Juicing has been touted as a magic bullet but the facts show it’s not such a fruitful exercise
Juicing has been touted as a magic bullet but the facts show it’s not such a fruitful exercise
Image: 123RF / maridav

Juicing. It’s still a thing. And, unlike many other food fads, it doesn’t seem to be going away. Everyone from gym-going execs to teens is doing it and Nutribullet and pastel Smeg machines are flying off the shelves. But is it a good idea? Probably not.

It feels logical somehow that the concentrated version of fresh fruit and vegetables would be the bomb. If fruit and vegetables are good, then this has to be even better, right? The fact is when foods are taken apart, and only certain parts of them are eaten, they are very much on the way to being processed foods. Not only that, the nutritional value of fruit and vegetables to humans is overstated. There is truly no emergency about packing more into your system.    

With juicing, it’s probably best to follow Michael Pollan’s advice (although he was talking about vitamin supplements). Be the sort of person who juices. In other words, just be conscious; look after yourself. Don’t smoke, drink in moderation, do a bit of exercise and try to eat fewer processed foods (like juice for example). You don’t actually have to do the juicing, because there’s not a shred of evidence that it has any positive effect on your health.   

But it’s not just that there’s no proof of marvellous health or aesthetic improvements. Juicing might be a bad idea, especially if you throw fruit and vegetables into the same mental basket. Fruits are not vegetables. And, in fact, many vegetables shouldn’t be in the same basket either, once you start extracting all but the juice. Just as an apple will yield more sugar than a carrot, a carrot is far higher in sugar than kale (but let’s not think about kale, it’s too depressing).

Juicing might be a bad idea, especially if you throw fruit and vegetables into the same mental basket

As for using juice-only diets as a way to “cleanse”, this is pure fantasy. Juices cannot, no way, not at all, remove toxins from your system. That’s nonsense. If said juice diet is happening during a spa retreat period, let’s consider that it might be the time away from work, booze, city smog and pizza which has left you feeling better, with a clear skin and a smooth belly. Water would have done the trick too.

However, there is one juicing claim that’s true - the promise that you absorb nutrients faster. But unless you’re a diabetic with a sudden blood-sugar crash, is that even good? No. Slow nutrient absorption – especially when we’re talking sugar – is a better idea. And the assurance by many juicing advocates that this diet route can cure dread diseases? That’s not just incorrect, it’s positively criminal.

But, if your beautiful, new, streamlined juicer and the stuff that comes out if it makes you feel happy about life and yourself, then that’s the one good reason to continue with the fad (in moderation). Happiness is far more closely linked to health than any special diet. Just don’t for one nanosecond think it’s going to boost your metabolism, cleanse your insides or get rid of cellulite. 

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