Juicing, consuming fruits and/or vegetables in liquid form, has been thought to be a great way to diet and detox your body for a number of years. Though juicing can have some health benefits, we don’t need anything to “detox” our bodies, our liver and kidneys do that job for us. American adults typically don’t consume the recommended amount of 2 cups of fruit and 2-3 cups (depending on gender and age) of vegetables per day. One benefit to juicing is that it can be a great way to add additional fruits and vegetables into your diet. Before you begin juicing, something to be aware of is most juicing machines actually remove the pulp from the fruit or veggie, but the pulp is where fiber is found. Fiber is important for helping us feel full and maintain a healthy and active digestive system. You may want to consider adding back the pulp that was removed or adding something like chia seeds which have about 5 grams of fiber per tablespoon. The use of a blender can be better for saving the skin and/or the pulp of the fruit or veggie. If you’re juicing, you will need to be adding other important nutrients like healthy fats and protein into your diet, because there are only trace amounts of them in fruits and vegetables.
Juicing is generally done for a day or even a week at a time, but what happens when that week is over? Typically the weight people lose during a juicing diet ends up coming back. That’s because we deprived our body of real, solid food and now that the opportunity is back people tend to go overboard. Before you consider turning to a liquid diet, talk to your doctor or dietitian. Juicing isn’t for everyone, such as someone with kidney disease or a diabetic. The amount of carbohydrate in fruits and vegetables could cause a spike in blood sugar, making over consumption dangerous for a diabetic. Someone with kidney disease may be asked to limit their potassium consumption, and fruits such as bananas, melon, dried apricots or raisins contain a potassium.
Are juicing and smoothies the same thing?
No. Smoothies typically contain several different ingredients along with fruit and/or vegetables and are much thicker. Smoothies tend to be higher in calories because many are made with the addition of milk, yogurt, or protein powder. Smoothies can contain healthy fats and protein making them more of a meal, which you won’t find from juicing.
If you decide to give juicing a try, the best way to add it into your diet is to substitute a meal a day to be in liquid form instead of every meal. Try to put in mainly vegetables, with just one or 2 fruits. The more fruit you add to your juice, the higher the calories and sugar content are going to be. Juicing can have healthful benefits such as lowering ones risk for cardiovascular disease and obesity. Juice wisely, and your body will thank you.
This blog is written by Tracy Zaniewski, a student intern of Valley Nutrition Counseling with a major in Nutrition at the University of Massachusetts Amherst