Yesterday I posted this on facebook:
There is no such thing as a good sugar drink, including fruit juice. Get rid of sugary drinks from the house.
There are many misconceptions about juicing for health and just as expected the post ignited a few interesting responses such as:
“I beg to differ. Juicing your own fruits and vegetables is actually healthy.”
“So are you advocating not drinking fresh squeezed fruit juice or fruit smoothies (even though it contains all of the fiber)…Surely, sugary drinks and homemade fruit juices/smoothies are in completely different categories in your book, right?”
“Does this count for all juice? Like for fresh lemon/grapefruit and pure cranberry juice as well?”
So instead of giving long winded answers over on facebook, I decided to write a post about it with lots of information and visual representations so you can see, and decide for yourself.
I must point out that I work with women in achieving natural weight loss. This is important to understand because the things I share are usually based around principles to help women achieve these goals.
In order to effectively achieve these goals rule number one is we must get insulin levels under control. One of the main factors that is going to effect insulin is SUGAR! And I hate to break the news but most juices (particualrly fruit juices), whether homemade or not, are exceptionally high in sugar. (I will demonstrate this below)
Common Misconceptions About Homemade Juices
1. It contains all of the fiber
Juice does not contain fibre, even homemade fruit juices. In fact, in most cases homemade juice contains zero dietary fibre. (I will demonstrate this below) The fibre component of most plants is what creates it’s struture. When you juice the plant you discard it’s structure and are left with the juice only.
2. It contains all the nutrients
Again, this is a common misconception. Foods are usually given to us in the form of nature’s wonderful packages. Whole fruit is loaded with dietary fibre to help digest the sugar and slow down the uptake of sugar into the bloodstream. In it’s whole form we also get the full array of available micronutrients and phytochemicals. When we juice the food it often strips out a lot of the goodness with it. All dietary fibre is gone and often many of the micronutrients as well.
2. Juicing your own fruits and vegetables is healthy
I know there are people out there who advocate that juicing is great but I’m not one of them. Juice has no place in my house, never has, never will and I never recommend it as a strategy to my clients. We drink water, we eat the whole food, that’s the way it’s meant to be and I’m sticking to that rule. Vegetable juices are going to be better than fruit juices because they are not as high in sugar as fruit juices, and I do enjoy a mixed vegetable juice occasionally. In some cases I do recommend certain types of smoothies, for example, when people find it hard to eat breakfast, or if someone would likely skip a meal because they are busy. In these cases smoothies are better than no food at all, BUT it is not a fruit juice or high sugar smoothie I would recommend.
Common Foods Used For Juicing & Nutrition Facts
I decided it would be best to give you a visual representation of the facts. I find it always helps me open my eyes, so I gathered some of the more common fruits and vegetables that people use for juicing and put them up against the whole food. The facts below are all based on making homemade juice except where stated otherwise.
TAKE NOTE: A couple of things to take notice of is the difference in dietary fibre between the two, usually 0g for juices. And also take note of total carbohydrate and sugar content. What you will observe is that even though the total carbohydrate content is sometimes similar between juices and whole fruits, the sugar content is very different.
As you can see, vegetable juices are a better choice when it comes to making homemade juices. If I did make juices on a frequent basis I’d go with vegetables for sure. I’ll make sure we explore that topic in another post very soon.
READER QUESTION: Surely, sugary drinks and homemade fruit juices/smoothies are in completely different categories in your book, right?
Well, I talked about smoothies above and sometimes I’d say they have their place, as a replacement meal or as a healthier dessert option. The difference between smoothies is you can blend the whole fruit and you can often add various sources of protein and healthy fats into the mix. As for sugary drinks, I do place fruit juice in the same catergory as sugary drinks, whether they are homemade or not. Of course, homemade juice is not going to be as sugar ridden as commerically bought juices (see example below), but it is still too high in sugar to achieve most positive health objectives. Also, this may come as a surprise, but coca cola has less sugar than homemade apple juice. (see chart below) I certainly don’t advocate drinking cola, and homemade apple juice would certainly deliver more nutritional value, but what I’m simply doing here is making a demonstration about sugar levels so you can draw the conclusions yourself.
READER QUESTION: Does this count for all juice? Like for fresh lemon/grapefruit and pure cranberry juice as well?
I gave the nutrition facts for cranberry above and as you can see it is very high in sugar. As for grapefruit and lemon, well they also have sugar but the difference with those is that we often drink them in small doses and they can have beneficial effects on our health. With my clients, I use a lemon and apple cider drink as a morning detox and weight loss booster and it is very effective.
Juices are sometimes foods
There’s foods for everyday and there are foods for sometimes. Juices come under the sometimes category. Certainly it is no good to be all or nothing but if we can educate ourselves with the facts, then we can make a more informed decision about what is going to work for us and the goals we are trying to achieve.
I hope this post helps to clear up a few of the misconceptions and bring light about juicing for health.
Please share it around to help shed the light on others 🙂
P.S. Any more questions, comments or concerns please leave them in the comments below.