To juice or not to juice?

Juicing is an easy way to ensure you meet your daily quota of fruits and vegetables. It allows you to consume a number of fruits and veggies, especially those you wouldn’t normally eat like beetroot, kale, and carrots. 

Juicing also gives you the most nutrient-dense part of the food in a convenient form. But the controversy around juicing continues to swirl, with the latest research adding weight to the anti-juice trend.

Research published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology shows that the high sugar content of fruit juice most probably makes it as dangerous in terms of obesity, heart disease and diabetes as sugar-sweetened cool drinks.

Juicing breaks down the fibre from the fruit and veg, which means the body can easily absorb fructose (fruit sugar) from the juice. This is bad news in terms of weight management and your diabetes risk.

There’s also the risk of nutrient loss. Once a fruit or vegetable is juiced, it almost immediately begins to lose precious vitamins and antioxidants, which can reduce its goodness.

Too much juice, or consuming too much of certain juices can cause diarrhoea. While some claim this is the “cleansing” aspect of juicing, your enthusiasm may lead to a loss of water and important electrolytes, and put you at risk for dehydration.

Should you juice or not?
The answer is yes and no.

Yes, if you struggle to consume the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables or have a nutritional deficiency.

No, if juicing is something you plan to use long-term to “detox” or help you lose weight. It’s also a no if you replace water in your diet with fruit juice. This could lead to weight problems and other associated health risks.

According to the American Cancer Society, juicing is generally considered safe as long as it’s used as part of a healthy diet. Any diet high in fruits and vegetables has been shown to reduce cancer and heart disease risk, and improve overall health.

But juicing probably isn’t any healthier than eating whole fruits and vegetables. There’s no scientific evidence to prove that extracted juices are healthier than the juice you get by eating the fruit or vegetable itself.

Juicing tips

  • Make small amounts at a time as freshly squeezed juice loses its nutrients quickly.
  • Keep some of the pulp and add it to the juice before you drink it for added fibre and volume.
  • Opt for organic fruit and vegetables wherever possible to avoid pesticides.
  • Drink in moderation as juice can contain a lot of sugar.
  • Liquidise the fruits and vegetables in a blender to retain the pulp and fibre.

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