Juicing: Not Necessarily the Healthiest Trend

carrot ginger elixir

I have been sick with a horrible cold and fever for the better part of last week - it hasn't been fun. When I felt this cold creeping up on me, I took a detour during lunch to Clover, a Cambridge favorite, to pick up a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice in the hopes of giving my immune system a burst of vitamin C (which failed, I should stick to my usual astragalus pills from now on). Anyway, as I was placing my order, the gentleman who works there told me "isn't it crazy how it takes 12 oranges to make a glass of juice?!". I was quickly reminded why I rarely drink juice at all these days. I was too embarrassed to cancel my order, so I took my 12 oranges in a glass and drank them (very slowly) throughout the day.

The reason why this juicing trend is not great for your health is not because the ingredients are bad for you, on the contrary, I think it is great that so many people are enjoying their fruits and vegetables. However consider this:

SUGAR: when was the last time you sat down and ATE 12 oranges in one sitting? And how easy is it for you to gulp down that glass of juice in 3 minutes? Think of the amount of sugar rushing through your system. Unreasonably high amounts of sugar in your body leads to mineral deficiencies, inflammation, blood sugar imbalances, weight gain (the extra glucose your cells do not need are stored as fat) and a plethora of other unpleasant side effects.

PROCESSED: Even if you make your juice at home with the freshest of ingredients it is still a processed food. What you end up drinking is not a whole food, but rather the fruit or vegetable minus the skin and pulp. This is problematic because: 1) without the fiber the glucose rushes through your system, spiking your blood glucose levels causing a sugar rush and subsequent crash. Moreover, the processed juice digests extremely quickly and is unlikely to leave you feeling full for very long. 2) Without consuming the skin and pulp you are missing our on many of the nutrients that you would otherwise enjoy by eating the whole food.

Proponents of juicing say that drinking juice allows you to increase your intake of fruits and vegetables (you can drink more than you can eat) - and that is certainly true, except for the fact that you are not eating (drinking?) the whole food as nature intended.  For those who think that they need to drastically increase their intake of raw vegetables I would suggest blending rather than juicing (with blending you blend and drink the whole food and therefore do not have to worry about a loss of nutrients and the lack of fiber. You are also less likely to blend 10 apples and drink them all in one sitting).