Whats The Squeeze?: Assessing The Nutritional Facts of Juicing

Published: March 24th, 2017

Category: Featured, Spring 2017

Written By: Alexa Thompson

Did you enter the new year with a resolution to eat healthier? Were you like me and promised yourself that you’d visit your local farmer’s market? National Nutrition Awareness Month has arrived and is a great checkpoint to evaluate how you’ve done thus far.

Im sure that you’ll agree with me when I say, we all can do a better job of incorporating more fruit and veggies into our diets and according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) of 2010 ,most Americans four years and older are not consuming an adequate amount of fruits and vegetables, affecting their intake of vitamins A, C, and K. While the DGA recommends that most of these nutrients be consumed from whole foods, juicing may be a good supplement for people who have trouble meeting the recommended daily fruit and vegetable intake. This article addresses the benefits and drawbacks to the juicing fad that has risen in popularity over the past decade.

To Juice?

Juicing is an arguably convenient method of consuming more servings of fruits and vegetables. It’s helpful for those that don’t like eating whole vegetables but will enjoy them liquefied, guised under the sweetness of fruit. Because of this, parents can get their children to consume greens without them even realizing it.

A nutritious diet is a diverse diet. If after reading this article you are convinced to juice, I recommend choosing vegetables across the rainbow to pack in nutrients that you might not otherwise get. Consider some of the following combinations:

For Vitamin A and K: Carrot, apple, spinach, kale

Vitamin A, critical in vision and cell growth, is primarily consumed via dairy, although carrots and spinach are good vegetable alternatives[1]

Spinach, kale, and carrots are recommended sources of vitamin K, which is involved in bone metabolism and blood clotting [2]

Adding apples to the mix makes the drink sweeter and easier to drink.

For Vitamin C: Grapefruit, orange, lime

Citrus is the most well-known source of vitamin C and is the most common of the vitamin C rich foods to be juiced. Other sources include red peppers and broccoli [3]. Combining different types of fresh citrus with these non-citrus sources of Vitamin C gives a unique taste that you won’t find in store-bought juices.

Or Not To Juice?

Extracting the juice from fruits and vegetables leaves the fiber behind. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that serves two important functions: soluble fiber lowers glucose levels and blood cholesterol while insoluble fiber promotes regularity in the digestive system, preventing constipation [4]. Losing fiber may mean that juice will be less filling but still contain a problematic concentration of sugar and calories. Diluting a juice with water can help resolve this. If it feels like your body isn’t getting enough fiber, it may be time to switch your juicer for a blender.

Furthermore, juicing can be costly. If one serving of juice doesn’t fill you up, you’ll find yourself digging deeper into your wallet to find satisfaction. You’re digging even deeper if you choose the recommended organic produce, not to mention the initial investment in the right juicer. While food cost is a non-issue for some, it’s certainly an obstacle for others who are cannot afford to spend as much on fresh fruit and vegetables.

The Happy Medium

You’ve heard the saying: everything in moderation. Juicing is a supplement, not an alternative to food. An excess of juice can still lead to malnutrition if you’re not getting the right nutrients. This is why you don’t hear many medical doctors recommending a juice detox. Developing a healthy lifestyle is about finding the happy medium for your body. If you’re contemplating adding kale juice to your otherwise produce-less diet, you’re probably better off adding the juice. Dr. Jeffrey Blumberg of Tufts University’s Antioxidants Research Lab notes that “what’s important is that you find a way to cook that is palatable to you so you’re getting lots of plant foods”[5]. Do more research on the different ways that you can incorporate more fruit and veggies, and see what best fits your lifestyle.

 

Edited By: Mirna Amaya

 Alexa is a Junior pursuing a BHS in Communication Sciences and Disorders and a BA in Anthropology with a certificate in Medical Anthropology at the University of Florida.