Juicing: passing fad or health cure-all?
If you wander into any supermarket these days, you’ll likely find some kind of juice that promises a health benefit like clear skin or shiny hair. While juices are tremendously popular, are they worth the hype?
Juice, delicious, juice
For those who eat few fruits and vegetables, juicing may be a good idea. Juices have most of the same vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients found in whole fruits and vegetables, are quickly absorbed by the body, and can provide a good energy boost if you’re active.
The convenience factor of juices also plays a major role in their popularity, since they are portable and can be easier to eat than many fruits and vegetables.
Can you drink your way to good health?
Enthusiasts say that the body absorbs more nutrients from juice, and that juices help remove toxins from the body and help with weight loss. However, there’s currently no solid scientific evidence to support those claims.
In fact, juice actually lacks the dietary fiber of whole fruits and vegetables, which helps with digestion and makes you feel full. And when you compare the same volume of whole fruits and vegetables to juice, juices have far more calories and sugar.
In terms of cost, juicing can be a pricey endeavor. A 12-ounce cup at a juice bar can run up to $8 a pop. Prices are better if you do it yourself, but juicers still range from under $50 to over hundreds of dollars—not to mention the cost of materials.
The Bottom Line
In general, juices can help you get the nutrients you’re missing if you don’t eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. But they are more caloric, costly, and not as satiating as eating whole produce.
If you have that hankering for a healthy drink, a smoothie is a great alternative. They include dietary fiber from fruits and vegetables, and are as enjoyable and convenient to drink as juices. Just be wary of smoothies that are made with ice cream or sweetened with added sugars.
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