Juicing vegetables and fruit is often advertised as being healthy. While 100% vegetable or fruit juice can be part of a healthy and balanced diet, it is possible to get too much of a good thing. Let’s discuss some of these juicy health claims.
The Claim: Fresh juice promotes good health by delivering a high dose of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are needed for health, but are available in a balanced and varied diet. While 100% juice can be high in some vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, juices often deliver a dose of very concentrated sugar.
The natural fibre found in whole vegetables and fruit helps slow down digestion. Without it, the high dose of sugar in juice hits your system quickly raising your blood sugar in a hurry. For this reason, folks wanting to prevent and manage diabetes are recommended to limit the amount of juice they drink. In addition, these sugars can negatively impact dental health.
Juice doesn’t fill you up like eating whole vegetables and fruit, so it’s easy to drink a large amount. This can mean taking in a lot of extra energy (calories) from sugars at one time. For people who have trouble chewing whole foods or who need concentrated energy due to health reasons, juices can be helpful. But for most, that extra sugar may replace more nutritious foods and could encourage weight gain.
The Claim: Fibre gets in the way of absorbing vitamins and minerals in vegetables and fruit.
Your body is designed to digest foods that contain fibre. And, it does a great job of absorbing nutrients from all kinds of food, including those with fibre.
Fibre has many important functions that keep you healthy. Fibre helps: lower your blood cholesterol levels, control your blood sugar levels, maintain a healthy balance of beneficial bacteria in your gut, and prevent constipation. Beyond that, it keeps you feeling full longer, which can help you maintain a healthy weight.
After juicing, the fibre-rich pulp is often discarded along with remaining vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. What costly compost!
The Claim: Juicing diets are a healthy way to detoxify the body.
Our liver and kidneys keep us healthy by getting rid of toxins. Research does not support a need to detoxify the liver and other organs.
Eating a healthy balanced diet provides the nutrients we need to be healthy. Extremely restrictive diets, like some juicing diets, do not provide enough necessary nutrients (for example protein, iron and calcium) for health. Read Cleansing and Detox Diets to learn more.
The Final Word… To juice or not to juice?
To get the most health benefits from your vegetables and fruit, choose whole vegetables and fruit over juice. Adults are recommended to get 7-10 servings of vegetables and fruit each day. Try filling half your plate with veggies and fruit at each meal.
While no one needs to drink juice, small amounts of 100% vegetable or fruit juice are okay for most healthy adults. A Canada’s Food Guide recommended serving of juice is only 125 ml (1/2 cup); SCOPE’s Live 5-2-1-0 recommends no more than one 125 ml (1/2 cup) portion per day for kids.
Instead of hydrating with juice, try adding a splash of 100% juice to plain or sparkling water for a refreshing treat. Think outside of the (juice) box and check out these healthy drink choices.
How will you prepare your favourite fresh veggies and fruit?