Cancer Digestive Health

Pros and Cons of Juicing

Woman drinking a homemade juice

Juicing is a longstanding trend in dieting that has only gained popularity over years. In short, it involves taking fruits and vegetables and crushing, pulverizing, or squeezing them to get the juices from inside à out. This leaves behind a liquid beverage for you to drink.

Juicing is often thought of in the same context as “detoxes” or “cleanses”, because these types of diets usually involve only consuming juice of some variety. Since these juices consist of fruits and vegetables, it makes sense that drinking a lot of juice would be a smart move to help you make healthy lifestyle changes. However, just like with most things but especially the diet, there are notable pros and cons to juicing. Before you dive deep into the world of juicing, consider some of these factoids to make sure you’re still taking good care of your body.

The Pros of Juicing

Juicing can be a good way to get more servings of fruits & vegetables into your diet.

Like we just mentioned, juicing involves removing the juice from fruits, vegetables, or both. Whether buying juice from the store or making some yourself at home, can help you fill in nutritional gaps in your diet by providing fruits and vegetables in the form of a beverage. Drinking juice can be a great way to get these food groups in your diet, especially if you don’t typically include them in your regular diet otherwise. Even further, juicing can be useful in combining produce that typically aren’t eaten together.

Drinking juice can provide important nutrients that are beneficial to your health.

As we all surely know, consuming fruits & vegetables is good for you and your overall health. But why is that? It all comes down to what’s inside – vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, which are all important for regulating what happens in your body. These nutrients & their anti-oxidative properties can help your body fight against inflammation and assist in protecting you from various chronic diseases, including cancer. Many of the nutrients found in fruits & vegetables are found in their juice, so considering all of this, juicing can be a great source for getting these nutrients if you don’t typically see them in your normal diet.

The Cons of Juicing

Not all juices are made the same.

Although having different juices allows for more variety in potential choices, it’s important to be aware of how the juice was made, including what was potentially added to it. Often, sugar, water, and other additives are put in juices to add flavor, volume, and color. However, diluting juice with other things means that there is ultimately less juice per serving, and ultimately, less of the good-for-you fruits and vegetables. One serving of 100% juice is considered by the USDA as a serving of fruit/vegetables, and can be counted towards your daily intake of these food groups. However, once the amount of juice is reduced, so are the potential benefits it can provide. A good rule of thumb is to check or ask for the juice content of your drink, that way you can always aim for 100%!

The process of juicing removes the fiber that fruits & vegetables contain.

Whole fruits & vegetables are an excellent source of fiber, a nutrient that helps keep your digestive tract working properly. The large majority of fiber found in produce is located in the peel/skin, and its the fiber that gives plants their structure. When juice is made, the peels/skins of the produce used is removed. That being said, unless you like extra-heavy pulp, most-if-not-all juices will contain very little amounts of fiber. Removing fiber from your diet can lead to digestive issues like diarrhea, and low fiber diets are known to lead to increased risk of developing colon and other cancers. While fiber functions primarily in regulating your gut, it also plays a vital role in regulating your blood sugar. Eating whole fruits & vegetables with their fiber intact helps to slow down the digestion of their naturally-occurring sugars. With juice, these sugars are digested without fiber being present to slow down the process.

Individuals who juice tend to not eat adequate amounts of healthy fats & protein.

Although juices can have lots of great vitamins & minerals, most fruits & vegetables are low in the amount of healthy fats and protein they contain, mainly because they are primarily made up of carbohydrates. If you only drink juices throughout the day, you are missing out on these important fats & protein that your body needs. If you choose to drink juice, make sure to pair it with a good source of healthy fats & protein, such as Greek yogurt or a handful of nuts & seeds. This allows you to enjoy the benefits of juicing while making sure you’re still getting the nutrients that can only be found in other food groups.

Excessive juicing can lead to an increase in the daily amount of calories you consume, which can lead to obesity.

When juicing, people often gauge their intake by keeping track of the amount of fluids consumed each day. However, one cup of juice is not equivalent to a single serving of fruits/vegetables. Consider how many oranges it would take to make an 8 ounce glass of orange juice – about three to four. Most people would not eat three to four oranges in one sitting, but it can be easy to drink that amount of juice without noticing all of the calories that it contains. These sneaky calories in juices can contribute to weight gain if you consume too many calories per day. The golden rule here is to drink what you’d eat­ – don’t overstuff your juices with amounts of foods you wouldn’t consider eating if they were whole foods instead. Juicing in smaller quantities can help mitigate the high amount of calories that juice contains.

In general, drinking juice can be a good way to get important nutrients that can be beneficial to your health now as well as in the future. Juicing can be used to supplement the fruits & vegetables already in your diet, but it should not be your sole source of these foods. You should always aim to include whole fruits & vegetables in your diet when you are able, as these foods will also contain the fiber that is needed to manage your blood sugar, aid in digestion, and make you feel fuller. Consuming fruits & vegetables through a variety of different cooking & preparation methods can help you meet your nutritional goals and maintain your health without potentially leaving out specific nutrients that are removed in the juicing process. Even though juicing can provide a bunch of nutrients your body needs, consuming too much can lead to excessive calories in your diet, while also leaving out other nutrients needed for a well-rounded diet. Remember, everything in moderation!

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Augusta University Health