To Juice or Not to Juice?
Ah, the question of the modern age. To juice or not to juice? Well, the answer really isn’t that simple. Just like any other diet, trend, or even weight-loss theory, there are conflicting opinions on juicing. Let’s break it down.
 
The Benefits

Basically, the pro-juice argument says that because the fruits and vegetables are already broken down, it’s easier for the human body to absorb the nutrients. This is true … mostly. If you’re a person who doesn’t normally eat his/her fruits and vegetables, but doesn’t mind the taste of juice, juicing is most certainly a step in the right direction for you. The nutrients found in fruits and vegetables are known to help protect you against a variety of illnesses like cardiovascular disease, different inflammatory diseases and different cancers. Along with that, the flavonoids and anthocyanins in fruits and vegetables can help protect your cells from exposure to chemicals and pollution. So, it is imperative that you get these nutrients. The USDA recommends five servings of fruits and veggies a day, and a recent data study by the CDC showed that only a quarter of U.S. adults eat more than three servings. Some vitamins, such as vitamin C and the B-vitamins are actually more easily absorbed as juice compared to their whole food counterparts, but they’re about the only ones.
 
The Drawbacks

The main downside to only consuming your fruits and veggies through juicing is that you’ll miss out on all the fiber. In addition to being highly important for your digestive health, getting through all the fiber when you bite into an apple, for instance, helps slow down the absorption of all the naturally occurring sugar. When you juice, your glucose levels are more likely to spike, and you’re probably going to absorb a lot more calories than you realize. While vitamin C and the B-vitamins work well with juicing, vitamins A, E and K are better taken through the whole digestion process and some vegetables, like tomatoes, can actually provide more nutritional value when they’re cooked. A smaller downside is that you have to drink your juice right away. No advanced planning for you. Juice that’s not consumed right away can gather bacteria that could cause food poisoning, not to mention the longer juice sits out, the more its nutritional value is compromised.
 
Other Things to Think About

There are people out there who back “juice cleanses,” meaning you consume nothing but juice. All fasting can be dangerous, but juicing in particular is a red flag for your blood sugar (because of the aforementioned sugar levels) and can lead to headaches and lightheadedness. Because you wouldn’t be consuming nearly enough fiber in an all-juice diet, you won’t feel full. You’ll either be irritable, you’ll crack and binge-eat the exact type of food you’re trying to avoid eating, or you’ll overload on juice, which will bring your caloric intake so high that it will defeat the purpose of juicing in the first place. It’s also important to make sure you check with your doctor, because large amounts of certain vitamins, like vitamin K, could impact blood thinners or other medications.
 
The Bottom Line

Juicing isn’t a bad idea as a supplement in your life, especially if you’re not a salad or fruit tray type of person. If you make sure to get enough fiber and keep an eye on your sugar and caloric intake, along with running it by your doctor (as you should anything else diet and fitness related), juicing may be a step in the right direction for your health. But if you’re able to pick up an apple and eat it, just do that instead.
 
Sources: WebMD, Men’s Fitness, Dr.Oz.com, The Mayo Clinic, Financial Times.