Juicing has quickly become one of the diet world’s fastest growing and most talked about nutrition fads. Health gurus, dieters and celebrities alike have all tried juicing in one form or another. Variations of the diet range from a strict juice fast to simply adding one glass of fresh vegetable juice to your current meal plan. But like most fad diets, reviews are often mixed. Most experts agree that, although juicing can have certain benefits, by itself it’s not necessarily the best way to consume your fruits and vegetables, but for some people the advantage may outweigh the disadvantages. So before you go out and by the latest and greatest juicer and pounds of fruits and veggies, let’s take look at the pros and cons of juicing, so that you can make an informed decision before jumping on the juicing bandwagon.
- If you have a hard time consuming the daily recommended dose of fruits and vegetables, juicing can be a great way to supplements that lost nutrition. Kids aren’t the only picky eaters, many adults can’t stomach the thought of eating certain vegetables, like broccoli or spinach. If you fall under this category, juicing might be a good alternative for you. By juicing your least favorite vegetables with sweeter ones, like carrots, you can get all the nutrition you’d be missing out on by skipping those vegetables all together.
- Choosing a fresh juice as a mid-meal snack, rather than a high calorie, pre-packaged snack, can be a healthier, more, energizing alternative. Fresh pressed juice can be a great, low calorie alternative to satisfy those mid-meal tummy grumbles.
- Fresh juice lacks additional sugars, salts or other additives that you find in pre-packaged meal replacements drinks. So, it you’re currently supplementing meals with other supplement drinks, switching to a fresh juice can be a great way to pack in concentrated amounts of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients like antioxidants.
- Calories consumed in liquid form are not as filling as solid foods. Even though lots of fruits and veggie go into a freshly pressed juice, it won’t necessarily fill you up, which could tempt you to snack between meals.
- Juicing removes the fiber from your fruit. Fruits generally contain a high amount of sugar. So when you juice your fruits instead of eating them, you get all of the sugar and none of the fiber. It’s the fiber in fruit that helps you digest sugar and keeps you full for longer. Many experts’ advice that if you are going to juice, you should avoid juicing mostly fruit and stick to the veggies, which don’t contain as much fiber and are very low in sugar.
- Vegetable juice is extremely low calorie. While this might sound like a benefit to dieters, you need to consume a certain amount of calories per day or your metabolism will slow down. This will cause your body to store fat, rather than burn it. If you cut out too many calories, you may find you actually start to gain weight, rather than lose it. It’s important to supplement any juicing diet with healthy calories and fiber that will fill you up, while slimming you down.
- Many people tend to “cheat” when they are on a juicing diet by rewarding themselves with high calorie, rich items like desserts. This off-sets and benefits that the juice was having on your weight management.
- Juicing doesn’t promote good eating habits. There are lots of nutrients in solid foods that you simply don’t get from juicing. It’s important that you balance your juice diet with solid foods, not only to replace the missing nutrients, but also to train yourself to eat properly all the time, not just when you’re dieting.
So, while juicing can have certain health benefits, like packing in more vitamins and nutrients, consuming more vegetables and cutting out additives and unnatural ingredients, it should be done in combination with a healthy diet that includes nutritious solid foods. Juice fanatics are quick to point out all of the benefits that juicing can have. But the truth is, there is no scientific research to backup any of these claims. In fact, all the clinical research done on juicing proves quite the opposite. Dr. James Dillard, assistant clinical professor at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City warns us on WebMD that, “It’s not a great way to lose weight, because you’ll gain it all back — you yo-yo. It’s just like the Atkins diet. The weight you lose is water weight.” Information about juicing on the Mayo Clinic website supports these claims. They suggests that, “The best diet is a healthy diet based on fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean sources of protein.”
However, if you have decided to incorporate juicing into your current diet, here are some suggestions that will help you get the most out of juicing.
- Don’t do a juice fast. While it’s fine to supplements snacks, or even a meal with fresh juice, completely replacing all of your meals can backfire. You need to stay full to be successful on a diet, and liquids simply won’t fill you up.
- Juice more vegetables than fruits. You need the fiber in whole fruits to help with digestion, weight-loss, and your body’s ability to process the sugar that comes with fruit.
- Drink your juice right away. The active ingredients in fresh juice deteriorate with time. If you want to receive all of the nutritional benefits that juicing has to offer, the juice needs to be consumed almost immediately. Otherwise, you’ll be left with just the sugar.
Now that we’ve weighed all the pros and cons of juicing, it’s up to you make an educated decision on how to best incorporate this diet fad into your daily life. Just remember, you need fiber from whole fruits, so stick to mostly veggies and add carrots for sweetness, avoid the juice fast, and be sure to fill up on health calories from solid foods like lean proteins and whole wheat. Stick to these guidelines and you’ll be able to reap the rewards that juicing has to offer.