Freshly pressed juice has become the new diet fad. A swarm of celebs, including Thandie Newton, Venus Williams, and Russell Simmons, have all touted the benefits of sipping ounces of produce by the glassful. There’s no arguing the benefits of eating whole fruits and vegetables, but is drinking them the key to radiant health? Make sure you know the facts before you jump on the juice bandwagon.
MYTH: Juicing cleanses and balances your body.
FACT: Your body already has two wonderful organs that naturally cleanse and detoxify your body - your liver and your kidneys. There’s just not much research out there proving that juicing will do a better job. If you focus on eating a well-balanced diet, your body will handle the rest.
MYTH: Juicing helps you lose weight.
FACT: While starving yourself and following a strict juicing program for a few days may cause you to lose weight initially, your body may pay a price in the long-run. Many commercial juice cleanses have a high amount of natural sugar and dangerously low amounts of protein and calories. Replacing your meals with juice might cause you to fall short on a number of key nutrients. If your goal is to lose weight and keep it off, you may want to consider skipping the full-on, juice-only cleanse and instead, enjoy a juice with or in place of one of your meals.
MYTH: Juicing is better than eating whole fruits or vegetables.
FACT: There’s not much evidence out there that proves juicing your fruits and vegetables is healthier than eating them. The skin and pulp house some very important nutrients that are often left behind. If you’re not eating enough fruits and vegetables, then yes, drinking them is definitely one way to up your intake and shower your body with concentrated, nutrient-packed vegetables and fruits.
MYTH: Drinking juice with little to no fiber in it helps the body absorb nutrients better.
FACT: Your body needs fiber to maintain a well-functioning digestive system. Fiber-rich pulp creates fullness and helps curb hunger pangs. It also lowers cholesterol and reduces the risk of a number of conditions, including cardiovascular disease, heart disease, and constipation. Drinking juice with little to no fiber can cause dramatic spikes in blood sugar levels, which can lead to headaches, fatigue, and irritability. Listen to your body. If you’re feeling ravenous after limiting your diet, then don’t put yourself through it.
MYTH: All juices are created equal.
FACT: If you’re getting your fix from a juice bar or some other health food store, read the label carefully. It may be a bottle of sugar cleverly disguised as something healthy. So, make sure it’s heavy on the veggies and light on the fruit to avoid sugar spikes and to keep calories in check.
BOTTOM LINE: There’s nothing wrong with sipping on a freshly prepared juice every now and then. But juicing isn’t a health panacea and a juice cleanse shouldn’t be used as an excuse to binge on junk food afterwards. Skip the full-on juice fast and instead, enjoy it with or in place of a meal.