Categorized | Life & Style

TO JUICE OR NOT TO JUICE

Posted on 30 January 2014 by admin

Dr. Amitha Jocie Mundenchira

Mississauga

Being a doctor, I often get people at social events confiding in me about their medical issues. At one such recent gathering, I came across a bubbly entertaining person who gave me an unexpected history of fighting depression and stomach issues for years, wherein western medicine had not helped her. When I asked her how she overcame her ailments, she stated “juicing is my saviour”.

Juicing is becoming a hot health trend amongst both celebrities and the common man. Juicing ranges from squeezing fruit by hand to wide scale extraction with industrial equipment. Commercial juicing focuses mostly on fruit juices. Residential juicing is often practiced for dietary reasons or as a form of alternative medicine – so there are often more vegetables in the mixture.

There are both advantages and disadvantage to juicing. The advantages may be obvious. First, juicing allows to give the body concentrated amounts of nutrient-packed vegetables and fruits. Second, these drinks are low in toxic fats, added sugars and salt. Last, but not the least, juicing is a low-calorie diet.

However, juicing has its disadvantages too. First, there are nutritional gaps because majority of calories in the beverages come from carbohydrates including high amounts of natural sugar from fruits and some vegetables. So, it is missing protein that is needed for building lean muscle mass and for metabolic burn. Second, if the pulp is not added back after juicing, most of the fiber is lost. In short, juicing can be a high-carb, low-protein and low-fiber diet. Such a diet can cause health problems like high blood sugar, headaches, mood swings, dizziness, and fatigue. Third, juice-only diet is hard to stick to for long as liquid calories do not have the same filling power as whole solid foods.

According to the American Cancer Society, “there is no convincing scientific evidence that extracted juices are healthier than whole foods”. There may be a few myths that have been propagated by dedicated followers of juicing.

First, juice does not necessarily removes toxins from our system (ie to detox). If we focus on eating clean and staying active, our body has capacity to cleanse. Second, our body maintains a tightly regulated pH at all times. So, juice cleansing is not necessary to help our body achieve a non-acidic or alkaline pH. Moreover, there are no major human studies to support the proposed benefits of an alkaline diet.

Juicing can be expensive on both commercial and residential levels. Commercial juicing kits can range from $65 to $85 per day. Residential juicing can also be expensive due to the large amounts of fruits and vegetables that need to be purchased on an ongoing basis.

My recommendation would be to incorporate juicing as part of your regular diet either as a supplement or as a replacement meal. Avoid a full-on liquid diet on an ongoing basis. It is important to include larger proportions of vegetables in the juicing in order to keep calories and sugar in check.

For those interested in investing in commercial juicers, “Cold Press Juicers” may be the better than Centrifugal Juicers” even though they are more expensive and require longer preparation times. The “Cold Press Juicers” use a chewing method and use lower speeds to gently compress the fruits and vegetables. As a result, the resulting juice is of higher quality with better preserved nutrients, fiber and enzymes.

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