Posted in Healthy Eating

Is Juicing The Best Way To Get Fruit & Vegetables? - By Gretchen Scalpi RD, CDE

Gretchen Scalpi is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator, author and Certified Wellcoach®. Gretchen has worked with hundreds of clients in her own private nutrition practice since 2002, providing nutrition and wellness coaching in the areas of diabetes, weight management, food sensitivities, and general wellness. Gretchen provides lectures and workshops on a variety of nutrition topics to corporate and community groups.  She is the author of the "The Everything Diabetes Cookbook, 2nd ed.," and "The Everything Guide to Managing and Reversing Prediabetes".  If you would like to learn more about Gretchen, or read her newsletter or blog visit http://www.nutritionxpert.com.

 

I am often asked about the merits of juicing.  Juicing fruits and vegetables have become very popular, and juice fasts are all the rage for “cleansing” or weight loss.  Supporters say that juicing is better for you than eating whole fruits and vegetables because your body can absorb the nutrients better.  Yet, there is really no scientific evidence to support that.  The idea that the enzymes in raw fruits and vegetables have special powers is erroneous as well. Enzymes found in raw produce are broken down by stomach acids during the digestive process regardless of whether they are juiced or whole.

 

I am not against juicing, but I think some people expect far too much from the juicing concept.  When you use a juicer, only the juice is extracted from the raw fruit or vegetable. Fiber, an essential nutrient for digestive health is removed during juicing process, and you miss the opportunity for a good source of fiber when the food is juiced.

 

Juicing certainly has health benefits, and included as part of a healthy diet seems to do no harm.  If you are not a lover of fruits or vegetables, juicing may be a way to get some of the essential nutrients you may not otherwise consume.  But beware:  drinking too much juice could result in sudden weight loss or diarrhea.  It could also result in consumption of excessive calories or spike your blood sugar, particularly if the juice is made mostly from fruit.  Think about this:  it may take up to six pieces of fruit to make one glass of juice…would you eat six pieces of fruit at one time?

 

If you want to start juicing, here are a few tips to help you get the most out of the juicing experience:

 

•Prepare only the amount you will drink, and consume the juice soon after you make it; fresh juices can deteriorate quickly and develop harmful bacteria

•Don’t rely too heavily on fruit; try using mostly vegetables and add 1 serving of fruit for a bit of sweetness

•If you haven’t purchased a juicer yet, consider one that allows you to reserve rather than discard the pulp; incorporate the pulp back into the juice or use it as an ingredient in another food you are preparing

•If purchasing commercially prepared fresh juices, make sure they are pasteurized to prevent bacterial contamination

 

If you have a juicer, have fun experimenting with it, but don’t forget to eat those whole fruits and vegetables too!

 

Gretchen Scalpi is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator, author and Certified Wellcoach®. Gretchen has worked with hundreds of clients in her own private nutrition practice since 2002, providing nutrition and wellness coaching in the areas of diabetes, weight management, food sensitivities, and general wellness. Gretchen provides lectures and workshops on a variety of nutrition topics to corporate and community groups.  She is the author of the "Pre-Diabetes: Your Second Chance at Health," and "The Quick Start Guide to Healthy Eating".  If you would like to learn more about Gretchen, or read her newsletter visit http://www.nutritionxpert.com.