Juicing: Bullshit? / by Tom Maloney

Juicing is not a bad thing by any means, but it may be misunderstood.  I believe the sudden miraculous benefits we see from all juice cleanses are simply due to hydration, reduced calorie intake, and cutting out junk food in general.  Its amazing what drinking more water and cutting out Twinkies can do for someone’s health.  Also, even though the juicing process destroys some of the vitamins and minerals, a juice cleanser’s net intake of them is most likely much higher than it was before the juice cleanse.  The following are some issues with juicing and juice cleanses that need to be brought to light.

No fiber! 

Juice is simply the concentrated liquid portion of the fruits and vegetables without any of the plant fiber.  We need fiber more than ever in our day and age.  Fiber is healing and supportive to the intestinal track and makes the assimilation of vitamins and minerals more efficient.  Fiber gives a feeling of satiety and regulates blood sugar.  We need fiber and I believe un-fibered juice isn't all it could be. 

Too Much Sugar!

Most juice blends prepared at a juice bar contain some sort of sweet fruit or vegetable (usually green apple, beets, carrots) in order to make them palatable for the average person who may not enjoy the taste of pure veggie juice.  With juicing, all of that sweetness is concentrated into one 14-24 oz drink.  Its not uncommon to see juices with sugar content around 30-40g.  For reference, a 12 oz Coke has 39g of sugar.  Fruit fructose is a better sugar than high fructose corn syrup but it is still sugar.  Also, without fiber to ease the blood sugar, a 40g blast of sugar in one juice can wreak metabolic havoc. 

Short Shelf Life!

Unless you're making the juice yourself or getting it made for you live in person, chances are you’re buying bottled vegetable juice.  The beneficial enzymes, vitamins, and minerals in freshly pressed juice are incredibly sensitize to air, light, and heat.  Many authorities say a juice needs to be consumed within 20 minutes of creation to have maximum benefit.  Companies that sell bottled juice add even more sugar to extend the shelf life.  Gross. 

Solution?

1)  Use a blender.  Chop your veggies, put them in a blender, add water, blend.  Fiber is kept intact to ease the blood sugar spike that may be caused by fructose and to help absorption of all the goodies.

2)  Limit how many apples, carrots, beets, and berries are used.  Of course these foods contain massive amounts of life supporting factors but when your juice is 5 green apples and 1 kale leaf, there is a problem.  Its all about proper ratios to make a subtly delicious and healthful blended veggie/fruit drink.

3)  Blended fruit and veggie drinks have a much longer shelf life because of the fiber but it is still best to consume them the day they are made to gain maximum nutritional benefit.

4) Be creative.  Don't be afraid to experiment with the whole array of fruits and veggies.  Kale and apples don't rule the world. 

Have fun!