The Juice on Juicing

By Heidi Shoemaker, Dietitian, NASM-CPT, Renown Health Management Services

Juicing is very popular and many people try it to lose weight or “detox” the body. However, juicing is not a good idea for everyone. In fact, I don’t recommend everyone purchase a juicer; I recommend buying a really good blender.

BeetJuice

A powerful blender pulverizes the whole fruit or veggie, ensuring you get all the nutrients and fiber.

Let’s clarify what “juicing” really means. There are many blenders and juicing machines on the market. A juicer squeezes the juice (water and sugar/carbohydrate) out of fruits and vegetables and leaves the “pulp” behind and that fiber gets thrown away. The goodies left behind are exactly why many Dietitians and Nutritionists encourage people to eat fruits and veggies in the first place!

A really good blender pulverizes the whole fruit or veggie and you get all the goodies nature intended. If you are a healthy person at a healthy weight, juicing may be just fine and it is certainly better than soda. If you are overweight drinking juice will NOT help you lose weight. In fact, it may cause weight gain.  Calories in beverages do not fill up our tummies and make us eat less food; it is usually just extra calories.

Going on a juice-only diet may help you lose weight temporarily but it does not “detox” your body.  There is no way to detox your body; simply breathing in air/oxygen causes free radicals to form (the basic process of metabolism causes free radicals). There is nothing I can do to prevent that; it is called life.

If one day a week you want to drink fruit/veggie juice only because it helps you feel good and keeps your weight down and you feel like it “cleans you out” then I can’t say that is unsafe. That is, if you are an otherwise healthy person.

If you have diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance or insulin resistance juicing is a bad idea.  Fiber is our friend; we don’t digest it or get calories from it. Fiber cleans us out and is the best “detox” you can give your body. For those of us that have a hard time eating breakfast (not hungry), making a fruit/veggie smoothie is a good idea and is much better than skipping meals, which can cause weight gain and erratic blood sugars.

Be careful of pre-made smoothies; these frequently have apple juice as their base and contain sherbet or other high calorie ingredients and can contain as many calories as a cheeseburger! I finally bought a good blender and this is one of my favorite recipes:Fruit Juice

  • 6 – 8 oz vanilla yogurt (or Greek yogurt if you want more protein)
  • One cup frozen or fresh blueberries
  • One frozen or fresh banana
  • One cup frozen or fresh mango
  • One cup frozen or fresh pineapple
  • One or two cups fresh, chopped kale

Blend these ingredients together; may need to add some milk (cow’s, soy, almond, etc) to make it thinner. This makes 2 – 4 smoothies, depending on the size.  I drink one right away and freeze the others. If you like it frosty like a milkshake, use frozen fruit (may have to let it thaw a little first).  If you prefer it smoother and less frosty, use fresh fruit. The options are limitless! You can also add protein powder if desired or other fun additions like ground flaxseeds or almonds (any kind of nut could work).  Be good to yourself and enjoy!

5 Responses to “The Juice on Juicing”

  1. Kristen Power says:

    Great tips! While drinking fresh juice from my juicer is invigorating, it definitely doesn’t fill me up like a nice berries and kale smoothie. The fiber makes all the difference.

  2. Laurie Fena says:

    Excellent advice, and well- written! Thanks for the recipe – I’ll bet it’s delicious.

  3. Helen says:

    Re “The Joice on Juicing” article, I have type 2 diabetis (Non Insulin) and buy low sugar, high fiber, low carb foods……..should I not juice at all? If I can, what is recommended to use and maybe twice a week one meal a day?

    Thanks.

    • Ayse Caglar says:

      Helen, thank you for your question. We spoke with Heidi and here’s what she had to say: “I do not usually recommend juicing if you have diabetes. If you want to blend whole fruits and vegetables, consider adding some lower carb yogurt or plain greek yogurt. You can also add milk or protein powder to balance the carbs, and then watch portions. Keep the portion to 8–12 oz at a time. But my question would be what is the goal for eating a blenderized meal? Is it so you don’t skip breakfast? Then that is fine. But typically for people with diabetes, I would recommend whole food over blended. It is digested slower and causes less spikes in the blood sugar and is usually more satisfying. However, if you are only doing it twice a week for one meal and you blend instead of juice then it probably is fine. Everyone is different. It may be helpful for them to consider a consult with a dietitian so we can discuss how to fit it into your diet. Most insurance companies cover some kind of diabetes education. We offer many diabetes education programs at Health Management Services that may be helpful.”

  4. Jeff Yarr says:

    Thanks for the great info! Good to hear some wonderful science to de-myth these fad diets. Thanks!

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