Does Juicing Vegetables Give You the Same Nutrition?

juice
Juicing provides all the nutrients of vegetables except fiber. (Image: Whitestorm/iStock/Getty Images)

A simple Internet search for juicing turns up thousands of claims by experts touting its magical properties. Vegetables are a blend of vitamins, nutrients and fiber that work together to give your body a nutritious punch. While juicing strips out the fiber, it does supply most of the nutrients and vitamins you get from vegetables. Even in certain circumstances or as part of a balanced diet, juicing can add some fun and excitement to otherwise boring vegetables.

Juicing Claims

Some experts, such as Jay "the Juiceman" Kordich and Michael Murray, N.D., make claims about the miracle powers of juicing. They promote juicing as a way to boost the immune system, treat cancer or inspire a general sense of well-being. A kernel of truth is behind this: fruits and vegetables contain a wealth of nutrients that you need to incorporate into your diet. Getting more of them can only benefit you, and juicing is an easy way to put fruits and vegetables into your system fast. If you have trouble digesting fiber, have a poor appetite or just don't care for vegetables, juicing provides a simple way for you to get healthy vegetable nutrition without the need for supplements.

Realities of Juicing

Juicers remove essential dietary fiber, and you still have to eat whole foods in order to meet daily recommendations for fiber. This nutrient is important for colon health, and studies have shown that it can help prevent heart disease. Other claims that juicing can cure disease are dubious. The Mayo Clinic states that juicing does not help the body absorb nutrients any better. In fact, fiber assists the body in absorbing nutrients. Also, no scientific evidence exists to support claims that juicing clears toxins from the body, and the high amount of calories in both prepackaged and homemade juices make them unsuitable as weight-loss aides.

Possible Risks

Juicing your vegetables has some risks. Since there is no fiber with the sugar, it can lead to higher blood sugar spikes in diabetics, according to the American Cancer Society. Prepackaged and fresh-squeezed juices can have hidden calories and natural sugars, and this can lead to weight gain if you consume juices in addition to a full diet. If you buy your juice from a supplier instead of juicing it yourself, make sure it is pasteurized to kill any bacteria. If the bacteria is not killed, those with compromised immune systems could run the risk of infection.

Recommendations

In general, juicing is a good way to approach eating vegetables, provided it is part of a balanced diet. Focus on using juice as a supplement to round out your diet, rather than to replace an entire food group. Drink juice as a way to make your diet healthier overall. Aim to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day, whether in juice form or whole.

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