Interestingly, a method called “juicing" has become increasingly popular in recent years. This involves extracting the nutritious juices from fresh fruits and vegetables.
Many people do this in order to “detox" or add more nutrients to their diets.
Supporters claim that juicing can improve nutrient absorption, while others say it strips away important nutrients like fiber.
This is a detailed review of juicing and its health effects, both good and bad.
What is Juicing?
Juicing is a process that extracts the juices from fresh fruits and vegetables.
This usually strips away most of the solid matter, including seeds and pulp, from whole fruits and vegetables.
The resulting liquid contains most of the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants naturally present in the whole fruit or vegetable.
Juicing methods vary, from squeezing fruit by hand to the more commonly used motor-driven juicers.
These are two common types of juicers:
- Centrifugal juicers: These juicers grind fruits and vegetables into pulp through a high-speed spinning action.
- Cold-press juicers: Also called masticating juicers, these crush and press fruits and vegetables much more slowly to get as much juice as possible.
Cold-press juicers don't produce heat, so they do not cause the breakdown of beneficial enzymes and nutrients that is thought to happen with centrifugal juicers.
Purpose of Juicing
Juicing is generally used for two different purposes:
- For cleansing or detox: Solid food is eliminated and only juice is consumed as a way to cleanse your body of toxins. Juice cleanses range from 3 days to several weeks in length.
- To supplement a normal diet: Fresh juice can be used as a handy supplement to your daily diet, increasing nutrient intake from fruits and vegetables that you wouldn't otherwise consume.
Bottom Line: Juicing involves extracting and drinking the juice from fresh fruit and vegetables. Some people do this to “detox," while others do it to supplement their current diet.
Juice is an Easy Way to Get Lots of Nutrients
Many people don't get enough nutrients from their diet alone (2).
Nutrient levels in the foods we eat are also much lower than they used to be.
Polluted environments and high stress levels can also increase our requirements for certain nutrients.
If you find it difficult to get the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables into your diet each day, juicing can be a convenient way to increase your intake.
A review of 22 studies found that drinking juice made from fresh fruits and vegetables or blended powder concentrate improved folate and antioxidant levels, including beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E (8).
Bottom Line: If you struggle to eat enough fruits and vegetables each day, juicing is a convenient way to get a wide range of important nutrients.
Whole Produce Protects Against Disease, But Studies on Juice are Disappointing
There's plenty of evidence linking whole fruits and vegetables to reduced risk of disease, but studies for fruit and vegetable juices are harder to find.
One review reported that the health benefits of fruits and vegetables may be due to antioxidants, rather than fiber. If this is true, then juice may provide comparable health benefits to whole produce (9).
However, there is only weak evidence that pure fruit and vegetable juices can help fight cancer. There is a lack of human data and other findings are inconsistent (9).
Nonetheless, other areas of health show more promise. For example, juices may reduce the risk of heart disease. Apple and pomegranate juices have been linked to reduced blood pressure and cholesterol levels (9, 10, 11).
Additionally, consuming fruit and vegetable juices in liquid form or blended concentrations may reduce homocysteine levels and markers of oxidative stress, both of which are linked to improved heart health (8).
One large study found that the risk for Alzheimer's disease was reduced among those who drank fruit and vegetable juices three or more times per week, compared with those who drank juices less than once per week (11).
The reduction in Alzheimer's risk may be due to the high levels of polyphenols in the juices. These are antioxidants found in plant foods, believed to protect brain cells.
Despite these results, more studies are needed to better understand the health effects of fruit and vegetable juices (8).
Bottom Line: Limited evidence is available to link fruit and vegetable juice to a reduced risk of diseases like cancer, Alzheimer's and heart disease.
Fruits And Veggies Are Best Consumed Whole
Juicing advocates often claim that drinking juice is better than eating whole fruits and vegetables.
They justify this by saying that removing the fiber makes nutrients easier to absorb.
However, there isn't any scientific research to support this.
You may actually need the fiber content of the fruit or vegetable to experience the plant's full health benefits (12).
For example, important antioxidants that are naturally bound to plant fibers are lost in the juicing process. These may play an important role in the health benefits of whole fruits and vegetables (13, 14, 15).
In fact, up to 90 percent of fiber is removed during the juicing process, depending on the juicer. Some soluble fiber will remain, but the majority of insoluble fiber is removed.
Potential Health Benefits of Fiber
One study compared whole apples to apple juice. It found that drinking clear apple juice increased LDL cholesterol levels by 6.9 percent, compared to whole apples. This effect is thought to be due to the fiber content of whole apples (12).
An observational study showed an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in people who consumed fruit juices, whereas whole fruits were linked to a reduced risk (20).
