Hive Health Media

Juicing: The Good and the Bad

Advocates say it can help you shed pounds quickly, supercharge your intake of micronutrients, and make you feel like a new person.

Opponents counter that the primary results are an over-concentration of vitamins, potential exposure to harmful bacteria, and a waste of money.

What is the Truth About Juicing? Is it a Good Idea or Not?

To get to the facts about juicing, I compared recommendations from a divergent group: the Mayo Clinic, the American Cancer Society, Dr. Joseph Mercola, the Stanford Cancer Group, and others. Here are some of the salient points and counterpoints:

juicing Juicing: The Good and the Bad

Pro: Juicing allows you to mix fruits and vegetables in ways you may never do otherwise. You can get a wider selection of vitamins and minerals by juicing.

Con: Bacteria quickly begins to form when produce is juiced. You may get more than nutrients, if you don’t drink your concoction quickly.

Pro: Juices taste great. They are a perfect way to get children to “eat” their vegetables.

Con: Juicing removes the fiber—and children need fiber.

Pro: Going on a juice diet can help you lose weight.

Con: Whether or not you lose weight depends upon how many calories you burn versus how many calories you take in. Juices can be extremely high in calories.

Pro: Juicing gives you a blast of micronutrients.

Con: Your body can only absorb and use so many nutrients at a time. At best, you waste money on nutrients that are eliminated from your body as surplus.

Pro: Your body can absorb juices easier than whole foods, and removing the need to process fiber gives your digestive system a rest. Scientific research proves the value of juicing.

Con: There is no scientific evidence that juicing is any healthier than eating the same foods whole.

Pro: Juicing helps the body cleanse itself.

Con: Juicing can give you diarrhea.

Perhaps the best conclusion is that juicing, like just about any other health topic, is fraught with opposing views. Proponents point to studies, like the Kame Project by Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, as proof that fruit and vegetable juices are integral to sound preventative medicine. Critics say the same results may be obtained by chewing. It may be the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

Done right, juicing may help you maintain or restore health. Done wrong, it could be detrimental. Some swear by juicing and some say it is way too much hassle. In the end, you must judge for yourself.

If you do experiment with juice therapy, though, consider these points as “juicing best practices.”

  • Choose ripe fruits and vegetables. Wash them well, then remove skins and seeds.
  • Try the “Eat more to lose more” philosophy, replacing 3 large meals with 3 smaller ones and juice snacks to supplement.
  • Drink the juice immediately, or refrigerate and use soon.
  • Use organic produce to decrease the likelihood of harmful pesticides and chemicals. Moreover, organic foods may provide more nutrients. Try raw Aloe for a real boost in nutritive value.
  • Don’t over-do juicing. One glass of delicious juice may contain four carrots. Ten glasses would contain 40 carrots. It is possible to get “too much of a good thing.” Pay attention to how much concentration you are getting.
  • Remember to get your fiber in some other way. Eat whole grains or beans, for instance. You may want to “fast” with juices for a period, but don’t neglect fiber for long.

I once asked an accomplished weightlifter what he thought about push ups in lieu of barbell presses. He replied, “There ain’t nothing wrong with push ups.”

Done with care and moderation, there “ain’t nothing wrong” with juicing either. On the other hand, the old-fashioned method of slowly chewing nutrient-rich foods has much to offer as well.

Some things never change.

Don is a freelance writer and a friend of entrepreneurs.
  • Sandra Goldstein

    Interesting article, I would have added some recipes though. Adding juices to your diet can help your receive many health benefits. It is like any regimen that you follow it has to be done properly to work. Since the formation of bacteria is an issue it is important to drink the juice quickly and to add ice to it to keep it cool. There are foods that are high in fiber, but if you are going to pursue a juice only type of diet, it would be recommended to add a fiber supplement to your regimen. For me, I use the juices in conjunction with eating fruits and vegetables or I will replace 1-2 meals with a juice drink or smoothie, but no more than that.

  • http://twitter.com/Roadturn Don Sturgill (@Roadturn)

    It is encouraging to see how many readers are advocates of juicing and cleansing. Our bodies need it on a regular basis, especially given the typical diet in our hurried lives.

  • mike m.

    There are no cons to juicing PERIOD.Most people’s digestive systems have been greatly compromised due the all the poison we consume daily.You are only absorbing a fraction of the nutrients from food therefore juicing is out of this word for getting vitamins and minerals because it takes no digestion it goes right into your system.

  • http://vegandoctor.com.au Doctor John Green

    Juicing is great if you are in cleanse mode. I highly recommend juicing in cleanse detox mode. When in normal maintenance nutrition mode, i recommend use of juices in combination with other foods, ie as a component of other recipes; eg citrus juice is a great vehicle for many recipes such as sauces and dressings, and the same goes for apple juice and many other juices either alone or in combination with other foods. It’s just great to start the day sometimes with a fresh OJ. But i would like to emphasis that juices can be a trap if they become too much of a routine thing outside of cleansing. I know i could attract some heat for saying this. Neverthe less, used carefully and appropriately juicing is a power tool for both nourishing and cleansing your body. John Green. Melbourne

  • http://www.berrypositive.com Carolina Margain

    I could not agree more with this article. All trends in nutrition and on regards to food have some positive and negative aspects. I strongly belive that good information and knowledge is essential to make the best possible decisions for our health. Balance balance balance is of the essence.

  • http://aboutthelemondiet.com Bill

    I think people sometimes miss the point of Juicing. It is still a great benefit but that does not mean you stop eating fruit and vegetables where you get the full benefits.

  • http://info@wholelifestyles.com Roderick “PRIEST” Priestly

    If you use smoothies instead of juice you will eliminate most of the cons in this article. Juicing removes the fiber but smoothies, made in a blender, keep all of the fiber of the fruits and vegetables. So blending your fruits and vegetables and drinking them immediately wil give you all of the pros and eliminate most of the cons listed in this article.

    • Christina

      I agree I love smoothies it gives me a boost I need and the energy I need to start off my day.

  • CATRYNA WHITE

    Juicing is one of the best ways to get the max of vitamins and especially minerals into your body. This is especially true for someone who is ill. I can vouch for that personally. Take this article with a large grain of salt.