One of the fastest growing trends in the health and fitness world right now is juicing. While no by any means new, juicing seems to be everywhere now, with people buying bottled fruit and vegetable cocktails or mixing just up their own at home in specially designed machines. With all this attention towards the juicing movement, it begs the question: Is it worth it?
Easy Way to Grab More Greens
The most important benefit that comes along with juicing your fruits and vegetables is that, obviously, it gets you to eat your fruits and vegetables. This is a big deal when you consider that the Centers for Disease Control reports that the average American only eats about 1 serving of fruits and vegetables per day.
Often, though, juicing doesn’t just bring you up to the minimum requirement, you’ll sore right past it. Since one juice can contain a huge number of varied fruits and veggies, you can conceivably drink, in a single sitting, much more than you would be able to eat in a full day.
But the supporters of juicing have taken the claims of what it can do way beyond just boosting your green intake. Juicing has been credited with everything from reducing the risk of heart disease to curing cancer and all of this hinges on the idea that juicing isolates the micronutrients, making them easier for your body to absorb.
The fact is that many of the healing properties associated with juicing are more accurately ascribed to eating more greens in general. Don’t forget that those amazing healing substances found in juice are only there because they were first in the whole plant. There is no proof that juicing makes it easier for your body to make use of these chemicals, either. In fact, the very opposite might be true.
According to the American Council on Exercise, the process of juicing can actually greatly reduce the concentration of those highly beneficial chemicals by exposing them to heat, light and oxygen. Additionally, many of these chemicals are contained in the skin of fruits, like apples, which is removed during juicing.
In reality, juicing may mean that you’re sacrificing many of the benefits of your fruits and veggies for convenience. The American Council on Exercise uses the example of one large apple compared to the juice of the same apple to illustrate this point. Both contain roughly the same calories, about 116, but the whole apple offers 5.5g of fiber while the juice will only give you about .5g.
As mentioned, there are no grounds to the claims that fiber stops your body from absorbing other useful chemicals so the lose of fiber isn’t a good thing. The dietary fiber found in plants helps to fill you up and calm your appetite so, without it, you’re likely to be hungry soon after enjoying your juice.
In Its Place
Does this mean that juicing is useless? No, of course not. What it does mean is that it is not a complete substitute for eating the whole food. However, juices can still be an incredibly useful tool to help you get your fruits and vegetables in during a particularly busy day.
Juicing isn’t a magic bullet but, used properly, can help you maintain a health diet.