsolete that kids in the future won’t even know they once existed.
Granted, that might be a slight exaggeration, but there’s little doubt that juicing has reached a fever pitch. It seems like everybody are juicing these days, perhaps following in the footsteps of Hollywood celebrities who have touted juice fasts— not just juicing—as a surefire way to detox and slim down. Why eat your food, after all, when you can just sip your way to better health?
That, of course, is the burning question. Yet while juicing might be beneficial for people who are not eating all—if any—of their fruits and veggies, it’s not the magic bullet many people think it is. Done correctly, however, juicing can be a healthy complement to any diet.
Do you have clients who want to juice at home? Pass along these tips to maximize their juicing efforts:
Whether juicing can deliver the full nutritional punch of fruits and vegetables, however, is more questionable. While some argue that juices provide as much nutrition as their whole forms, not everybody agrees. The biggest problem? Loss of fiber. Whole fruits and vegetables contain significantly more fiber than their juices, and by leaving behind the fiber, you’re losing one of the most beneficial parts of those whole foods,” says some. Take, for instance, a cup of apple juice versus one large apple. While they contain about the same amount of calories—114 in the juice and 116 in the apple—their fiber content is vastly different. The apple provides 5.5 grams of fiber versus only .5 grams of fiber in the juice.
Want to lose weight in a snap? Even clean out that system? Then a juice fast is the way to go, so goes the word on the street, especially Hollywood Boulevard. Yet not so fast. Juice fasting, as rewarding as it sounds in the end, could do people more harm than good. For starters, when you consume only juice for a day, you’re depriving yourself of protein. Without that protein, your body tissue will start breaking down muscle tissue, which will slow your metabolism and do the opposite of what you’re hoping it will do.
You’ll also miss out on fat-soluble vitamins like D and E, essential fatty acids and B vitamins. As a result, you won’t have the ability to focus—which could be detrimental if you have a busy day ahead or to exercise. In fact, you’ll have so much trouble maintaining normal activity levels, especially if you do a juice fast for several days, that you could slip backward in your fitness program.
Even worse, your body won’t act like it normally does. You could experience gastrointestinal changes like increased flatulence and diarrhea. And what about those claims of juice fasts detoxing the body? Your body already does that on its own. Your body rids itself of toxins via the liver and kidneys so juice fasts aren’t necessary.
When you strip away the fiber, you also lose valuable nutrients like phytochemicals. And juicing also exposes the produce to high temperatures or oxygen, which then damages the nutrients. On the other hand, when you eat a whole fruit or vegetable, the food goes directly into your digestive system where the nutrients get utilized by your body without having been harmed by oxygen or hot temperatures from a machine.
So what do you tell people who want to join the juicing trend? It’s simple really: “Whole fruits and vegetables are still the best way to get all of the nutrients you need,” Yet if juices will help people eat more produce and possibly replace zero-nutrition foods with loads of empty calories (like chips, candy or cookies), then juicing could be a good option for them. Time is also a consideration, as making your own juices may be a little more cumbersome for some individuals.
While some people like to drink juices as snacks, others use them as a replacement for a meal. Experts, though, caution against doing juice fasts where you consume nothing but juice for a day. Instead enjoying one juice a day, either as a meal or snack, but then getting the rest of your produce needs from whole foods.
Some Nutritionists actually recommend juicing only vegetables and eating whole fruit. Fruit juices contain too much sugar for most people, if you do want to sweeten that juice, however, you can add a small amount of fruit like half an apple or pear. Favourite vegetables to juice include dark green leafy veggies, cucumbers and carrots.
Whether juices serve as a snack or a meal, one important point needs to be made. “Liquid meals and snacks typically contain fewer calories than whole foods,” explains nutritionists, “and without fiber to slow your digestion, you’ll be hungry a few hours later.” One cup of juice with three parts vegetables and one part fruit is about 70 calories, they explain. If you’re aware of that, you can then plan accordingly. For instance, if you’re drinking a juice as your breakfast, have a small snack handy so you can quell a grumbling tummy a few hours later. The take-home message from all of this? People need to cut the junk and eat more fruits and veggies, and if juicing helps them do that, you can’t help but say, “bottoms up!”—in moderation, of course.