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Juicing- The Low Down

Whether you are juicing at home, buying cold-pressed off the shelf or simply buying freshly squeezed juices from restaurants and green grocers, drinking your fruit and vegetables is on the rise. Juicing may seem like the latest craze; however, it has been around for donkeys’ years.

Claims around juicing being good for detoxification, weight loss, gut health, increased nutrient intake and cleansing are everywhere. The real question is: Are any of these true or are you falling into a marketing trap?

Juicing Methods

There are varying juicing methods ranging from old-school hand squeezing to electric juicers which are commonly used today. Juicing today is usually done by one of these two methods:

Cold-press juicing

Here the juice is extracted using masticating juicers, which use hydraulic power to essentially chew and crush juice out of the fruit or vegetable. This process is slower but also doesn’t use any heat – retaining more nutrients than other methods.

Centrifugal juicing

Here the juice is extracted by grinding the fruit and vegetables and separating it from the pulp using high-speed spinning blades; which naturally release heat into the juicing contents. Unfortunately, this results in the denaturing of enzymes and deactivation of the many heat sensitive bioactive ingredients.

Getting in Your Nutrients

With today’s Westernized diet, many people struggle to consume enough fruit and vegetables, with studies showing South African’s micronutrient deficiencies to still be highly prevalent.

Fruit and vegetables are the main dietary sources of many vitamins, minerals, flavonoids and other bioactive ingredients. If you are someone who struggles to get in those fruit and vegetables, juicing may be a good option for you.

However, I think there are a few things you need to consider before going down the juicing rabbit hole.

Juicing and Detoxification

The sassy and sexy cleanses and ‘detox’ juicing programmes are not always quite what they are made out to be. Solely drinking juice to make you feel and look your best, getting you into a vicious cycle of juicing and binge eating, is a fallacy.

There are many components involved in the body’s innate detoxification process and these physiological processes breakdown both environmental and dietary toxins. Juicing alone cannot ‘detoxify’. That being said, a juice full of vegetable greens, containing bioactives and the detoxifying sulforaphane, can form part of a well-balanced dietary plan aimed at activating your natural detoxification pathways.

Juicing and Fibre

Juicing strips out most of the fibre found in fruits and vegetables by removing skin and flesh. There are claims that by removing the fibre the nutrients can be absorbed more efficiently, however there is no scientific evidence for this.

Most South Africans don’t meet the recommended daily allowance of 30g of fibre per day. Fibre has a host of benefits like maintaining gut health, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, inflammation, colon cancers and it also keeps you fuller for longer. The skins of fruit and vegetables have additional nutrients and bioactive ingredients. 

By removing the fibre, the fructose is considered as a ‘free sugar’, resulting in it being absorbed more quickly into the blood stream, causing blood sugar levels and in turn insulin levels to spike. Studies show that greater consumption of fruit juice increases the risk of diabetes. Juices containing more vegetables than fruit, naturally contain less sugar, however they still lack that all essential fibre.

Juicing and Weight Loss

The perception that juices are healthier and lower in calories than sports drinks or cold drinks is not necessarily true. Often you don’t know how many fruits are in your juice nor the sugar and caloric load.

With one fruit portion equating to 60 calories, a glass of juice containing a larger portion of fruits can easily add up to more than 240 calories – or more sugar than a can of Coke – and scientific evidence shows that sucrose consumption without the corresponding fibre, common for juices, is associated with the metabolic syndrome, liver injury, and obesity.

While some low-fruit-load ‘juicing diets’ can ultimately result in caloric restriction, they are not sustainable or nutritionally balanced and can result in many other deficiencies.

What You Need to Remember

The importance lies in the ingredients that make up your juice. Don’t fall into the marketing trap where commercial juice brands promise benefits that technically cannot be achieved.

Juicing, according to research, is not healthier than eating whole fruits and vegetables, and although it can offer some nutritional benefits in terms of allowing for larger intake of greens and vegetables, it can have some downfalls when it comes to consuming too many sugars and missing out on those important fibres.

When it forms part of a well-balanced diet, juicing, provided that you limit your fruit portion to one at a time, can provide certain health benefits. If you are not one for eating fresh fruit and vegetables, juicing may be a great way to add them into your diet, BUT, remember to watch those fruit portions and to up your fibre intake elsewhere.

Stay in tune for more about commercial juices and smoothies

Nourish yourself to the sunrise.

Written with love ,
Sunrise by HM


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