My RD blogger friend Karman is hanging out on the blog today. Her and I met last year at Blog Brûlée although I wish we had spent more time together – it was just too. darn. short! She’s got a pretty sweet blog that’s all about nutrition, food, and travel (my kinda girl). And she’s on TFD today dishing the dirt about juicing. It seems every which we turn we’re hearing about juicing – should you do it? Karman gives us the scoop. Thanks for the awesome info, Karman!
Cleanse. Detox. Cold-pressed. The juicing trend has squeezed its way back into the limelight as juice bars are appearing in hotels, grocery stores, airports, fitness centers, and everywhere in between. Consumers are on the endless search for the mythical “cure-all” food to remedy whatever ails them. So is fresh juice the answer to our nutrition prayers?
Unfortunately, no. But will that bright orange, fresh-pressed carrot-apple-lemon juice delightfully dubbed with the name “Glow” actually make you glow? It just might! The benefit of drinking juices made from a large quantity of whole fruits and vegetables is that you get ALL of those vitamins and minerals in an easy-to-drink form. Hooray! Since the average American only eats 57% of the recommended vegetables and 43% of the recommended fruits each day, most people could use an extra boost of produce each day. Juice may be a suitable option for those who are struggling to eat enough fruits and veggies in a day or for people who are picky about eating them—surprisingly, drinking fruits and vegetables can be more palatable than eating them (this is the case with beets for me!).
But, while fresh juices can provide a variety of vitamins and minerals in any easily consumable form, they can also be high in sugar and calories, and they lack the fiber of whole fruits and vegetables. So let’s step back and consider these juicy tips before hitting the juice bar.
- Juicing shall not replace meals.
I would never, ever, ever recommend a juice “cleanse” (i.e. only drinking juices for several days in a row) or tell you that juice should replace eating whole fruits and vegetables. Rather, juicing should be a supplement to your daily diet–a way to squeeze in additional vitamins and minerals. Juice is lacking in fiber, protein, and fat, which are all essential for a healthy diet so don’t think that juice will provide your body with everything it needs. But if you plan on replacing that afternoon candy bar snack with a fresh pressed juice, well then that’s an upgrade!
- Vegetables should take center stage.
Juice, even though made with nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables, still contributes calories to your diet. How many calories it contributes depends on what you decide to juice. Fruits naturally contain fructose, a form of sugar, so as they are juiced and stripped of any fiber, the amount of fructose per serving becomes more concentrated (i.e. more calories in a smaller amount). Consider how much sugar is in a 4 ounce serving of 100% orange juice—about 10 grams—and you’ll have a better understanding of how quickly those calories can add up. Juicing primarily vegetables, think leafy greens, celery, cucumber, and adding a small amount of fruit for sweetness is the better way to go.
- Juicing can be costly.
Let’s be honest, juicing is not the most affordable way to get your daily dose of fruits and vegetables in for the day with fresh-pressed juices costing anywhere from $6-$12 each. Whether you decide to buy pre-bottled juice from the grocery, fresh made juice from a local juicery, or make your own at home, be ready to spend some extra cash. If you’re considering investing in a juicer, but aren’t sure if it’s worth the investment, download this simple Juice Payback Calculator.
Juice can certainly be a healthy addition to any diet if done correctly and in moderation. Challenge yourself to try fruits and vegetables you typically don’t enjoy eating in your juice concoctions. Beets and I would still be on bad terms if I hadn’t tried them in juice!
Karman Meyer is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist based in Nashville, TN. Teaching people how the right foods can help them feel better, look better and live better is her passion! Karman blogs at The Nutrition Adventure, develops recipes, works with the food service and hospitality industry, and is a nutrition & health writer.