One study compared the effects of blending and juicing on the nutrient content of grapefruits. Results showed that blending, which retains more fiber, is a better technique for obtaining higher levels of beneficial plant compounds (23).
Should You Add Fiber to Your Juices?
The level of fiber in your juices will depend on what type of juicer you use, but some sources suggest adding leftover pulp to other foods or drinks to increase fiber intake.
Although this is better than throwing the fiber away, evidence suggests that re-adding fiber to juice doesn't give you the same health benefits as simply eating whole fruits and vegetables (24).
Additionally, a study found that adding naturally occurring levels of fiber to juice did not enhance feelings of fullness (25).
Bottom Line: Eating whole fruit and vegetables is better for your health. Juicing makes you miss out on beneficial fiber and antioxidants.
Juicing For Weight Loss May be a Bad Idea
Many people use juicing as a way to lose weight.
However, this is very difficult to sustain for more than a few days.
This is also likely to lead to nutrient deficiencies in the long-term, since juices lack many important nutrients.
Bottom Line: Most juicing diets involve severe calorie restriction, which is generally unsustainable in the long-term and can lead to a reduction in the amount of calories you burn.
Juices Should Not Replace Meals
Using juices as a meal replacement can be bad for your body.
This is because juice on its own is not nutritionally balanced, since it does not contain sufficient protein or fat.
Consuming enough protein throughout the day is necessary for muscle maintenance and long-term health (27).
Additionally, healthy fats are important for sustained energy, hormone balance and cell membranes. They may also provide the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.
However, replacing one meal a day with juice is unlikely to cause harm, as long as the rest of your diet is more balanced.
Bottom Line: Juices are nutritionally unbalanced because they do not contain adequate protein or fat. Adding protein and fat sources to your juices can help with this.
Juice Cleanses Are Not Necessary and May be Harmful
In addition, there is no evidence that your body needs to be detoxified by eliminating solid food.
Your body is designed to remove toxins on its own, using the liver and kidneys.
Furthermore, if you're juicing with non-organic vegetables, you can end up consuming other toxins that come along with them, such as pesticides.
More extreme juice cleanses are associated with negative side effects such as diarrhea, nausea, dizziness and fatigue.
If you take prescription medication, you should be aware of potential drug-nutrient interactions.
Bottom Line: There is no evidence that juice cleanses are necessary for detoxifying the body. Juicing may harm people who have kidney problems or take certain medications.
Fruit Juice Contains High Amounts of Sugar
What you put in your juice can also make a big difference and fruits contain much more sugar and calories than vegetables.
About 3.9 oz (114 ml) of 100 percent apple juice contains zero grams of fiber, but packs 13 grams of sugar and 60 calories (30).
Similarly, 100 percent grape juice has 20 grams of sugar in a serving of 3.9 oz (114 ml).
To keep the sugar content of your juices low, you can juice the vegetables and then add a small piece of fruit if you want more sweetness.
Bottom Line: Juices based mainly on fruit are much higher in sugar and calories compared to vegetable-based juices.
Take Home Message
Fresh juices contain important vitamins and antioxidants that can benefit your health.
However, fruits and vegetables are still the healthiest and most nutritious when consumed whole.
This article was reposted from our media associate Authority Nutrition.
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By Katy Neusteter
The Biden-Harris transition team identified COVID-19, economic recovery, racial equity and climate change as its top priorities. Rivers are the through-line linking all of them. The fact is, healthy rivers can no longer be separated into the "nice-to-have" column of environmental progress. Rivers and streams provide more than 60 percent of our drinking water — and a clear path toward public health, a strong economy, a more just society and greater resilience to the impacts of the climate crisis.
