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 really 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, 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 fewer calories 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.
Amanda Herwaldt CowanMarch 3, 2013 at 2:30 pm
We jumped on the juicing bandwagon about a year ago after seeing “Fat Sick and Nearly Dead” and while we liked it, we did have some issues. 1) it takes a ridiculous amount of produce to make juice for a family of 5. 2) Each kid had ‘wants’ and ‘likes’ (like one hated kiwi but wanted watermelon and the other wanted kiwi but hated watermelon) so it was a huge endeavor to make for everyone. 3) then we started hearing about how the centripetal types of juicers heat up the juice to the point of losing all those phyto-nutrients (or whatever they’re called). Well that’s when we threw in the towel. I mean, what’s the point right? Plus, I have to admit that after two days of juicing I just wanted to chew something. I’m pretty good at getting my fruits and veggies. I still stuff spinach into my smoothies if I have one for a snack before or after a workout (I tend to not have smoothies on non-workout days).
AmeliaMarch 4, 2013 at 3:53 pm
Some very good points here, Amanda. I like your honesty! And good tip about having smoothies on workout days.
DennyMarch 8, 2013 at 5:26 pm
What do you think about the NutriBullet(or things like that)? I purchased one in December and have been using it a lot. I like it because unlike a traditional juicer, this just blends it all up and you get the fiber. I try to make a drink with kale or spinach (about 50%), a banana, some frozen berries and flax seed (and add water) with my dinner.
DanielleMay 21, 2016 at 8:53 pm
Stick to juicing as much as you can. It is healthy. The Nutri Bullet doesn’t eliminate fiber. Avoid listening to people who label juicing – as a fad – they are misinformed. I feel so much healthier when I started juicing. People who talk negatively about juicing have never tried it for an extended time. Also, juicing isn’t new. People have been juicing with machines since the 1960s. Jack LaLanne used to juice back in the 1960s as well.
Amelia WinslowMay 23, 2016 at 12:12 pm
Hi Danielle – I think the important things with juicing are 1) don’t use juice as a replacement to eating whole fruits and vegetables 2) remember that whole fruits and veggies are much higher in volume, so they’re more satisfying and 3) juicing won’t make you healthy unless the rest of your diet is also healthy.