Mindful awareness

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What's the Juice?

I am old enough to remember juice fads coming and going a couple of times. The practice of promoting juicing as a healthy diet has waxed and waned and is back in again. I have no idea why the practice keeps coming back. I suppose there are always companies trying to sell kitchen appliances and packaged foods to stoke the interest.

There are so many reasons to forego juice and eat the fresh vegetables and fruit that make the juice. Juice is a concentrated form of the fruit or vegetable. That means that for every ounce of juice one consumes more fructose while foregoing vitamins, minerals, and fiber that the fruit and vegetables provide. For example, a glass of orange juice has the number of calories and amount of sugar of three oranges yet has a higher glycemic index and less fiber than the orange. On every basis for eating nutritious foods, the whole food is healthier than the juice.

Juicing extracts the liquid component of the food, creating a calorie-rich form of the food. At the same time, juicing discards the pulp, or fiber, that the food offers. That fiber is an important component of a healthy diet. It also helps to feel satiated. One is likely to be hungrier after drinking a glass of juice than a piece of fruit or vegetable that has one third the calories!

Eating the whole food is particularly recommended for people motivated to reduce daily caloric intake to lose weight. Our minds are our biggest foes and allies in the quest to maintain a healthy weight. We can trick ourselves into thinking we had a larger meal by taking more time to chew and consume a meal. Biting, chewing, and even seeing the food in front of us helps us to think we had a meal. All of this benefit is lost in drinking calories as a juiced version of the fruit or vegetable.

A general rule of thumb for healthy eating is to eat all one’s calories, drinking none. The micronutrients packaged as whole food is always a healthier form than processing the food. Not buying into the juicing fad is better for your diet, your wallet, and counter space – I’d rather fill my limited counter space with fresh flowers and a fruit bowl than a juicer!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Lisa, I'm in your Cityoga basics class and just came across your blog. What are your thoughts on vegetable-fruit smoothies? I often blend greens like kale or spinach with fruit but unlike juicing all the pulp remains. I've not come across any science-backed research on the benefits of smoothies, I just find it's an effective way to get my leafy greens. Also: you're vegan? Me too!