Dandelion basil orange, chard lemon apple, and . . . chlorophyll?
Such pearings (see what I did there) would be eschewed if found on a restaurant menu, but a new breed of libation, liquid fruits and veggies without the fruits and veggies part, has captivated our attention and laid claim to our wallets.
Welcome to the exotic world of juicing, where paying more to consume less is a privilege of divine alkalinity enjoyed by the trendy masses.
What makes juicing bad? What makes it good? And what motivates us to imbibe premium, cold-pressed, 100% organic juice concoctions?
WHY WE DRINK IT
There are many motivations for juicing. The most prevalent seems to be for “health.” A number of companies have created their whole business around the health benefits of juicing. Sometimes, people buy into plans called “cleanses,” where all they will consume is juice for a certain period of time.
WHY IT MAY NOT BE GOOD FOR YOU
Consuming nothing but juice seems extreme, and it is: nutritionally and financially. Aside from being very expensive, there is no evidence juice cleanses are a good option for better health. In fact, these liquid-only fasts are yet another intense diet plan that draws people in through the intrigue of a nutritional panacea with fast results. Furthermore, juices usually contain low levels of protein, an essential macronutrient required for a multitude of biochemical processes inside the body. Additionally, the commonly heard phrase “juices flush the body of toxins” is not backed by any research. Our livers and kidneys handle this task, but this has not stopped countless diet fads, health products, and juicing companies from touting their toxin-removing abilities.
WHY IT MAY NOT BE BAD FOR YOU
However, juices are not inherently evil. Juice from fruits and vegetables still contains a majority of the vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients one would get when eating whole fruits and vegetables. The nutritional difference between juice and whole fruits is that the latter has more fiber. Juicing may be a good option if you have trouble getting enough servings of fruits and vegetables in a day. Juice can also be a great snack, but keep in mind that if consumed in excess juice can become a dessert. A typical cup of juice contains about 23 grams of sugar, which is more than a full-sized candy bar. With that said, the candy bar likely contains processed sugars and chemicals, and does not have the micronutrient profile of juice. Being mindful of the macronutrient origin and content supporting the beneficial micronutrients is a useful skill to assess the quality of the foods you consume.
By all means, drink juice. However, be aware that most companies selling juice make health claims that are not supported by any evidence. In moderation, juices are a great way to get essential vitamins and minerals and a convenient source of nutrition on the go.