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Juicing: Fact vs. Fiction

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Juicing: Fact vs. Fiction

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Juicing has become increasingly popular in recent years. Many people use it as a cleanse or detox, or as a way to get more fruits and vegetables into their diets. While there can be some health benefits to juicing, it also has some drawbacks. Here’s the skinny on what’s hype and what’s real when it comes to the juicing fad.

Juicing 101
Juicing involves a process that extracts juices from fresh fruits and vegetables by stripping away the solid parts like seeds and pulp and leaving you with the juice that contains all of the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants from the whole fruit or vegetable. Methods of juicing can vary, from squeezing fruit by hand to electronic juicers that use either grinding or cold-pressing to juice fruits and vegetables.

The good and the bad
If your diet is lacking in fruits and vegetables, or you just don’t like to eat whole fruits or veggies, juicing is an easy way to incorporate these nutritious foods into your diet. Fresh squeezed juices are much healthier than packaged juices that contain added sugars. Juicing is also a good way to get essential antioxidants, such as vitamins A, C, and E, which can counteract free radicals in our bodies that cause cell damage and lead to disease like cancer or heart disease down the road. And juicing can be hydrating (water is always best), but juice is a much better choice than drinking soda, alcohol, or sugar-filled energy drinks.

While juicing in moderation is perfectly fine, relying solely on juicing alone to get your daily servings of fruits and vegetables isn’t ideal. It’s important to eat a variety of whole fruits and fresh vegetables so you get a good mix of vitamins and minerals. Juicing also eliminates the fiber that is found in the skins of fresh fruits and vegetables which is so important for a healthy diet. Fiber aids in digestion helps lower cholesterol and helps maintain a healthy weight.

Juicing can also add unwanted calories and result in weight gain. Pure fruit juice can be high in calories, and many people who juice tend to use four or five fruits at once, increasing the calories, often without realizing it. Vegetables are lower in calories and tend to be less likely to cause weight gain. You can use one fruit such as a kiwi or strawberries for flavor when juicing vegetables to keep calories lower.

Obviously, due to the high caloric intake, juicing is not a good choice for weight loss. Not only is it high in calories, but you won’t be getting the fiber that helps keep you full, so you’ll be more likely to cheat on a juicing diet. If you’re using juicing as a meal replacement, then you’re also not getting any protein, which can lead to muscle loss. Juicing diets are usually too extreme, and the results won’t last.

You may have seen many articles and ads promoting juicing as a way to detox or cleanse toxins from your body, but there is no research to support that any cleansing is actually taking place. Your liver and kidneys naturally detox themselves whether you’re juicing or not.

Getting started
If you want to supplement your diet with juicing, it’s a great way to get more fruits and vegetables into your diet as long as it’s done in moderation and is not used as a replacement for healthy meals. To get started, the first thing you’ll need is a juicer. There are several types to choose from, so before making an investment, do a little research to determine which type of juicer is best for your needs.

Once you’ve found the right juicer, use these simple recipes to get started juicing. It’s best to use fresh produce, though you can substitute frozen fruits or vegetables; just be sure to let them thaw first.

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