Search
Search
Generic filters

Ready to change your life?Start Now! Contact Us

The Squeeze on Juicing

April 5, 2021

By Michelle Spearman, Dietetic Intern from Iowa State University with the supervision of the Duke Lifestyle & Weight Management Center Nutrition Team.

In recent years, “juicing,” has become a trendy topic. Juice bars have sprung up across the country and bottled juices have become widely available at health food stores, coffee shops, and markets. Some juices also come with high price tags. Celebrities and personal friends often talk about going on a juice “cleanse.” But is there any merit to the health claims these juicers often tout? Should there be a place for juice in your diet?

“Juicing,” or the act of consuming freshly squeezed vegetables and fruits, is not a new trend. The first record of extracting juice from plants for consumption was recorded in the Dead Sea Scrolls. People were recorded hitting pomegranates and figs on rocks as early as 150 BC. 1

Benefits?

There are several evidence-based possible benefits to including fresh-squeezed vegetables and fruits to a diet in moderate amounts. Juices can assist in hydration and may supplement extra vitamins and minerals in your diet. If you like the taste of veggie juice and it helps you keep your fluid intake up, then this could be beneficial.

In recent years, “juicing,” has become a trendy topic. Juice bars have sprung up across the country and bottled juices have become widely available at health food stores, coffee shops, and markets. Some juices also come with high price tags. Celebrities and personal friends often talk about going on a juice “cleanse.” But is there any merit to the health claims these juicers often tout? Should there be a place for juice in your diet?

To entice consumers, juice brands go to great lengths to use a method referred to as “cold-pressed juicing.” However, in one scientific study, there was no demonstrable benefit to using this method of juicing compared to other methods of juicing, in regards to nutrient preservation. 2

Loss of Health Benefits

One of the problems with juicing is that the process of squeezing fruits and vegetables essentially removes the fiber from these healthy foods. Fiber is an important part of any diet and it has many health benefits including lowering cholesterol, maintaining glucose and insulin levels, and feeding the microbiome.

Another problem with taking the fiber out of vegetables and fruit is that the sugar content of the juice may be higher than anticipated. All fruits and vegetables have carbohydrates or sugar in them and juicing creates a concentrated version. It is always important to check the nutrition information especially if you are concerned about blood sugar levels.

Safety

When fruits and vegetables are squeezed into a juice, bacteria on the skin of the vegetable or fruit are then transferred to the juice. Juices sold in grocery stores are pasteurized to delay spoiling and to prevent the spread of foodborne illness. At local juice shops or farmers’ markets, the fresh-squeezed juice is not pasteurized, since it is intended for consumption within a day or two of purchasing while held at a proper temperature. The general public can safely consume juice that is freshly squeezed and unpasteurized, but it could pose a threat to anyone with a compromised immune system such as preschoolers, the elderly, or pregnant women. When juicing at home, be sure to clean all surfaces including the skin of the fruit to avoid contamination.

Juice Diets

Some claim that juice diets or “cleanses” can have great benefits. However, the American Journal of Medicine reported a case study in which a patient experienced acute kidney damage after partaking in a six-day juice fast. It is always important to consult with your physician or dietetic practitioner before making any dietary changes. This journal article also noted that there is no strong scientific evidence that supports juicing for health benefits as compared to eating a diet balanced with fruits and vegetables.3

“Don’t be duped into thinking you need a juice cleanse to ‘detoxify’ your body. Our bodies are perfectly well equipped to detox themselves. Our liver does this for us. Often people feel better when they do a ‘detox’ diet because of what they are NOT eating (processed, unhealthy foods), and because they are getting many micronutrients from the juiced fruits and veggies. But there are better ways to get those nutrients – from the whole foods in the context of a balanced eating plan.”

Regarding detoxing using juice diets, Christine Tenekjian, RDN, at the Duke Lifestyle & Weight Management Center says, “Don’t be duped into thinking you need a juice cleanse to ‘detoxify’ your body. Our bodies are perfectly well equipped to detox themselves. Our liver does this for us. Often people feel better when they do a ‘detox’ diet because of what they are NOT eating (processed, unhealthy foods), and because they are getting many micronutrients from the juiced fruits and veggies. But there are better ways to get those nutrients – from the whole foods in the context of a balanced eating plan.”

While freshly squeezed juices assist in hydration and may provide some beneficial vitamins and minerals, they are not magic elixirs with magnificent health benefits. While most people can enjoy juiced fruits and vegetables for the taste, there’s no reason to feel squeezed into purchasing them.

Learn more about healthy eating practices from dietary experts at the Duke Lifestyle & Weight Management Center

1. A Brief History of Juicing. https://www.dummies.com/food-drink/recipes/a-brief-history-of-juicing/. Accessed July 19, 2019.
2. Khaksar G, Assatarakul K, Sirikantaramas S. Effect of cold-pressed and normal centrifugal juicing on quality attributes of fresh juices: do cold-pressed juices harbor a superior nutritional quality and antioxidant capacity?. Heliyon. 2019;5(6):e01917. Published 2019 Jun 18. doi:10.1016/j.heliyon.2019.e01917
3. Lien Y-HH. Juicing Is Not All Juicy. The American Journal of Medicine. 2013;126(9):755-756. doi:10.1016/j.amjmed.2013.04.007.

 

SUGGESTED POSTS

The Squeeze on Juicing

By Michelle Spearman, Dietetic Intern from Iowa State University with the supervision of the Duke Lifestyle & Weight Management Center Nutrition Team. In recent years, “juicing,” has become a trendy topic. Juice bars have sprung up across the country and bottled juices have become widely available at health food stores, ...

READ MORE

The Body Scan – A Quick Method for Assessing Yourself

The Body Scan is a quick method for assessing yourself. Do it first thing in the morning. Ideally, you should repeat it several times throughout the day, but at least once a day. The Body Scan should take only a few minutes. Your goal is to pay attention to what state ...

READ MORE

A 360 Guide to Foam Rolling

According to the American Council on Exercise, foam rolling is a self-myofascial release technique (SMR), which is a type of therapy used to eliminate general fascia restrictions. It is commonly used as a warm-up for mobility and/or a cool-down for recovery, although it should not fully replace stretching. Research ...

READ MORE
BACK TO POSTS

For more information about

Duke Integrative Medicine and our various services and programs, please join our mailing list.


error: Content is protected !!