What is Juicing?
Juicing is the process of liquifying fruits and vegetables. Unlike smoothies, which can contain milk, yogurt, and more, juices are strictly fruits and vegetables with no added dairy or protein sources. During the juicing process, fiber is separated out which decreases the nutrient content of the fruit or vegetable. Fiber is important because it helps to regulate digestive health. It also supports weight management and heart health. The current Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that at least half of your daily fruits and vegetables be whole. Consuming 100% fruit or vegetable juice may help to meet the overall daily recommendation of 5 servings, but juices alone cannot meet this requirement. People who may not enjoy eating whole fruits and vegetables can find juicing to be a fun and creative way to get those nutrients!
Among the rising nutrition trends is juice cleansing. A juice cleanse involves only consuming calories from fruit and vegetable juices. Juice cleanses claim to rid the body of toxins improving function of internal organs, overall health, and mood. Currently, there is no sound evidence that juice cleansing can reduce the risk of certain diseases or bring the body back to optimal health. In fact, juice cleansing may not be safe for everyone, especially those with health conditions or dietary restrictions. Juices tend to be low calorie, low fiber, and low protein, which can put you at risk for malnutrition.
Pros and Cons of Juicing
For some, juicing may help to increase nutrient intake and incorporate a variety of fruits and vegetables that would otherwise not be present in the diet. However, research and the Dietary Guidelines discourage relying on juice as the sole source of fruits and vegetables or the sole source of nutrition. Another consideration is that juicing can be expensive. Juicers can range in price from $50-$500 and, depending on the quantity and quality of produce, your grocery bill can add up over time.
While juicing does not necessarily need to be avoided entirely, it is important to incorporate it into a healthy eating plan made up of whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy, and lean protein. When choosing juices, pay attention to the ingredients and how they are prepared. Three tips that all juicers should follow include:
- Read labels. Look for the word pasteurized on juice labels and whether there are any added sugars. Pasteurization is important because it helps to kill any bacteria or microorganisms that may be present in your juice.
- Be mindful. If unclear, ask whether the juice has been pasteurized, especially when purchasing from a vendor or juice bar. Many times, vendors will not have nutritional information on their juices, so it is important to ask so that you know exactly what is in your drink and how it was made.
- Prep safely. Make sure all produce is properly handled and washed before use. When produce is squeezed into juice, any bacteria on the skin can become part of the finished product and lead to illness.
Eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables at least one day this week.
- Nutrition.gov. https://www.nutrition.gov.
- Newgent Jackie. The Juicing Trend - About Raw Juice. Eat Right. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. https://www.eatright.org/homefoodsafety/safety-tips/food/the-juicing-trend-about-raw-juice. Published October 15, 2018.