Juicing: Fab or Fad?

By: Nutrition expert- Vidula Kozarekar, Mumbai.

Email id: vidula708@gmail.com

Juicing extracts the juice from fresh fruits or vegetables. The liquid contains most of the vitamins, minerals and plant chemicals (phytonutrients) found in the fruit. However, whole fruits and vegetables also have healthy fibre, which is lost during most juicing.

Juicing has become a popular health trend in the last few years. The term “juicing” or “juice cleanse” usually refers to a period of 3-10 days when a person’s diet consists mainly of fruit and vegetable juices. It is widely marketed as providing health benefits, including weight loss, flushing toxins from the body, and increasing energy (1).

What dietary guidelines say? (2)

  • Healthy eating patterns include a variety of vegetables from all of the five vegetable subgroups—dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy, and other. These include all fresh, frozen, canned, and dried options in cooked or raw forms, including vegetable juices.
  • Healthy eating patterns include fruits, especially whole fruits. The fruits food group includes whole fruits and 100% fruit juice. Although fruit juice can be part of healthy eating patterns, it is lower than whole fruit in dietary fibre and when consumed in excess can contribute extra calories.

Benefits of diet rich in fruits and vegetables: (3)

  • May reduce risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD)
  • May reduce risk of coronary heart disease (CHD)
  • May reduce blood pressure
  • Greater intake of leafy green vegetables and anthocyanin-rich fruit may reduce risk of Type 2 diabetes

Benefits of Consuming Fruits and Vegetables through Juicing:

  • Convenience
  • Ability to consume greater amounts
  • Ability to consume greater variety
  • Potential for increased intake of F&V

Hazards of juicing Fruits and Vegetables: (4)

  • As raw juice isn’t pasteurized, it is prone to spoil quickly. It is best to drink the juice soon after it is prepared.
  • Juicing mixes air into the fruit and vegetables, which can destroy some of the cancer fighting polyphenols that would be preserved if the food was eaten whole.
  • Juicing is more expensive than eating the fruits and vegetables whole.
  • Juicing removes some of the healthy fibre that is found in fruits and vegetables. However, some juicers have a pulp filter that can be removed to increase the amount of fibre in the juice, or fibre can be added back into the juice with supplements like psyllium, guar gum, or ground flax seed.

Choose the better option- Blending: (5)

With blending, the whole fruit or vegetable is used: what you put in the blender is what you consume. The volume of the drink, which is often called a smoothie, will be much greater than that of a juice made from the same amount of fruits or vegetables.

With smoothies you retain the fibre, which can help you feel fuller and improve your digestive health. In addition, you can add other types of foods to smoothies like nuts, seeds, and yogurts to increase your intake of healthy protein and fats.

The goodness of fibre in whole fruits and veggies:

Fibre helps your body control sugar and therefore is beneficial for people with diabetes. Fibre also adds bulk to the foods that you eat which increases your sense of fullness. This will help you eat fewer calories and increase weight loss. Finally, fibre supports healthy bowel function and even helps to lower cholesterol!

Conclusion:

The literature says that drinking vegetable juice is a healthy way to increase your intake of vegetables. However, it should not replace fresh, whole vegetables in the diet. Whole fruits and vegetables have a higher nutritive value and can help the body to naturally detoxify itself.

References:

  1. https://sci-hub.tw/10.1016/j.amjmed.2013.04.007
  2. https://health.gov/our-work/food-nutrition/2015-2020-dietary-guidelines/guidelines/chapter-1/a-closer-look-inside-healthy-eating-patterns/
  3. https://rb.gy/uh5xfr
  4. https://www.fammed.wisc.edu/files/webfm-uploads/documents/outreach/im/handout_juicing_patient.pdf
  5. https://thewholeu.uw.edu/2015/03/11/juicing-vs-blending/

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: