To Juice or Not to Juice... The Verdict

Claire O'Bryan

It's been a week since my first "To Juice or Not to Juice" post, and since then, I've tried out different homemade juicing recipes for seven days straight. So here are my thoughts: the good and the bad. Don't shoot the messenger here. If you're a juicing fanatic and juicing has changed your life or helped you lose weight, then more power to ya! I just hate to see people jump on a very expensive bandwagon if they don't need to.


By the way, have you seen the documentary Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead? It's really interesting and thought provoking. If that is you (I mean if you're fat, sick, and/or nearly dead), then by all means, go on a physician- or dietician-supervised juice fast and lose some weight. But if you're just an average person, I'm not sure that juicing is all that it's cracked up to be. The articles I found that were worth reading (i.e., those written by ACTUAL dieticians) were not really in favor of juicing for the same reasons I'll discuss below. As one Mayo Clinic dietitician notes:


Juicing probably is not any healthier than eating whole fruits and vegetables. Juicing extracts the juice from fresh fruits or vegetables. The resulting liquid contains most of the vitamins, minerals, and plant chemicals (phytonutrients) found in the whole fruit. However, whole fruits and vegetables also have healthy fiber, which is lost during most juicing.
—Jennifer K. Nelson, R.D., L.D.



I thought some of the juice was deeeelicious. My favorite juice recipe was actually the healthiest one I made, which was the Green Juice seen here (find recipe below). This juice featured four veggies, an herb, a lemon (technically a fruit, but I don't count it as fruit here since it's so low calorie) and an apple. The recipe was refreshing, sweet enough and tart at the same time, and I felt good drinking it.  


Drinking all of that color feels pretty good.  I did feel good on the days I drank the green juice, because I knew I wasn't getting just a ton of sugar at once! I also loved getting all those antioxidants all at once, without all the work of eating a huge salad or something.  


With that said, it does take some of the thought out of making sure you get all your fruits and veggies for the day. I did like knowing that if I'd had a good juice, I could fudge a little bit on meals later in the day... like not adding a side of broccoli to spaghetti JUST to get something else green.  


The juice DOES help curb hunger, and made a good snack. I have to eat a snack at work by the time 10:30 or 11 rolls around, because if I don't my stomach growls so loudly that I then have to explain to patients awkwardly while I'm examining them that I did in fact eat breakfast and I just haven't had a snack yet. I can see myself using it as a morning snack instead of something empty like pretzels or crackers per my usual.



Its. So. Messy. Juicing creates a ton of waste. Not just vegetable waste in your juicer, but if you're not careful you can get a bright color somewhere you don't want it. The juicer I was using sprayed a little, which was not cool either. 


It can be expensive, because you've GOT to use all organic. I mean, you don't have to, the juicer doesn't explode if you don't use an organic apple, but it's really important to use organic when you're juicing. You also, again, create a lot of waste and so you go through the fruits and veggies a lot faster when you juice than if you were to just eat them normally.  


You lose out on other nutrients, like fiber!!! Call me old fashioned—I know some will say you can't absorb all that fiber, but isn't that the point? Don't you want to not absorb all the fiber and things out faster? Fiber is your friend and I hate to miss out on it in a juice.  


It can be very high-calorie if you're not careful. Sure, you just made a super delicious juice with lots of different fruits in it, but you also just drank like 300 calories. If you're not using a very high veggie content and only a little bit of fruit, your juice will be high in calories and sugar.


There's no scientific evidence or data showing that juicing is beneficial. I shouldn't really have to explain that sentence... so just read it again. There's no evidence! So until a study comes out comparing juicing vs. eating whole fruits and veggies (which we already know works), I'll just stick to eating my salads and fruit!



Green Clean Juice Recipe

1 small cucumber (If the cucumber is not organic, PEEL IT)

1/3 bunch of kale (baby kale if your juicer can’t handle regular)
1 lemon (whole)
1 apple (whole, and green apple if you like it tart)
3-4 whole sprigs of parsley
4-5 stalks of celery