Is Juicing Healthy and Good for You?

I must hear this question at least 3 times a week and tonight Cousin Cam from Canada emailed me asking “is juicing healthy?” so I thought it time for a blog.

Simply put – NO!

Whole fruits and vegetables are healthy – they provide fiber, vitamins, minerals and nutrients called phytochemicals, which cannot be duplicated in a pill.

When you extract out the juices from the solid parts of the plant all you get is juice.  Although juice does contain vitamins it is total carbohydrate without the fiber to even out the blood sugar. 

Ounce per ounce most juice contains the same amount of carbohydrates as soda.

A few weeks ago a client decided to go on a “juice cleanse.”  She came clean and told me at her appointment.  She and I added up the carbs per day of the 8 glasses of juice she was consuming, which was composed of mostly of vegetables, and some fruit mixed in for sweetness. 

The total amount of carbohydrates was 250 grams per day.  To put that in perspective there are 15 grams of carbs in a slice of bread so she was drinking 16 pieces worth of bread without any protein or fat to stabilize out her blood sugars.

This increase in blood sugar can have a negative internal effect causing high insulin levels, which can cascade into just headaches, or more importantly inflammation. Inflammation can trigger higher blood sugars for diabetics, and symptoms of arthritis or other autoimmune issues triggered by high insulin levels.

I would not put that in the “health” category by any stretch.  My client told me it was quite expensive for those 8 glasses of juice, as are the “juicers” you buy from many companies.

I am not opposed to smoothies made in the Vitamix or Blendtec that combine protein, fat and carbohydrates, which can include veggies or fruits.  The advantage of these two high-powered blenders is that you can put the whole fruit or vegetable in the mix, which is then pulverized in its entirety so you are receiving the fiber and juice component.

Many people go on a juice cleanse thinking they will lose weight, which in theory sounds reasonable.  What really happens is that weight may initially drop due to less caloric intake.  However, true weight will not be lost, and it can quickly rebound into increased weight due to the nutrient imbalance and lowered metabolism.

Juicing or doing a “detox” cleanse without considering all the possible side effects may in fact be detrimental to your health.

Take home message:  eat your fruits and vegetables and if you want to drink them in moderation, make the investment in one of the above blenders.  You will be much more satisfied and your body will thank you!