Earlier this summer, my husband decided to try juicing. So we bought a juicer and he began testing various combinations: Spinach-green apple-banana. Kale-green apple-cucumber. Carrot-ginger-mango.
It’s been an experimental process, with some “recipes” turning out better than others. (Let’s just say too much ginger can make juice taste pretty . . . strong.) On the whole, though, my husband and I have enjoyed it. Juice has become a breakfast staple, a post-workout snack, and a good way to cool off during these hot summer months. Plus, it’s an inventive way to mix up our daily fruit and veggie intake routine.
But is juicing truly the healthiest option out there? Is it OK to rely on juice instead of eating fruits and vegetables the regular way? I dug a little deeper to find out.
The upsides of juicing
In addition to switching up your usual produce consumption, the Mayo Clinic website points out another positive aspect of juicing. “[I]f you don’t enjoy eating fresh fruits and vegetables, juicing may be a fun way to add them to your diet or to try fruits and vegetables you normally wouldn’t eat,” it notes.
Whitney English, a registered dietitian nutritionist, touched on the some of the upsides of undertaking juicing.
“Juicing is an easy way to pack in a ton of vitamins and phytochemicals,” she said via email. (For the record, phytochemicals are compounds produced by plants.)
The potential downsides of juicing
But there are some downsides to the practice. When you juice, you lose the fiber found in fruits and veggies, English noted.
“Fiber is an extremely beneficial nutrient for weight management, gut health, and disease prevention and therefore, it’s something we want more of, not less!”
Bonnie Roney, who’s also a registered dietitian nutritionist, seconded that thought. Juicing “provides a high carb/sugar beverage with very little to no fiber and less nutrients than the whole fruits and vegetables,” she said.
This begs the question: How much should you juice, if at all? Roney said she recommends it only if you genuinely like juice and want to add it to your meals. English suggested drinking no more than one juice each day and including more veggies than fruits.
If you are contemplating taking a whack at the juicing process, I’d say go for it! After all, you don’t have to do a juicing cleanse; you could simply try it as infrequently as once a week. Just keep in mind how it can impact your overall health.