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The Truth About Juicing

Does your juice lack what your body needs?
Does your juice lack what your body needs?
Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

While the idea of juicing sounds just about perfect, as it appears to be a quick-fix, simple, and convenient, there are almost too many downfalls of the health craze to make it worth your while. Sure, any diet that claims to “clear and brighten skin”, “boost energy”, and “lose weight fast” may be appealing, but is it too good to be true? Juicing proves to be a great addition to a healthy lifestyle, but lacks in a valuable nutrient.

Considering the fact that most smoothie and juice shops sell juices at very high prices, it’s time to consider what’s in them, or just as important, what is not in them. On the bright side, these juices usually have several different fruits and vegetables squeezed up (without pulp of course) and contain a plethora of different vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, and a clean, refreshing flavor. Because the pulp is left out (when juiced), so is the fiber. As fruits generally are packed with fructose as the main sugar, fiber is the component naturally found within the skin and pulp of the fruit that sort of counteracts the sugar overload from excess fructose. Unfortunately, most people’s livers have a difficult time processing and utilizing fructose to begin with, which may lead to fat accumulation, insulin insensitivity, and a slew of other problems that usually go unnoticed like gas and distention. For this reason, it’s important that fiber be included in the juice, which really would then be considered a smoothie.

When short on time or money, a meal replacement is a great alternative to sitting down with a balanced meal, because usually the replacement contains a variety of nutrients including plenty of protein, carbs and fat. Sorry to say, however, that juice just doesn’t stand a chance in the game for optimum nutrition because it lacks the fiber, fat and protein that eating whole foods or shakes can provide. By no means is juicing a horrible decision when looking to eat a little healthier, but instead of being used as the sole source of food throughout the day, such as in a fast or “detox” that both are widely popular these days, it should be used as a supplement to sneak in extra fruits and veggies. For anyone who has even attempted juicing, the process usually goes as follows:

1. Purchase ridiculously expensive juicer that promises weight-loss and clear skin.

2. Spend every last dollar of paycheck on exotic fruits and vegetables (even, yikes, KALE).

3. Spend an hour trying to assemble the juicer.

4. Insert about 10 fruits only to end up with a couple teaspoons of juice.

5. Rip apart juicer and attempt to clean the remnants of vegetation out of tiny crevices.

6. Add water to juice and try to enjoy it. Try.

By this point, it’s usually safe to say the consumer has lost all motivation to continue the juice fasting craze and the machine can safely be tucked away underneath a hard-to-reach cupboard to collect dust for a few years. This may be a little dramatic, but consider it a fair warning. Because so much meat of the fruit and vegetable is lost in unused pulp when juicing, grocery shopping itself becomes very, very time-consuming and pricey. When used occasionally, however, as in snacking and supplementing, juicing can be extremely rewarding by providing micronutrients to the (hopefully) already somewhat well-balanced diet containing real whole foods.

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