By Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, CSO, LDN; Reboot Nutritionist
Is juicing healthy or simply a health fad? Here are the most common myths that people believe about juicing — to help get the facts straight.
1. “A juice contains no fiber.”
Even proponents of juicing often describe juice as free of fiber and that’s not the case. There are two types of fiber, Soluble and Insoluble. Juicing contains soluble. Juicing extracts most of the insoluble fiber out of the produce while soluble fiber remains. Soluble fiber absorbs water like a sponge and provides bulking matter that acts as a prebiotic to support good bacterial growth and digestive health. Learn more about the facts on fiber and juice.
2. “Juices have too much sugar.”
It really depends on what you’re juicing. We suggest abiding by the 80/20 rule of vegetables to fruits. Some fruits seen as sugary actually offer significant benefits. For example, tart cherry juice in a randomized controlled clinical trial demonstrated a minor increase in antioxidant status in healthy adults. And those with diabetes (mainly type 2) have been known to include fresh juice safely. Visit our Health Conditions Index to learn more.
3. “There’s no such thing as a juice detox.”
This one is true. Your body is always “detoxing” naturally but there are certainly health behaviors that may assist or strain this process. For example, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, radish, Brussels sprouts contain phytonutrients known to help promote an increase in liver enzymes credited with detoxification. Eating, blending, juicing more of these gems is a great way to help promote a healthy body and the American Cancer Society suggests aiming for one serving per day from this important plant-based family.
4. “There are no proven health benefits of juicing.”
Thankfully more research is shining a light on the value of including juice as part of a well-balanced plant-based diet. Drinking beet juice may help to lower blood pressure levels and is now rather well accepted as a means to help improve exercise endurance due to its natural nitric oxide content. And just take a look at all of the success stories who have changed their lives with the power of juice.
5. “Juices don’t contain enough protein.”
This is a classic criticism that we’ve been debunking for years! Anyone concerned with their intake of protein while on just juice can add healthy ingredients like plant-based protein powder, chia or hemp seeds. For most healthy adults, even drinking just juice for a few days won’t create a protein deficiency. Joe shares all the facts on getting enough protein while juicing.
6. “Juicing is just a trendy fad diet.”
While in some cases this may seem true with over-inflated health claims, research focused on juice is ongoing and finding positive results. For example, carrot juice was found to help reduce white blood cell DNA damage in smokers.
7. “When you juice, you lose too many nutrients in the pulp that’s extracted.”
Yes, you will lose some nutrients in the pulp like fiber and magnesium to name a few, but you’ll reap countless benefits from the nutrients that remain in the juice.
8. “Eating fruits and veggies is better than juicing them.”
At the end of the day ingesting plant-based foods is what it’s all about! You can choose your vehicle as long as you are traveling to that destination. So go for it and include a smoothie, a juice, a salad, a soup and a big bowl of roasted veggies. The key factor is to consume plants. And to capitalize on variety to get a full spectrum of nutrients. For example, you can absorb more Vitamin C from a raw tomato and more lycopene from a cooked tomato eaten with some healthy fat like olive oil or avocado. Both are important and beneficial so be inclusive and enjoy.
9. “There’s a high risk of juices containing bacteria.”
With reports of contaminated bottled juice or even produce being dangerous for pregnant women, children and those with a compromised immune system, there are precautions you can take. First off, by making juice at home you are in control of the cleanliness of your machine. Equipment in facilities that mass produce food or juice is often the culprit in contamination. Secondly, peeling and even juicing has been shown to help remove pesticide residue. So for extra care, always wash your hands and produce well, then peel items like citrus, beets, melon before juicing.
10. “Juicing causes you to lose your hair.”
This one can be partly true for some people. Taking on juicing alone can be risky for some, particularly those with pre-existing health conditions. This is why speaking with your doctor first is important. For some, especially women with a thyroid or other condition, restricting the diet to just juice for “too long” may lead to less hair. The definition of “too long” varies and getting an expert opinion is key. What to do if this is a concren? Include minerals like zinc, vitamins like biotin and protein.
11. “Juicing is too expensive and wasteful.”
There are countless ways to save on produce and use the leftover pulp. My favorite is to buy in season and get to know your local farmers. Here are more tips from our community on how to save money. And yes, you can save the pulp! Use it in baking, soups, veggie burgers, healthy cookies, crackers and much more.
If you or one of your friends isn’t on the juice-train yet, just think: Why knock something that helps people consume more produce? We aren’t suggesting to juice only for the rest of one’s life, but incorporate fresh juice as a means of adding to a healthy, plant-based diet. That’s something hopefully we can all agree on.