Consuming plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables is a key component in maintaining optimum health. Fruits and vegetables contain loads of vitamins and minerals that play an important role in reducing your risk for certain cancers, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and other conditions. Understanding the nutritional facts about juicing can help you make healthier food choices.
Increased Fruit and Vegetable Consumption
Juicing may help you consume more fruits and vegetables. It takes a full pound of carrots, for example, to make 6 to 8 ounces of fresh juice. An article published in the "Journal of the American Dietetic Association" in September 2006 noted that most Americans eat well under the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables. One serving of fruit equals either a cup of 100-percent fruit juice or a cup of fresh fruit. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's ChooseMyPlate.gov guidelines recommend 2 cups of fruit a day for men over age 19 and women ages 19 to 30 and 1.5 cups for women age 31 and older. Daily vegetable recommendations include 3 cups for men 19 to 30 years old; 2.5 cups for men age 51 and older and women 19 to 50 years old; and 2 cups for women 51 and older.
Blood Sugar Fluctuations
Although fresh juices can supply your body with vital nutrients, drinking juice can send your blood sugar on a roller-coaster ride. Juicing concentrates the natural sugars, and your system takes them in more quickly, causing a sudden rise in your blood sugar. Your pancreas then releases insulin in an attempt to stabilize blood sugar levels. When you eat fruits and vegetables in their whole form, however, you digest them more slowly, helping to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Eating other foods with your fresh juice can help slow down the blood-sugar uptake.
Reduces Fiber Intake
Juicing machines separate the juice from the fiber-containing pulp. Loss of roughage is an important consideration. Fiber is a complex carbohydrate present only in plant foods. Although your body can't digest it, fiber plays a vital role in good health. Dietary fiber helps control your body's blood sugar levels, lowers blood cholesterol levels, prevents constipation and may protect against some types of cancer, particularly colon cancer. In addition to fresh juices, include plenty of whole fruits and vegetables as well as other plant foods, such as grains and nuts, in your diet to ensure adequate fiber intake.
Because it takes a sizable amount of produce to make several ounces of fresh juice, the calories can add up. You can consume a small glass of orange juice made from several oranges far more easily than eating several whole oranges. According to Rutgers University, high juice consumption has links with weight gain. An article published in "Pediatrics" in November 2006 noted that a study on fruit juice intake in children supported the Institute of Medicine recommendations to reduce fruit-juice intake as part of an overweight-prevention strategy in children who are overweight or at risk for becoming so.
- Columbia University: Go Ask Alice!: Nutritional Value of Carrot Juice
- University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: In Inroduction: Dietary Fiber
- Journal of the American Dietetic Association: Most Americans Eat Much Less Than Recommended Amounts of Fruits and Vegetables
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: USDA Choose My Plate.gov: How Much Fruit Is Needed Daily?
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: USDA ChooseMyPlate.gov: How Many Vegetables are Needed Daily or Weekly?
- Rutgers University Cooperative Extension: How to Squeeze the Most Nutrition out of Your Juice
- Pediatrics: Fruit Juice Intake Predicts Increased Adiposity Gain in Children From Low-Income Families: Weight Status-By-Environment Interaction
- Harvard Gazette: Science and Health: Skip the Juice, Go for Whole Fruit