Public Health<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTUyNDY3MC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2MDkxMTkwNn0.pyP14Bg1WvcUvF_xUGgYVu8PS7Lu49Huzc3PXGvATi4/img.jpg?width=980" id="8e577" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="1efb3445f5c445e47d5937a72343c012" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="3000" data-height="2302" />
Wild and Scenic Merced River, California. Bob Wick / BLM<p>Let's begin with COVID-19. More than <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-us-cases.html?name=styln-coronavirus&region=TOP_BANNER&block=storyline_menu_recirc&action=click&pgtype=LegacyCollection&impression_id=2f508610-2a87-11eb-8622-4f6c038cbd1d&variant=1_Show" target="_blank">16 million Americans</a> have contracted the coronavirus and, tragically,<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-us-cases.html?name=styln-coronavirus&region=TOP_BANNER&block=storyline_menu_recirc&action=click&pgtype=LegacyCollection&impression_id=2f508610-2a87-11eb-8622-4f6c038cbd1d&variant=1_Show" target="_blank"> more than</a> <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-us-cases.html?name=styln-coronavirus&region=TOP_BANNER&block=storyline_menu_recirc&action=click&pgtype=LegacyCollection&impression_id=2f508610-2a87-11eb-8622-4f6c038cbd1d&variant=1_Show" target="_blank">300,000 have died</a> due to the pandemic. While health officials encourage hand-washing to contain the pandemic, at least <a href="https://closethewatergap.org/" target="_blank">2 million Americans</a> are currently living without running water, indoor plumbing or wastewater treatment. Meanwhile, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jun/23/millions-of-americans-cant-afford-water-bills-rise" target="_blank">aging water infrastructure is growing increasingly costly for utilities to maintain</a>. That cost is passed along to consumers. The upshot? <a href="https://research.msu.edu/affordable-water-in-us-reaching-a-crisis/" target="_blank">More than 13 million</a> U.S. households regularly face unaffordable water bills — and, thus, the threat of water shutoffs. Without basic access to clean water, families and entire communities are at a higher risk of <a href="https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/green/news/2020/08/05/488705/bridging-water-access-gap-covid-19-relief/" target="_blank">contracting</a> and spreading COVID-19.</p><p>We have a moral duty to ensure that everyone has access to clean water to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Last spring, <a href="https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/03/coronavirus-stimulus-bill-explained-bailouts-unemployment-benefits.html" target="_blank">Congress appropriated more than $4 trillion</a> to jumpstart the economy and bring millions of unemployed Americans back to work. Additional federal assistance — desperately needed — will present a historic opportunity to improve our crumbling infrastructure, which has been <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jun/23/millions-of-americans-cant-afford-water-bills-rise" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">grossly underfunded for decades</a>.</p><p>A report by my organization, American Rivers, suggests that <a href="https://s3.amazonaws.com/american-rivers-website/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/09223525/ECONOMIC-ENGINES-Report-2020.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Congress must invest at least $50 billion</a> "to address the urgent water infrastructure needs associated with COVID-19," including the rising cost of water. This initial boost would allow for the replacement and maintenance of sewers, stormwater infrastructure and water supply facilities.</p>
Economic Recovery<p>Investing in water infrastructure and healthy rivers also creates jobs. Consider, for example, that <a href="https://tinyurl.com/y9p6sgnk" target="_blank">every $1 million spent on water infrastructure in the United States generates more than 15 jobs</a> throughout the economy, according to a report by the Value of Water Campaign. Similarly, <a href="https://tinyurl.com/yyvd2ksp" target="_blank">every "$1 million invested in forest and watershed restoration contracting will generate between 15.7 and 23.8 jobs,</a> depending on the work type," states a working paper released by the Ecosystem Workforce Program, University of Oregon. Healthy rivers also spur tourism and recreation, which many communities rely on for their livelihoods. According to the findings by the Outdoor Industry Association, which have been shared in our report, "Americans participating in watersports and fishing spend over <a href="https://s3.amazonaws.com/american-rivers-website/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/30222425/Exec-summary-ECONOMIC-ENGINES-Report-June-30-2020.pdf" target="_blank">$174 billion</a> on gear and trip related expenses. And, the outdoor watersports and fishing economy supports over <a href="https://s3.amazonaws.com/american-rivers-website/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/30222425/Exec-summary-ECONOMIC-ENGINES-Report-June-30-2020.pdf" target="_blank">1.5 million jobs nationwide</a>."</p><p>After the 2008 financial crisis, Congress invested in infrastructure to put Americans back to work. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act <a href="https://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/economy-a-budget/25941-clean-water-green-infrastructure-get-major-boost" target="_blank">of 2009 (ARRA) allocated $6 billion</a> for clean water and drinking water infrastructure to decrease unemployment and boost the economy. More specifically, <a href="https://www.conservationnw.org/news-updates/us-reps-push-for-millions-of-restoration-and-resilience-jobs/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">an analysis of ARRA</a> "showed conservation investments generated 15 to 33 jobs per million dollars," and more than doubled the rate of return, according to a letter written in May 2020 by 79 members of Congress, seeking greater funding for restoration and resilience jobs.</p><p>Today, when considering how to create work for the <a href="https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">10.7 million</a> people who are currently unemployed, Congress should review previous stimulus investments and build on their successes by embracing major investments in water infrastructure and watershed restoration.</p>
