As much as I try to avoid watching infomercials, I sometimes get sucked in – especially when it has to do with nutrition. So, you can bet I’ve seen my share of juicer-mercials. I can’t comment on the quality of those products, but I can give you my opinion on juicing.
To be honest, it’s not really a black and white subject. Juicing makes use of healthy, natural foods, so it should be filled with goodness. But during the process of juicing, fiber is completely removed from the fruit or vegetable. There are pros and cons to this:
Pros of Juicing:
- “Eat” more without feeling full: Without fiber filling you up, you can consume more fruits and vegetables than you would consume otherwise. This means more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
- Absorb more of what you’re eating: The process of juicing does some of the digestive work for you, so your body doesn’t have to try as hard to get the “good stuff.”
- Eat a wide variety of fruits and veggies: Some people hate spinach and kale, but they are amazing for your health. With juicing, you can easily mix fruits and veggies to mask the flavor of the ones you’re not so fond of.
Cons of Juicing:
- Fast absorption isn’t always a good thing. When it comes to vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, yes, faster is better. When it comes to sugar, it’s definitely not. A glass of fresh juice can really spike your blood sugar levels, causing an initial energy boost and a subsequent crash. The notably absent fiber in juice slows sugar absorption.
- You may need that lost fiber. According to a March 2012 Journal of Nutrition review, eating a diet high in fiber may LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, lower blood glucose, and decrease insulin resistance in people with pre-diabetes and type-2 diabetes; help with both weight loss and maintenance; and improve bowel regularity and gastrointestinal health. The standard American diet is rich in animal products and processed foods, which often don’t have much fiber if they have any at all.
So, what can you do to get all the nutritional goodness of juice, including fiber, without spiking your blood sugar? One alternative would be to eat more whole fruits and vegetables. It’s the way nature intended us to eat, so it’s got to be good. But if the thought of chewing an entire head of romaine lettuce or a bunch of kale seems like too much work, there’s another option: Smoothies. You can use your standard blender, I love using my Vitamix, and throw in some fruits and veggies for a healthy smoothie. I’m not big kitchen gadget gal, but I have to tell you, I don’t know what I did without my Vitamix!