The Claim: Juicing Is Good For You
There's no question that juice is more nutritious than soda and, depending on the type of juice, a potentially good source of certain vitamins and minerals. Juicing can make it easier to meet your daily requirement of fruits and veggies. But talk to some enthusiasts, and you'll hear claims that a tall drink of dandelions and wheatgrass can increase energy, boost the immune system, and remove toxins. A common explanation is that because the digestive system doesn't have to break down food, the nutrients in juice are more easily absorbed and the body is able to "rest" and heal itself.
Sounds good, but it's scientifically baseless. There's no evidence that juices are any more healthful or nutritious than the foods from which they come. Nor do we have proof that juicing promotes weight loss, as some claim. If you're not careful, it can have the opposite effect because certain juices are relatively high in calories. An eight-ounce glass of apple juice, for example, has 114 calories, compared to 97 in Coke. A concoction of several juices can contain even more calories.
Another possible pitfall is that juices from fruits and some veggies are loaded with the sugar fructose. Preliminary research suggests that it may make the body resistant to insulin, and some studies have linked fruit juice consumption to an increased risk of diabetes.
Unlike juice, whole fruits and vegetables contain fiber, which helps the body process sugar more slowly and avoid the swings in blood sugar levels that you can get from juice. By drinking instead of eating your produce, you also miss out on the other possible health benefits of fiber and the feeling of fullness that it provides. What's more, you don't get the many healthful compounds found in the skin and pulp of fruits and vegetables.
If you enjoy juicing, go for it. But don't let it keep you from eating whole fruits and veggies. And don't expect it to work health miracles.
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Reprinted from Coffee Is Good for You by Robert J. Davis, PhD, by arrangement with Perigee, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., Copyright (c) 2012 by Robert J. Davis, PhD, MPH