Juicing is a great way to consume more fruits and vegetables, but it’s also an easy way to add hundreds of calories to an otherwise healthy diet.
While many celebrities and fitness experts credit juicing for their weight loss, these ‘healthy’ concoctions lack nutritional value and are packed with a lot sugar.
Studies have shown juicing comes with many health advantages, like a lower risk of heart disease, obesity and an increased intake of healthy antioxidants.
However, experts say the risks can outweigh the benefits for some.
Here, three nutritionists explain to Daily Mail Online why juicing is not all that it’s cracked up to be.
Many celebrities and fitness experts credit juicing for their weight loss, but these ‘healthy’ concoctions pack a lot sugar. Pictured: Kourtney Kardashian grabbing a couple of green juices from a farmer’s market in California
It lacks fiber
Juicing is a process that extracts the skin and most of the fiber from fruits and vegetables, significantly reducing their nutrients.
As a result, the juice itself has a different nutritive value and doesn’t offer the same health benefits as whole fruits and vegetables.
Furthermore, consuming pure liquids doesn’t satisfy hunger the way consuming a whole fruit or vegetable would.
Dietary fiber — found in many fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes — helps regulate the body’s use of sugars, keep hunger and blood sugar in check, and helps regulate the digestive system.
It also provides other health benefits, such as helping food move through the digestive system, lowering the risk of diabetes and heart disease, and helping to maintain a healthy weight.
‘Juices can sabotage weight loss because it doesn’t have the fiber content in comparison with eating fruits with the skin and the activity of chewing, swallowing and then sending hormones to your brain of satiety,’ dietitian Jonathan Valdez, owner of Genki Nutrition, told Daily Mail Online.
For example, the mineral and antioxidant content of a whole fruit, like an apple, is decreased significantly when the skin is removed.
High-fiber foods are usually more filling than low-fiber foods, this means people who exclusively juice are more likely to not be satisfied and give into their food cravings, according to Mayo Clinic.
Juices containing beets, carrots, and apples could contain more than 30 grams of sugar
Juicing is a process that extracts the skin from fruits and vegetables, significantly reducing their nutrients.
Juices pack a lot of sugar
Eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables can reduce the risk of many leading causes of illness and death in the US, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity.
To consume more fruits and vegetables and lose weight, many people are opting to drink fresh juices as opposed to eating more solid fruits and vegetables. However experts say this isn’t the right approach.
‘Although a small piece of fresh fruit is a healthy addition to any diet, it may be a significant source of sugar,’ Janie Zietlin, certified dietitian nutritionist, told Daily Mail Online. ‘When we juice, we have a tendency to include many fruits, in large quantities, in addition to starchy vegetables and sweetened beverages (non-dairy milks/coconut water).’
In other words, a juice containing beets, carrots, and apples could contain more than 30 grams of sugar, which could leave people unsatisfied, hungry and likely to give into their food cravings.
The high-sugar content in juices can also have adverse health effects for people with diabetes – a group of diseases that result in too much sugar in the blood.
‘These drinks contain lots of sugar so while a little natural sugar like the kind found in fruit juice may seem harmless, your body can’t distinguish between that and straight up candy,’ Dr Vanessa Risetto, dietitian and registered nurse, told Daily Mail Online.
In addition to it being high in sugar, many juices also have very little fiber, meaning there is no way to slow down the rise in blood sugar and keep people satiated, culinary nutrition expert Jessica Levinson explained.
High-sugar content in juices can also have adverse health effects for people with diabetes
One juice a day is a direct route to weight gain
There are two different ways to juice: as a meal replacement or to supplement a normal diet.
Since juices don’t contain fiber and have less an effect on satiety compared to solid foods it can lead to overeating.
While juicing exclusively can provide fast weight loss results, it won’t be beneficial in the long run.
‘While we could all benefit from greater consumption of fruits and vegetables, juicing is not a healthy or sustainable diet,’ Levinson explained. ‘Most people will lose weight while juicing due to the fact that they are taking in fewer calories than they need. However, once you resume a regular diet of whole foods, you are likely to gain that weight back.’
Juices – which are very high in sugar and calories – can lead to weight gain, especially when they are used as a supplement to a normal diet.
In fact, a 2007 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that sugar-containing beverages are said to be responsible for body weight gain.
‘Most dieters know soda is “bad” so they substitute ‘healthy drinks’ like fruit juice, but what they don’t realize is the caloric cost,’ Dr Susan Besser, a primary care physician with Mercy Medical Center, told NBC News.
Many people think they’re consuming ‘healthy drinks’ like green juices and smoothies with their meals, but they’re just adding more calories.
How to juice better
While juicing is an easier way to meet the federal fruit or vegetable recommendations – about one to two cups of fruit and two to three cups of vegetables per day – it’s much better to just consume more whole fruits and vegetables.
People certainly shouldn’t juice if their sole purpose is to lose weight.
‘Juices shouldn’t be incorporated in anyone’s diet for weight loss. That to me is basically a fad diet and when you go back to eating regular meals you’ll likely gain all the weight back,’ Vanessa Rissetto, registered dietitian and nutritionist, told Daily Mail Online.
However, people who are juicing should consider it a snack as opposed to a meal replacement.
For more nutritive value and fiber, people should make their juices with fruits and vegetables that have the skin attached.
‘In preparation, it should be blended with the skin and contents within the fruit so you are able to get the full benefits from the fiber,’ Valdez said.
The type of blenders used to create juices can also play a role in their nutritive value.
A 2017 study published in Nutrition & Diabetes found equal glucose response between fruits blended in a NutriBullet 600 and fruits consumed whole.
This suggests juices made with NutriBullets will not have a negative impact on blood sugar levels, and may be a better alternative than other blenders to juicing.