Racial Justice<p>American Rivers also recommends that Congress dedicate <a href="https://s3.amazonaws.com/american-rivers-website/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/09223525/ECONOMIC-ENGINES-Report-2020.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">$500 billion for rivers and clean water over the next 10 years</a> — not just for the benefit of our environment and economy, but also to begin to address the United States' history of deeply entrenched racial injustice.</p><p>The <a href="https://www.epa.gov/npdes/sanitary-sewer-overflows-ssos" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">23,000-75,000 sewer overflows</a> that occur each year release up to <a href="https://www.americanrivers.org/2020/05/fighting-for-rivers-means-fighting-for-justice/#:~:text=There%20are%20also%2023%2C000%20to%2075%2C000%20sanitary%20sewer,to%20do%20with%20the%20mission%20of%20American%20Rivers." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">10 billion gallons of toxic sewage</a> <em>every day</em> into rivers and streams. This disproportionately impacts communities of color, because, for generations, Black, Indigenous, Latinx and other people of color have been <a href="https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/flooding-disproportionately-harms-black-neighborhoods/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">relegated</a> to live in flood-prone areas and in neighborhoods that have been intentionally burdened with a lack of development that degrades people's health and quality of life. In some communities of color, incessant flooding due to stormwater surges or <a href="https://www.ajc.com/opinion/opinion-partnering-to-better-manage-our-water/7WQ6SEAQP5E4LGQCEYY5DO334Y/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">combined sewer overflows</a> has gone unmitigated for decades.</p><p>We have historically treated people as separate from rivers and water. We can't do that anymore. Every voice — particularly those of people most directly impacted — must have a loudspeaker and be included in decision-making at the highest levels.</p><p>Accordingly, the new administration must diligently invest in projects at the community level that will improve lives in our country's most marginalized communities. We also must go further to ensure that local leaders have a seat at the decision-making table. To this end, the Biden-Harris administration should restore <a href="https://www.epa.gov/cwa-401#:~:text=Section%20401%20Certification%20The%20Clean%20Water%20Act%20%28CWA%29,the%20United%20States.%20Learn%20more%20about%20401%20certification." target="_blank">Section 401 of the Clean Water Act</a>, which was undermined by the <a href="https://earthjustice.org/news/press/2020/tribes-and-environmental-groups-sue-trump-administration-to-preserve-clean-water-protections#:~:text=Under%20Section%20401%20of%20the%20Clean%20Water%20Act%2C,seeks%20to%20undermine%20that%20authority%20in%20several%20ways%3A" target="_blank">Trump administration's 2020 regulatory changes</a>. This provision gives states and tribes the authority to decide whether major development projects, such as hydropower and oil and gas projects, move forward.</p>
Climate Resilience<p>Of course, the menacing shadow looming over it all? Climate change. <a href="https://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/IFRC_wdr2020/IFRC_WDR_ExecutiveSummary_EN_Web.pdf" target="_blank">More than 100 climate-related catastrophes</a> have pummeled the Earth since the pandemic was declared last spring, including the blitzkrieg of megafires, superstorms and heat waves witnessed during the summer of 2020, directly impacting the lives of more than <a href="https://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/IFRC_wdr2020/IFRC_WDR_ExecutiveSummary_EN_Web.pdf" target="_blank">50 million people globally</a>.</p><p>Water and climate scientist Brad Udall often says, "<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQhpj5G0dME" target="_blank">Climate change is water change</a>." In other words, the most obvious and dire impacts of climate change are evidenced in profound changes to our rivers and water resources. You've likely seen it where you live: Floods are more damaging and frequent. Droughts are deeper and longer. Uncertainty is destabilizing industry and lives.</p><p>By galvanizing action for healthy rivers and managing our water resources more effectively, we can insure future generations against the consequences of climate change. First, we must safeguard rivers that are still healthy and free-flowing. Second, we must protect land and property against the ravages of flooding. And finally, we must promote policies and practical solutions that take the science of climate disruption into account when planning for increased flooding, water shortage and habitat disruption.</p><p>Imagine all that rivers do for us. Most of our towns and cities have a river running through them or flowing nearby. Rivers provide clean drinking water, irrigate crops that provide our food, power our homes and businesses, provide wildlife habitat, and are the lifeblood of the places where we enjoy and explore nature, and where we play and nourish our spirits. Healthy watersheds help <a href="https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/03/1059952" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">mitigate</a> climate change, absorbing and reducing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. Healthy rivers and floodplains help communities adapt and build resilience in the face of climate change by improving flood protection and providing water supply and quality benefits. Rivers are the cornerstones of healthy, strong communities.</p><p>The more than <a href="https://archive.epa.gov/water/archive/web/html/index-17.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">3 million miles</a> of rivers and streams running across our country are a source of great strength and opportunity. When we invest in healthy rivers and clean water, we can improve our lives. When we invest in rivers, we create jobs and strengthen our economy. When we invest in rivers, we invest in our shared future.</p>
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