Ask Amelia Food Myths Nutrition

Juicing: Is It Really A Healthy Habit?

is juicing healthy

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.

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  • Liz @ The Lemon Bowl
    March 10, 2014 at 11:30 am

    Love this!! I’m asked this question all the time. Great post!

  • Anna
    March 10, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    Great post! I definitely agree with you-it depends if it’s good for you to do but unfortunately, people are on this popular juicing hype lately without knowing whether it really benefits them.

  • Megan (The Lyons' Share)
    March 12, 2014 at 9:33 am

    Great post, Amelia, as always! I agree with your idea that it depends, and for MOST people I don’t recommend it (mainly because they’re only looking for a “surefire way to super-fast weight loss” or some other magic bullet like that). I do have a juicer and I often drink a very small amount (2 ounces or so?) of green veggie + ginger + lemon juice with breakfast. And that is the only point where I slightly differ in opinions… I actually think that small amounts of juice are better WITH a small fat- or protein-containing snack (for example, 4 ounces of juice and a small handful of almonds), to prevent the insulin spike that will almost surely happen from consuming JUST juice as a snack. Any thoughts there? Thanks as always for your balanced thoughts!!!

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