The juicing trend has taken over the wellness world. It seems like nowadays, everyone knows someone who drinks green juice or has been on a juice cleanse. What is the hype about and should you be jumping on the juicing bandwagon? Here is what you need to know about the trend.
Juicing can be an easy way to get your veggies and fruits in, but choose whole fruits and veggies first.
It is difficult for many people to consume the recommended five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day. In fact, during 2007–2010, 76% of the U.S. population did not meet fruit intake recommendations, and 87% did not meet vegetable intake. Juicing can be a convenient way to get your daily servings of fruit and vegetables in. However, it does not contain the fiber that whole fruit and vegetables have and is also high in sugar. Therefore, you should not rely on juice as your only source of fruit or vegetable intake. Choose whole fruits and veggies first to truly reap their benefits.
Do not rely on juices to provide all of your nutrients.
Juicing extracts the liquid from fruits and vegetables, leaving the skins and fiber behind. By removing the fiber, all the vitamins and minerals can be absorbed quickly by our body. Most of the calories from juice come from natural sugars found in fruit and vegetables, which can cause spikes in blood sugar. When you drink only juice all day, you end up with nutritional gaps in your diet, mainly consisting of carbohydrates (mostly sugars from fruits) and lacking important nutrients such as fiber, protein, and fat. Because juices are missing these important nutrients, it should not be used as a meal replacement. However, they can be consumed as a snack or with meals to help get in those vegetables or fruits you may be missing in your day.
Blending is not the same.
Smoothies are made by blending whole foods together, keeping all of the nutrients, including fiber, intact. When you blend, you have the option of adding more ingredients to give your smoothie a nutritional boost such as Greek yogurt, protein powder, nut butter, or chia seeds. Smoothies contain protein and fiber, which keeps you full for longer.
Which is better- blending or juicing?
When it comes down to choosing between blending or juicing, it really depends on what you are looking for.
Juices can be an easy way to get your greens in if you are not getting enough. For someone who is busy and always on the go or who just doesn’t like the taste of greens, juicing can be a good way to fill in that gap. Because it doesn’t contain fiber or protein, it is quickly absorbed and you can drink juice with a meal or as a snack to get those greens in.
Blending is a good way to get your fruits and vegetables in as well, with the benefits of fiber and protein. If you are looking for a drink to keep you full for longer, blending is the way to go. It is more balanced so can be used to replace meals, such as a breakfast smoothie or as a post workout snack. With blending, you can get more creative with it by adding ingredients such as nut butters, silken tofu, nut milks, Greek yogurt, the list goes on!
Not all juices are created equal
Many juices are made with a lot of fruit, which can cause a spike in blood sugar. Look for green juices with mostly vegetables to get the biggest bang for your buck. Choose ones with 1 fruit, 1 flavoring ingredient such as ginger, mint, or lemon, and the rest greens.
Usual Dietary Intakes: Food Intakes, U.S. Population, 2007-10. Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program website. National Cancer Institute. http://epi.grants.cancer.gov/diet/usualintakes/pop/2007-10/. Updated May 20, 2015.
By Joanna Li, R.D. - Expert Dietician