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Juicing and a Healthy Diet

Orange Icon  Juicing and a Healthy Diet

Orange Icon  Juicing and a Healthy Diet

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No matter how long I do this job, I'm always amazed by the fad diets and weight-loss schemes that explode onto the market, only to flame out a few months later. Some, like the cabbage diet or grapefruit diet, develop a steady presence on the outer edges of the weight-loss world, in spite of the fact that they don't work. (Have you ever met anyone who kept off the weight they lost on the cabbage soup diet after they added other foods back into their diet? Didn't think so.)

Other fad diets are harder to tamp down on, because they seem like they'd be a reasonable, healthy eating plan. The juicing diet falls into this category. Proponents of a juicing diet argue that drinking fruit and vegetable juice is a more efficient way of absorbing the vitamins and nutrients in fruits and vegetables, because your body doesn't have to work to break down the fiber.

While it's true that fiber slows digestion, there are several reasons juicing isn't an effective long-term healthy eating plan.

  1. It's time consuming. This isn't really linked to the health/wellness aspect of the diet, but juicing fruits and vegetables takes a long time. Considering how strapped we all are for time - nearly all my clients have told me, at one point or another, that they didn't even have time to exercise - we're unlikely to stick to a diet that requires extensive amounts of our time. Plus, you'll need to juice every day to avoid rancid juice.

  2. It's expensive. Again, not directly tied to health and wellness - except that our health and wellness is directly tied to the likelihood that we'll stick with healthy eating. One piece of fruit provides around four ounces of juice. An average glass is about 8-12 ounces. If the juice is your entire meal, you'll probably want an even larger glass. If you're buying organic - which is ideal for many fruits and vegetables - juicing gets pricy.

  3. Juicing strips away many health benefits. My mom always used to tell me to make sure I ate the skin of fruits and veggies, because the skin contains dozens of essential vitamins and nutrients. Juicing strips the skin - and the pulp - away, so you're losing some of the health benefits associated with eating natural foods. Juicing is processing, albeit a crude form, and processing strips nutrients from food.

  4. An all-juice diet is deficient in many nutrients. As it is, many American diets are already deficient in fiber, and juicing strips most of the fiber content from fruits and vegetables. Plus, any diet entirely reliant on produce is going to be seriously deficient in protein.

If you don't like the taste of vegetables, or are concerned that you aren't getting your daily servings of fruits and veggies, adding fresh juices to your diet can be beneficial, but only as a supplement to whole foods. Also, if you do want to add additional servings of fruits and vegetables to your diet, consider using a blender rather than a juicer. Juicers remove the skin and pulp, while blenders retain it. The result will be healthier, since you'll keep more of the fiber.