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Juicing: Healthy Or Hazardous?

Feb 17, 2017

Easy, affordable, variable, and tasty, it’s easy to see why juicing has captured the heart of thousands of health enthusiasts around the country. 

According to its proponents, juicing not only tastes good, but it also offers a slew of health benefits. If you’ve been looking for a way to slim down, get more vitamins into your diet, clean your colon, or detoxify your system, there’s a juicing regimen tailored precisely for you.

But is juicing all that it’s cracked up to be? Right after the juicing boom, some health practitioners have spoken out and encouraged the people who were embracing the trend to take juicing claims with a grain of salt, stating that these claims could be misleading.

We’ve spent some time listening to both sides of the juicing argument, and have come to a few important conclusions. But before we share them with you, we’d like to present you with the pros and cons of this popular new health trend.

Pros of juicing

If the proponents of juicing are to be believed, juicing is a godsend. It nourishes your body, removes contaminants, revitalizes your cellular structure, and heals all ills. These are some of the claims juicing experts have made over the years, and hearing some of them, you’ll know why juicing has so many followers!

 Juicing is great for losing weight 

A documentary movie came out documenting the massive effect a juice diet can have on your weight. Called “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead”, it follows the journey of Joe Cross, who was a hundred pounds overweight, dependent on prescription steroids to manage his debilitating autoimmune disease, and in dire need a better way of living.

When Joe Cross is at his lowest, he has an epiphany. What comes next is his journey towards health, largely assisted by the discovery of juicing. Today, Joe is a fine, fit adult with no immune system issues, and a booming business centered around helping others find a solution to their health issues through juicing.

According to Joe, juicing is key to his weight loss because it has less carbohydrates than most food and zero fats, people who agree with his philosophy claim that drinking juice can help people looking to slim down. It controls the appetite and still gives you a full feeling while providing you with essential vitamins and nutrients.

Juice does control appetite because it makes you feel fuller, but some people may argue that you can achieve the same effect by drinking two glasses of water before meals.

Furthermore, even Cross does not credit juicing as the sole reason for his weight loss. Instead, he attributes it to a wholesome plant-based diet, exercise, and giving up unhealthy habits. Juicing may have a cataclysmic effect, but don’t be misled into believing that you won’t need to work hard for results so long as you down the recommended recipes.

Juicing is a great way to get your recommended daily allowance of vegetables 

Think of how many carrots you have to eat a day to get your RDA of beta carotene. Prepping, cooking, and eating those carrots take time and energy – and that’s still a whole lot of carrots.

However, with juicing it’s easy. Three to four carrots can go into a single serving of carrot juice, made more palatable by adding pineapple, lemons, or apples. This makes juicing a super-efficient and convenient way to get more nutrients into your system.

You don’t need a huge investment to get started

Juicing does require a juicer, but there’s a wide selection available with at pretty much every price point. If you’ve decided to give juicing a try, you can definitely find an affordable juicer that fits your needs as well as your budget.

Other than the juicer, all you need is a container (which usually comes with your juicer anyway), a sharp knife, veggies and fruits, a glass, a good chopping board, and maybe a thermos, flask, or some airtight glass jars if you need to bring your juice with you. These items are usually already in your kitchen, and are relatively inexpensive to purchase.

Juicing preserves heat-sensitive vitamins and makes them more bioavailable

This is only relevant for people using cold press juicers. Centrifugal press juicers and blender-type juicers (which purists will argue are not actually juicers, but that remains an argument to tackle on another day) still generate heat, which supposedly damage the vitamins anyway.

Cons of juicing

It’s not all rainbows and magic bullets when it comes to this nutritious drink alternative. Several people have tsk-tsked at the idea of juice being a cure-all, and some have even cautioned that it could be bad for you. Here are some of the counter arguments presented to juice aficionados.

Juicing is not healthier than eating fruits and vegetables whole

There is no guarantee that all the nutrients a piece of vegetable has to offer is wicked away into its essential liquid components through juicing. Some of it must remain in the fiber which remains in the juicer, and which you would normally eat.

Because it is easier to consume, you get a lot of sugar with your juice

Fructose, the sugar in fruits, is present aplenty in fruit juice. It’s what makes juicing so appealing in the first place – it doesn’t taste like grass.

Proponents argue that along with the sugar, you are also consuming lot of the nutrients that you’d have a harder time getting without your juice, so it’s healthy. However, sugar is still sugar, and too much of it is definitely bad for you. 

Not only is it addictive, it is also traced to certain cancers, as well as weight loss, and without fiber to curb its absorption, you may be doing more harm than good to your body if you recklessly juice up heaps of fruit.

So what’s the real deal on juicing?

Anyone who has committed to getting healthier knows that there is no single solution to all your health issues, especially not one that has been so commercially bandied about as fast, cheap, and easy. Health is a complex journey that can be fun, but there is no yellow brick road or magic wand that we can wave and make everything bad go away. Juicing, in other words, is not any of those things.

What juicing is, though, is a great way to get more vegetables into your system. Done mindfully, it is also an awesome way to fill up without the extra calories. For instance, there’s nothing wrong with a fruit juice if you’re being active and need the sugar as well as the hydration, but a veggie juice (with a bit of fruit tossed in for flavor) is a better snack option. It will keep you energized, stave off hunger pangs, and give you a good dose of nutrients to boot.

It’s also a great way to consume superfoods like chia seeds and kale. This is especially useful if you have an initial aversion to the said superfoods. When it’s all mixed together, you can’t really tell what you’re having – only that it’s good for you.

Our conclusion? We have found that there is no substitute for a good diet. However, that said, juicing can have an important place in any balanced health regimen, provided that you stay mindful of its possible pitfalls.

Summary

Is juicing really the ultimate health cure? Well, sadly, no. 

While juicing does have its advantages- mainly helping you overcome an aversion to certain fruits or vegetables, getting more nutrients in you, and serving as a healthy, low-calorie snack, it is not better than eating fruits and vegetables as a general rule.

Should you be juicing? Done right, it could do you good. 

So we say yes, give it a try, but be mindful of how much sugar goes into what you’re drinking. If you’re topping off that apple-mango-carrot juice with two teaspoons of the white stuff, you’re much better off just eating a salad and sticking to water.

 



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