J is for Juicing




by Lindsey Herr

In recent years, juice and juicers have seemingly popped up everywhere. You can hardly go to a grocery these days without seeing “fresh pressed juice” for sale. Is this trend actually healthy? Let’s find out!

What is juicing?

Juicing refers to the process of processing fruits and vegetables down to a liquid form by removing the liquid from produce.

How is that different from a smoothie?

A smoothie usually has fruit and vegetables like a juice, but often other things like yogurt, flax, and protein powders are added. This make smoothies acceptable to include as a balanced meal or snack because  Smoothies are a great way to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables. Juicing typically includes just the juice from the fruit and/or vegetables. Although most juicers remove a lot of the fiber offered from whole produce, some juicers leave some fiber to be consumed. Fiber is a carbohydrate that the body cannot breakdown or digest and that many Americans do not get enough of. It is an important nutrient that helps regulate cholesterol and blood sugar levels and aids in maintaining a health weight and bowel health. 

So is juice good for you?

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 (DGA) reports that most Americans over the age of 4 are not eating enough fruits and vegetables, and do not get enough dietary fiber, important minerals such as folate, potassium, magnesium, or vitamins A, C, and K in their diet. Juicing can be a way to add more fruits and vegetables into your diet. However, since juice removes the fiber from fruit it concentrates the sugar. It is easy to overload on sugar if drinking juice that is only or mostly fruit. Also, juice can have added sugar on top of the naturally occurring sugars. The best juice to drink is a vegetable-based juice with a small amount of fruit (example: 1/2 an apple) added for sweetness! If trying to incorporate more fruit and vegetables opt to blend them into a smoothie to get all of their benefits! 

Can juice be my whole diet?

No. Juicing does not give you the protein and fat you will need to keep your body healthy. A person should not rely on only juice to provide a balanced diet. Juice can be a balanced (and tasty) part of your diet- but not your whole diet. Also, it is recommended that the majority of your fruit intake comes from whole fruit - fresh, frozen or canned - because whole fruit contains more fiber.

What about a 3 day detox?

There is no evidence showing that an all-juice diet will cleanse the toxins from your body. These statements are not backed by science. Your body naturally filters and removes most toxins-with or without juice!

Juicing Tips:

  • Start with a vegetable base and add fruits for extra flavor and sweetness

  • Know what you can and cannot juice...some things do not have enough water in them and some are too tough for most juicers (examples: bananas and avocados)

  • Juicing by color can make juice look good, but be bold! Create interesting new flavor combos!

  • Juice produce that is in season. This will save you money and give you more flavor!

USDA Produce Seasons

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