Consuming a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is beneficial to health.
A few of them can even lessen your chances of developing serious illnesses later in life (1Trusted Source).
The practise of juicing, in which fresh fruits and vegetables are juiced for their nutritional value, has gained popularity in recent years.
It’s popular among those trying to cleanse their systems or supplement their diets with more healthy options.
Juicing has its proponents who think it increases the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from produce, and its detractors who say it removes beneficial fibre and other compounds.
The benefits and drawbacks of juicing for health are discussed at length here.
What is juicing?
Juicing is a method of obtaining liquid nutrients from raw produce.
This process often removes the bulk of the fruit’s or vegetable’s solid components, such as the pulp and seeds.
Most of the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants found in the whole fruit or vegetable are concentrated in the resultant liquid.
Juicing can be done in a variety of ways, from manually pressing fruit to using a powered juicer.
To name just two varieties of juicers:
Centrifugal. These juicers have a cutting blade that spins at high speed to pulverise fruit and vegetable pulp. Juice and solids are separated by spinning.
Cold-press. These juicers, also known as masticating juicers, crush and press food at a considerably slower rate to extract the maximum amount of juice.
Both centrifugal and cold-press juicers provide nutritious beverages (2Trusted Source).
Purpose of juicing
Juicing is generally used for two purposes:
Cleansing or detoxification: Solid food is eliminated and only juice is consumed for 3 days to several weeks. Some people believe drinking juice cleanses their bodies of toxins. However, no evidence supports its effectiveness.
Supplementing a normal diet: Fresh juice can be used as a handy supplement to your daily diet, increasing nutrient intake from fruits and vegetables that you wouldn’t otherwise consume.
Juice is an easy way to obtain a lot of nutrients
Nutritionally, the diets of many people fall short (3Trusted Source).
The foods you eat likely contain a lot less nutrients than they did in the past.
This is partly attributable to the length of time it takes for food to travel from the field to the shop for processing and preparation (4, 5).
In addition, being in a polluted atmosphere or under a lot of stress might boost your body’s demand for particular nutrients.
Vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other plant chemicals found in fruits and vegetables have been linked to disease protection (6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source).
Juicing can be a handy way to improve your daily intake of fruits and vegetables if you have trouble eating that many whole foods.
Beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, and folate levels were all observed to increase in people who drank a mixed fruit and vegetable juice supplement for 14 weeks (8Trusted Source).
In addition, a meta-analysis of 22 research indicated that increasing one’s consumption of juice prepared from fresh fruits and vegetables or blended powder concentrate increased one’s levels of folate and antioxidants such as beta carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E. (9Trusted Source).
Does fruit juice protect against disease
Although there is substantial data suggesting that a diet high in whole fruits and vegetables can help lower the risk of developing certain diseases, research on the effects of fruit and vegetable juices is more scarce.
Antioxidants play a role in why fruits and vegetables are good for you, but fibre also plays a big part. The digestive process releases the antioxidants linked to fibre (10Trusted Source).
Consuming a diet rich in fruits and vegetables has been linked to numerous health benefits. Juices, for instance, have been linked to a decreased chance of developing heart disease. Juices made from apples and pomegranates, in particular, have been found to have beneficial effects on heart health (11Trusted Source, 12Trusted Source).
In addition, drinking liquid fruit and vegetable concentrates (or pure fruit and vegetable juices) may lower homocysteine levels and oxidative stress indicators, all of which are associated with better heart health (9Trusted Source).
People who drank fruit and vegetable juices more frequently than once per week (at least three times per week) had a lower chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease, according to one big study (13Trusted Source).
Polyphenols, which are abundant in fruit and vegetable juices, may be responsible for the disease prevention. Antioxidants like these can be found in plant diets and are thought to shield nerve cells in the brain.
Despite these findings, additional research on the health benefits of fruit and vegetable juices is necessary (9Trusted Source).
It’s best to consume whole fruits and veggies
Juicing proponents frequently assert that their method is superior than simply consuming whole fruits and vegetables.
They state that the removal of the fibre improves nutritional absorption.
However, this isn’t backed by any evidence from the scientific community.
In fact, you might require the plant’s fibre content to experience the full health advantages of the fruit or vegetable (14Trusted Source).
When fruits and vegetables are juiced, many of the health benefits, such as antioxidants, that are found bonded to the plant fibres are removed. Whole fruits and vegetables may have health benefits because of them (15, 16Trusted Source).
It’s important to note that, depending on the juicer, juicing can remove as much as 90% of the fibre from the original food source. The majority of the insoluble fibre is eliminated, but some soluble fibre will remain.
Potential health benefits of fiber
Heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes are all diseases that have been linked to lower risks in populations with higher fibre diets (17Trusted Source, 18Trusted Source).
Certain types of fibre, especially soluble fibre, have been proven in studies to have beneficial effects on blood sugar and cholesterol levels (19Trusted Source, 20Trusted Source).
In one look, researchers weighed the pros and cons of both apple juice and consuming whole apples. When compared to consuming whole apples, it was discovered that drinking clear apple juice elevated LDL (bad) cholesterol levels by 6.9%. The high fibre content of whole apples may be responsible for this impact (14Trusted Source).
People who drank fruit juices had a higher chance of developing type 2 diabetes, while those who ate whole fruits had a lower risk (21Trusted Source).
When compared to drinking the juice equivalent, people who eat whole fruits had a greater sensation of fullness (20Trusted Source, 22Trusted Source, 23Trusted Source).
There was a study done that looked at how blending and juicing affected the nutritional value of grapefruit. Blending, which preserves more fibre, was found to be the most effective method for extracting beneficial plant chemicals (24Trusted Source).
Should you add fiber to your juices?
The amount of fibre in your juices will vary depending on the juicer you use, but you can boost your fibre intake by using the pulp you discard in other recipes.
Although this is preferable than discarding the fibre altogether, studies have shown that re-introducing fibre to juice does not provide the same health benefits as consuming full fruits and vegetables (25Trusted Source).
Another study confirmed that increasing the amount of fibre in juice above and above what is found in nature did not increase satiety (26Trusted Source).
Juicing for weight loss may be a bad idea
Juicing is a popular method used by many people who are trying to shed extra pounds.
Most juice diets have you consuming only 600–1,000 calories per day, which is enough to cause rapid weight reduction due to the significant calorie deficit.
Yet, keeping this up for more than a few days at a time is quite challenging.
Short-term weight loss from juice diets is possible, but the long-term effects of such drastic calorie restriction can be detrimental (27Trusted Source).
Long-term vitamin deficits are also likely on juice-only diets due to the lack of numerous essential elements.
Juices should not replace meals
Not all juices are healthy enough to replace a meal.
This is due to the lack of protein and fat in juice, which makes it an unbalanced food choice on its own.
Day-to-day protein consumption should be adequate for muscle preservation and long-term health (28Trusted Source).
Healthy fats are also crucial for maintaining energy levels, regulating hormones, and for the structure and function of cell membranes. Vitamins A, D, E, and K, which are fat-soluble, may be provided as well.
However, if the rest of your diet is more balanced, substituting one meal a day with juice is probably safe.
Including some protein and healthy fats in your juice recipe can help you achieve a more well-rounded nutritional profile. Whey protein, almond milk, avocados, Greek yoghurt, and peanut butter are some nice examples.