People have been asking me about a lot about juicing lately, and after reading this recent article about juice cleanses and detox diets, I thought I’d revisit a post I published last year.
To juice or not to juice, that is the question.
The answer is, as is often the case: it depends.
Juicing can be a healthy and beneficial habit for some people, and a waste of time, money and calories for others. Here’s a little info to help you determine whether juicing is right for you.
People who might benefit from juicing:
- Have a hard time meeting their vegetable requirements each day, but don’t need to lose weight.
- Can only get their kids (or themselves) to eat green veggies when they are in a juice or smoothie.
- Are able to view a glass of juice as a snack, rather than a drink that needs to be accompanied by a snack.
- Like to make juices with vegetables, not just fruits.
People who probably won’t benefit from juicing:
- Already eat plenty of vegetables and fruits.
- Need to lose weight, and have a hard time cutting calories or sticking with a healthy diet.
- Have a tendency to overeat, especially for reasons other than hunger (stress, boredom, excitement, social pressure, nervousness, etc).
- Don’t feel satisfied after drinking a smoothie, juice, or other caloric beverage.
The Pros of Juicing
- You might eat vegetables you’re not willing to eat in their solid form (bitter greens, fennel, beets, etc).
- You can pack some wonderful nutrients into a tasty beverage.
- Fresh juice is a healthy and energizing snack, or in some cases, meal replacement.
- Fresh juice tastes delicious.
The Cons of Juicing
- It’s expensive. You have to buy a TON of fruits and veggies to make juice. If you’re aiming for better health, you should choose organic F & V (otherwise you’re drinking what I like to call a “pesticide cocktail”), which will up the price even more.
- Liquid calories are not as satisfying as solid food. A lot of volume goes into a juice, but only a little volume comes out. Our stomachs are programmed to feel fuller when they contain more volume, so juice doesn’t give you much bang for your buck.
- You may end up eating more overall calories, which will lead to weight gain. If you add juice to your diet, you’ll need to make sure you account for the extra calories by eating a little less at other meals or snacks.
- You lose the fiber. Unless you’re blending whole fruits and vegetables in a blender, you’re losing much of the pulp and fiber when you press juice. This roughage is one of the biggest benefits of fruits and vegetables, and here it’s being left out.
- You may feel like you’re “cleansing” yourself with a potent vegetable juice, and overcompensate later by eating more less nutritious foods (or drinking extra alcoholic beverages), which negates your previous any good you bestowed on your body.
Before you head out to buy a several-hundred-dollar juicer or blender, give this some thought and decide if juicing is really going to bring you any benefit. If you decide the answer is no, you can always pop into a juice shop or health food store for the occasional fresh juice as a treat.