Some people claim that juicing is the holy grail of being healthy, and some say that drinking juice is terrible and that you should stop doing it right now.
Ok, let’s debunk the myths once and for all.
Let’s start with this thought. Juicing is the extraction of nutrients from fruits and vegetables and drinking those nutrients in liquid form. So, how can juicing be a bad thing? Well, juicing in itself is a good thing – actually, it’s a great thing. Unfortunately, most of the information on the internet that says otherwise is probably taking things out of context or focusing on one specific argument.
With that said, there are times when juicing can have adverse effects on health, but this can be easily avoided if people are better educated about the subject. Quite frankly it all boils down to three things:
Let’s explore these three questions and set things straight for good.
Store-Bought vs. Homemade Juice
With juicing gaining popularity even among celebrities these days, it comes as no surprise that people are rushing to the supermarket to get their bottle of daily nutrition fix. What they don’t know is that sometimes store-bought juice can do more damage than good.
Unlike homemade juice, most store-bought juices are highly processed and pasteurized. Pasteurization is the heating up of the liquids to a temperature high enough to kill any impurities but sadly kills certain nutrients in the process.
But that’s not all; most store-bought juices have preservatives in them to make the shelf life of the juice as long as possible. They also contain refined sugars, sweeteners, artificial flavorings, and colorings to make the juice look better and taste better.
Store-bought juices end up with little to no nutrients at all and might be packing up as many sugars and empty calories as a bottle of soda.
Juicing is good for you, healthy, and full of vitamins and minerals when it is made fresh. The best juice is the one that you make at home using fresh fruits and vegetables and a good slow masticating juicer. This way, you will know exactly what’s in your juice, and you can drink it as soon as you make it for maximum benefits.
But if you don’t own a juicer and want to reap the benefits of juicing, you could go to a juice bar where they make fresh juice for you while you wait.
If there are no juice bars near you, look for juices at the store that are labeled as ‘not pasteurized’ and ‘not from concentrate’. Be sure their list of ingredients has only fruits and vegetables in it, and that the shelf-life is no longer than three days. You should find these in the refrigerated shelves.
Sugar and Calories
Juicing has been accused of being packed with sugars and calories. This is true when it comes to fruit juices. Two cups of juice made from fresh apples can contain around 52g of sugars and 230 calories. That’s a lot for such a small amount of juice.
But, the healthiest juices are made of vegetables. You see? Vegetable juice is innocent. Most vegetables are low in calories, low in sugar and high in nutrients. The perfect combination, right?
A glass of spinach juice might not be the tastiest beverage you have ever had, but that is where fruits come in. Just a small amount of fruit in your vegetable juice enhances the taste and makes it more enjoyable, without adding too many sugars.
An example of a Healthy Juice Recipe would be this:
This should give you around 2 cups of juice with 16g of sugar and only 110 calories.
Let’s compare the apple juice with the above green juice recipe.
So, pack your juice with vegetables and go easy on the fruits. Vegetables like cucumber, zucchini, and celery are high in water content and will give you the most yield for the lowest amount of calories.
A glass of juice does not replace a glass of water. Many people make the mistake of using the juice as a thirst quencher, and then wondering how the hell they are putting on the pounds. Again, it’s the calories.
To maintain a healthy body, we need to drink at least 2 liters of water every day. It’s water! Not tea, or coffee, or soda, or juice. Just plain, clean water. So a glass of juice cannot take the place of water. It’s not the same thing.
It’s best to replace meals or snacks with juice once or twice daily. One liter of juice can be an excellent substitute for breakfast. Depending on what you put in it, that should contain around 300 calories and be packed with nutrients to give you a quick boost of energy in the morning. Drinking juice would be the wiser and healthier choice over your 700-calorie breakfast of three pancakes, three scrambled eggs, and three strips of bacon.
Then there are people that consume only juice with no solid foods at all. Unless you have medical issues, a liquid diet where you take only juice and nothing else, is quite extreme and could be dangerous.
A short 5 to 7 day juice cleanse is a great way to help your body to cleanse and to replenish with vitamins and minerals. But going on endless days and even months consuming only juice can have negative consequences.
Yes, the health benefits of juicing are endless, but juicing should not replace whole foods. Juicing lacks some nutrients like fiber, which can only be found in whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, seeds, whole grains, and nuts. Fiber is essential because it keeps the digestive system healthy by feeding our good gut bacteria, regulates bowel movement, and slows down the process of the absorption of sugars in our bloodstream.
You might have read that juicing is bad for you because it does not have any fiber.
Well, that’s a flawed argument. You cannot label something as good or bad only based on its fiber content and ignore the fact that it comes packed with amazing vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and antioxidants. You know what doesn’t have any fiber as well? Herbal teas, but you never hear anyone say that herbal teas are bad for you.
The important thing here is not to limit yourself to a juice-only diet and make sure that you are getting plenty of fiber from the whole foods you eat during the rest of your day.
Diet and Lifestyle
Whether juicing can help you with your journey back to good health or not, depends on what the rest of your lifestyle looks like. Juicing is not a silver bullet to health. Juicing alone cannot do miracles.
Some people think that if they add juice to their day, without changing their diets, their health problems will simply disappear. But although juicing boosts your nutrition and can help fight off lifestyle related diseases, it does not cancel out your bad habits.
This may sound obvious, but being healthy and losing weight requires eating healthy and plenty of exercise. Many want to see results quickly and easily. They are willing to pay or do anything except for changing the lifestyle that made them sick in the first place.
Juicing is a great way to increase your daily intake of fruits and vegetables. For maximum effectiveness, juicing should be a part of a healthy plant-based lifestyle to help with replenishing the body with more nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
Juicing is good for you when it is made with fresh fruits and vegetables. For a healthy, low-sugar, low-calorie juice, use mostly vegetables and take it easy with the fruits. Juicing is the most effective when taking 1 or 2 juices every day instead of a meal. And most importantly, juicing needs to be accompanied with a plant-based lifestyle for achieving the best health results.
It features some of my favorite health-boosting juice recipes, complete with their nutritional values and health benefits of each ingredient. If you haven’t done so already, get it now.