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Juicing: Is It for You?
August 26, 2013
Ask people who have diabetes if they drink juice, and chances are they’ll tell you that they don’t. They may say that juice is “too high in sugar” or “too high in carbohydrate.” They may tell you that drinking juice uses up all of their carb choices, or that juice sends their blood glucose sky-high. Ask the same question of a dietitian, and he may tell you that he usually doesn’t recommend that people with diabetes drink juice for similar reasons.
But “juicing” is a whole different ballgame for some people. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about intermittent fasting as one of the latest trends. Juicing has also joined the ranks as something that a lot of people are now doing for a lot of different reasons. Should you try it?
What is “juicing”?
Pros and cons of juicing
But before you plunk down hundreds of dollar for a fancy juicing machine, consider the following. First, juicing proponents argue that juicing preserves food enzymes and helps the body better absorb nutrients from fruits and vegetables. They claim that that juicing gives the digestive tract a “rest” from having to handle all the fiber that you’d get if you ate your produce instead of drinking it. This theory sounds tempting, but there’s no evidence to back it up. Our bodies are designed to absorb nutrients from solid food, fruits and veggies included. And unless you have a flare-up of a condition such as Crohn disease, your GI tract doesn’t need a “rest.”
Another juicing claim is that juicing can lower your risk of cancer, boost your immune system, remove toxins from the body, and, of course, help you lose weight. This all sounds great, but again, there are few studies to support these claims. Studies DO show, however, that eating whole fruits and vegetables can lower the risk of heart disease and cancer, can help with weight loss, and in general, help improve overall health. Drinking fruits and vegetables may not lead to the same benefits, in part, because juicing tends to remove much of the fiber found in produce.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with having a glass of fresh juice. But the concept of juicing advocates drinking juice…and consuming little else, if anything, for a specified period of time. Most juicing plans are extremely low in protein, fat, and fiber (unless you add the fiber, or pulp, back into the juice). A lack of protein can lead to loss of muscle mass, even in just a few days. That’s not how you want to lose weight.
For people with diabetes, juicing can potentially wreak havoc on blood glucose levels. The reality is that juice is pretty high in carbohydrate. An 8-ounce glass of fruit juice contains about 30 grams of carbohydrate. Most people drink more than 8 ounces. A cup of Dr. Oz’s “Green Drink” which contains apples, celery, spinach, cucumber, lemon, mint, and more, contains 200 calories and 40 grams of carbohydrate. If you’re on a true juice fast, you’d be drinking several of these concoctions every day.
Finally, be prepared to spend some money. You can use a blender to make juice, but juicers can cost hundreds of dollars. Fruits and vegetables don’t always come cheap, either. If you purchase ready-made juice, some brand cost as much as $10 per bottle. One company provides a juicing package for just $70 a day… You’ll need to make room in your budget and decide if it’s affordable or not.
Is juicing for you?
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