Eat the Whole Fruit!
Juicing advocates often claim that drinking juice is better than eating whole fruits and vegetables. They justify this by saying that removing the fiber makes nutrients easier to absorb. However, there isn’t any scientific research to support this. You may actually need the fiber content of the fruit or vegetable to experience the plant’s full health benefits.
For example, important antioxidants that are naturally bound to plant fibers are lost in the juicing process. These may play an important role in the health benefits of whole fruits and vegetables. In fact, up to 90% of fiber is removed during the juicing process, depending on the juicer. Some soluble fiber will remain, but the majority of insoluble fiber is removed.
Potential Health Benefits of Fiber
Higher fiber intakes have been associated with lower risks of heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes. Studies have shown that increasing soluble fiber, in particular, may improve blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
One study compared whole apple to apple juice. It found that drinking clear apple juice increased LDL cholesterol levels by 6.9%, compared to whole apples. This effect is thought to be due to the fiber content of whole apples. An observational study showed an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in people who consumed fruit juices, whereas whole fruits were linked to a reduced risk.
People also tend to feel more full when they eat whole fruits, compared to when they drink the juice equivalent. One study compared the effects of blending and juicing on the nutrient content of grapefruits. Results showed that blending, which retains more fiber, is a better technique for obtaining higher levels of beneficial plant compounds.
Juicing For Weight Loss May be a Bad Idea
Many people use juicing as a ways to lose weight. Most juice “diets” involve consuming around 600–1,000 calories per day from juices only, resulting in a severe calorie deficit and fast weight loss. However, this is very difficult to sustain for more than a few days.
While juice diets may help you lose weight in the short-term, such a severe calorie restriction can slow your metabolism in the long-term. This is also likely to lead to nutrient deficient in the long-term, since juices lack many important nutrients.
Juices Should Not Replace Meals
Using juices as a meal replacement can be bad for your body. This is because juice on its own is not nutritionally balanced, since it does not contain sufficient protein or fat. Consuming enough protein throughout the day is necessary for muscle maintenance and long-term health. Additionally, healthy fats are important for sustained energy, hormone balance and cell membranes. They may also provide the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.
However, replacing one meal a day with juice is unlikely to cause harm, as long as the rest of your diet is more balanced. You can make your juice more balanced by adding protein and good fats. Some good sources are whey protein, almond milk, avocados, Greek yogurt and peanut butter.
Fruit Juice Contains High Amounts of Sugar
What you put in your juice can also make a big difference, and fruits contain much more sugar and calories than vegetables. Consuming too much fructose one of the naturally occurring sugars in fruit, has been linked to high blood sugar, weight gain and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
About 3.9 oz (114 ml) of 100% apple juice contains zero grams of fiber, but packs 13 grams of sugar and 60 calories. Similarly, 100% grape juice has 20 grams of sugar in a serving of 3.9 oz (114 ml).
To keep the sugar content of your juices low, you can juice the vegetables and then add a small piece of fruit if you want more sweetness.
Take Home Message
Fresh juices contain important vitamins and antioxidants that can benefit your health. However, fruits and vegetables are still the healthiest and most nutritious when consumed whole.
To a WHOLEsome diet – MPS and Central Core