By Jennifer Florendo
This article is not intended to serve as medical advice. Please consult a physician before starting any diet regimen.
Growing up, most of us downed bottled juices or boxed “juice” drinks while our parents thought we were getting our daily allowance of fruits. When, in reality, we were getting more than our fair share of sugar highs. I even had a college roommate who referred to Kool-Aid as juice. Think about that one for a moment.
While there are some brands of bottled and boxed juices that are fairly healthy, most are processed and loaded with so much sugar that any diabetic would go into shock just thinking about taking a drink of one of those juices.
Juicing seems to be one of the latest trends in must haves. Freshly juiced fruits and vegetables have to be good for you, right? When mixing my own juice cocktail, I look at the amount of items I am juicing: four carrots, one large bunch of kale, two celery stalks, one to two tomatoes, maybe some romaine lettuce and an apple. There is no way that I can eat that many vegetables in one serving. Juicing does it easily and healthfully.
On the health benefits side, drinking fresh juice can prevent heart disease, lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol. There are both experts and proponents of juicing who claim that it prevents cancer. There are juicing options for weight loss, energy boosting, detoxifying and more. Within just a few weeks of juicing, I noticed that the plaque on my teeth had pretty much disappeared. I now can’t wait until my next dentist appointment.
Personal banter aside, there are great debates on the pros and cons of juicing. While we aren’t trying to convert or deter from juicing, there will always be either a skeptic or supporter trying to bring you to their way of thinking.
Pasteurized vs. Unpasteurized Juice:
-Almost all bottled juices on the shelves in supermarkets are pasteurized to keep food-borne bacteria away; however, the pasteurization process also kills off some of the nutrients and enzymes. But, according to the American Council on Science and Health, while 30 percent of the vitamin C in orange juice may be lost with pasteurization, the amount of vitamin C in just eight ounces of pasteurized orange juice easily exceeds the Recommended Dietary Allowance. According to The Mayo Clinic, juice should be consumed immediately to help avoid the increased risk of bacteria growth.
Sugar vs. Fiber:
-Juicing removes the fiber from the fruits and vegetables that make the body absorb the fructose at a much quicker rate and can cause blood sugar levels to skyrocket. This is one reason why some diabetics choose to stay off of the juice wagon. Although a healthier sugar than say, a candy bar, some may want to limit the amounts of fruits juiced.
Juicing is a great way to get your recommended daily allowance of fruits and vegetables. Again, imagine eating the amount of vegetables you have set aside to juice. It almost seems impossible.
The Mayo Clinic argues the point that juicing is just as nutritious as eating the fruits and vegetable whole. Its website states: “Juicing probably is not any healthier than eating whole fruits and vegetables. Juicing extracts the juice from fresh fruits or vegetables. The resulting liquid contains most of the vitamins, minerals and plant chemicals (phytonutrients) found in the whole fruit. However, whole fruits and vegetables also have healthy fiber, which is lost during most juicing.”
A Department of Agriculture study found that 90 percent of the antioxidants were found in the juice as opposed to the fiber.
Thanks to documentaries like “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead” and “Forks Over Knives,” more and more people are being turned on to modifying their lifestyle to include more plant-based, whole foods and less animal-based products.
In addition to those movies, there are other great reading resources including several selections from Natalia Rose, a certified clinical nutritionist. On her site, detoxtheworld.com, Rose features her books (which are wonderful for transitioning into a plant-based lifestyle), blog posts, knowledge base and a community for support.
No matter where you fall on the plant- and meat-eating scale, there is one fact you can’t ignore. America is dealing with an obesity problem and that problem is affecting children younger and younger. In addition, the average American does not get its recommended daily allowance of fruit and vegetable servings each day. So, if juicing a few of those greens or reds helps, then why not take a swig?