Written By Armela Escalona
Juicing has become a full-blown obsession in the past few years. We’ve seen many celebrities and influencers doing juicing diets while documenting the stories in their personal blogs or social media. Even the Queen B herself, who recently tried “Master Cleanse” diet has lost 20 pounds in the process!
Why is juicing so popular? Like other popular health fads, juicing promises weight loss, removal of toxins, and glowing beauty. Sipping a glass of delicious veggie juice in replace for a meal is believed to help you lose weight and stay healthy during the process. Advocates claim that it’s an easy way to get all the nutrients in whole fruits and vegetables. For some, it’s a better and easier first step to healthy eating.
But is it safe? Is a glass of juice better than eating whole fruits and vegetables? Will it be enough as a meal replacement?
How Juicing Ruins Your Nutrition
The problem with juicing cleanses today is that they’re often marketed as able to “remove toxins” or “aid in weight loss” but this isn’t actually true. There’s no science to back up this fact, and experts even say that juicing can be dangerous if not done properly.
Juicing is done by extracting the juice from fresh fruits or vegetables. Although the juice contains the same amounts of plant nutrients, minerals, and vitamins — most juicers don’t include the seed and pulp of whole fruits which is where most of the fiber is present.
These important, filling, and healthy fiber never makes it to your glass. Fiber is an important ingredient in regulating your blood sugar. It is used in many of your body’s natural processes. Without this fiber, juices can spike your blood sugar at dramatic levels.
Fiber also plays an important role in your gastrointestinal health. It’s important for your colon and is also known to prevent various types of diseases including colon cancer. Juicing helps with satiation so you stay satisfied and full for longer. It also aids in digestion and overall gut health. Removing fiber from your diet can cause problems in your system.
Furthermore, juicing is not a complete meal. Replacing all your meals with juice will not meet your macronutrient requirements that fit your metabolic type. Juicing also reduces or even eliminates all your fat intake. You still need to eat healthy fats for some vitamins to be absorbed by your body. Fat-soluble vitamins A, D, K, and E require fat to be absorbed. Good fat is also needed by your body’s internal process, removing this can hinder your body from performing well at an optimum level. You need carbs and proteins too in order to keep you energized throughout the day.
How To Make Juicing Healthier
Add more vegetables: Juices that have more vegetables than fruits provide more nutrients. They also contain less sugar and have higher fiber. If you’re going to create a healthy fruit and veggie juice combination, aim to have 80% veggies.
Choose the right fruit and vegetable to juice: The kind of fruit or vegetable matters when it comes to juicing. Some great fruit options include kiwi, limes, raspberries, blueberries and dark cherries. These fruits are packed with nutrients and have low sugar content. They’re also loaded with anti-inflammatory antioxidants that fight free radicals. Try to stay away from fruits with highly concentrated sugars and no fiber such as pineapples. Drinking sugary juices can set you up for a sugar crash a few hours after drinking your juice.
If you want more alkaline and less acidic juices, go for an all-veggie juice. Use dark leafy greens and ones that are rich in Vitamin A, B, and K such as kale, celery, spinach, kale, cucumber, zucchini, beets, and Swiss chard. If you want a hint of sweetness, add a small amount of carrots — and if you’re looking for more flavor consider adding herbs, ginger roots, cilantro, mint, and parsley. Overall, veggie juices are very nutritious and good for your skin.
Drink the juice right away: If you want to get the most out of your juices, drink it right away. Antioxidant and enzyme activity decreases over time and putting your juices in the fridge to consume it for the next couple of days is not a good option. Fruits undergo oxidation as soon as you expose it to oxygen and this minimizes the nutrients. In order to prevent oxidation, it’s best to consume the juice after it’s made.
Minimize fiber loss by using nutrient extractors or blenders: Nutrient extractors are kinds of juicers that extracts the whole fruit including the skin and seeds. Blenders such as the Magicbullet or Vitamix are also great options for pulverizing and creating smoothies that include all the fiber in the whole fruit.
Furthermore, blending doesn’t spike your blood sugar as much as juicing. If you’re stuck with a juicer, you can minimize fiber loss by simply including the pulp back into your juice when you drink it. You can also keep the pulp and use it to create other recipes. If you’re looking for some of the best blenders for juicing, read this article from Juicers plus Blenders.
Aim for a balanced diet: Juicing can be healthy if it’s part of a balanced diet. Rather than replacing a meal with juice, try to include it in small meals to balance all the nutrients you’re consuming on a daily basis. Aside from regular meal intervals, aim to have at least five servings of vegetables and fruits in a day.
Healthy eating is all about balance. No drastic diet can help you stay healthy. Juice cleansing is entirely unnecessary and may even do you more harm than good. Low-calorie intake may result in weight loss but you’ll deprive yourself of essential nutrients that are important for your health.
Armela is a feature writer covering stories about food and health. She is a regular contributor to a wide range of blogs and magazines and have published hundreds of insightful stories about topics she’s passionate about. Follow her on Twitter or visit her website to read her latest posts.