Instead of biting into an apple or sauteing some vegetables for a meal, juicing offers an alternative way to eat these healthy foods. Juicing involves grinding fruits and vegetables through a juicing machine and extracting only the food's liquids. Although many claims exist about juicing's health benefits, including weight loss and strengthened immunity, no research exists to back up these claims.
Better Nutrient Absorption
Juicing removes most of the liquid from fruits and vegetables and leaves the pulp behind. In leaving the pulp behind, the fruit or vegetable's fiber -- the part of plant food that your body can't digest-- is also left behind. Juicing proponents claim that vitamins in fruits and vegetables, such as vitamin C and vitamin A, are absorbed better in liquid form. The Norwalk Juicer California company states that with juicing, your body can bypass unnecessary digestion of fiber and then more quickly and efficiently absorb nutrients.
Because fiber is left behind in juiced foods, proponents claim that juicing allows your body to rest from digestion processes and detoxify. Stefan Aschan, owner of a nutrition and fitness company, claims in an opinion piece on ABCnews.com that juicing allows the stomach, liver, pancreas, gallbladder and intestines to rest and repair. Healthy, nutrient-rich juiced foods are allowed to enter your system supposedly without taxing it, and giving it time to cleanse and boost immunity.
Some weight loss plans include juicing in their programs. Proponents claim that juicing boosts metabolism and facilitates healthy eating. Increased nutrient absorption and body detoxification benefits with juicing also make weight loss easier, they claim. Juicing is also purported to reduce cravings for other foods by making you feel more balanced.
Alternative for Diets Lacking Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are undeniably healthy foods that should be included in any healthy and balanced diet. For those who don't consume enough fruits and vegetables, juicing can provide the nutrition benefits of these healthy foods in a convenient package. Preparing and drinking one or two fruit and vegetable-rich juicing recipes a day can help boost your nutrition profile if you'd otherwise avoid these healthy foods.
Criticisms and Recommendations
MayoClinic.com notes that most of the positive claims for juicing are baseless. It denounces claims that juicing promotes weight loss and states that some fruits and vegetables contain surprisingly high amounts of sugars that can significantly add to your calorie count. No scientific evidence supports body detoxification or better nutrient absorption through juicing, they also note. Fiber that is lost in juicing is actually good for digestion and, in removing it, you also lose heart-healthy benefits. Some juicing proponents recommend consuming some of the pulp for fiber intake. If you do juice, make sure you drink it fresh and all at once. Harmful bacteria can quickly accumulate in fresh juice since it's not pasteurized like commercial juice products. Also, beware that too much of some juices and overjuicing can sometimes cause diarrhea.