If you’re thinking of buying a juicer or starting a weight loss program based on drinking your daily calories, it’s a good idea to weigh the pros and cons of this growing nutrition trend.
What could be wrong with drinking a glass of fresh juice squeezed from healthy fruits and vegetables? Not much, if you do it correctly and in moderation, but you’ll still want to make sure you follow some common sense preparation and caloric guidelines when you juice.
Lots of Vitamins and Minerals
A single glass of juice can pack the vitamins and minerals from several pieces of fruit and vegetable into one drink. People who tend to get most of their calories from meat, potatoes, bread, pasta and carbs often don’t get enough fruits and veggies and their micronutrients, and juicing can help address that problem.
Loss of Dietary Fiber
When you use a good juicer, you remove much of the dietary fiber that comes from plants. Dietary fiber is very important to good health. Eating fruit without fiber might also negatively affect the way your body absorbs the sugars in the juice.
The more fruit and high sugar vegetables (e.g., carrots and beets) you eat, the more sugar you ingest. Sugar stimulates the production of LDL particles, which transport bad (LDL) cholesterol into your arteries, increasing your risk for heart disease. Too much sugar can also increase your risk for Type 2 diabetes.
A glass of juiced apples contains many more calories than what you get from eating one apple. Do some research before you start juicing so you know how many calories you get from each glass you drink.
Food Borne Illness
Homemade juice isn’t pasteurized, which is a low heating process that kills bacteria. Drinking unpasteurized juice can lead to a higher risk of food illnesses, especially if you store your juice for later drinking.
To get the most juice out of every piece of fruit of vegetable, you won’t be able to use your current blender or food processor. The best juicers can cost hundreds of dollars. However, the investment can pay for itself many times over in improved health and decreased health care costs, if you follow a sensible juicing plan.
Sam Ashe-Edmunds is a health, fitness, food, medicine and nutrition journalist who has written for dozens of newspapers, magazines and websites, including JillianMichaels.com, LIVESTRONG, Fit magazine, The Chicago Tribune and Sacramento Bee.