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.
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:
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.”
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.