Nutritionally speaking juices have pros and cons and are not the holy grail of health. They have their benefits depending on the context. Context is very important. Here is a quick summary of the pros and cons of juices.
The pros of juices:
- A very efficient way to nourish yourself with many vitamins and minerals
- Great snack if you are very active and lead a busy lifestyle
- Are approximately 95% water – hello hydration!
The cons of juices:
1. They do not contain fibre
Most juicing machines will leave out the skin and/or rough parts of the fruit and/or vegetables. The skin and rough parts of fruit and vegetables contain fibre which is fantastic for your bowels and also contribute to you feeling full. Fibre also help ensure everything in your gut moves along efficiently so your stools are not too hard (hello constipation) or too soft (hello diarrhoea) and protect you from bowel cancer. You don’t want to miss out on fibre!
2. They contain little or no protein
Fruit and vegetables do not contain protein which is one of the things that help you feel full after eating. Ever wonder why you feel hungry shortly after drinking a juice? The no protein factor will have you hunting down food shortly after drinking your juice.
Protein is what your body uses to build or maintain every living tissue in your body. You can get protein from animal sources (e.g. lean meat, fish, seafood, offal) and non-animal sources (e.g. beans, tofu), and dairy (e.g. milk, cheese, yoghurt).
3. Can get pretty expensive very quickly
Why? If you add your cacao nibs, maca powder, pea protein etc and buy special equipment then your juice will get pretty expensive pretty quickly. In contrast, buying, washing and eating a piece of fruit is cheap and easy.
4. May hinder weight loss goals
A typical juice may contain 3 – 7 cut up fruit, their natural sugars and vitamins and minerals. The vitamins and minerals are fantastic for your health. The natural sugars give your muscles a boost of energy (also known as glucose) and this is what you want from a snack. However, if you are not very active then these natural sugars are not used by your muscles and get converted to fat. If you are trying to lose weight by reducing the unhelpful foods in your diet then your hard work may be undone by over-consuming juices. If you are trying to lose weight, you can see a dietitian to help you formulate a personal, tailored plan to help you succeed.
5. Can contribute to bloating for some individuals
Why? As mentioned above, juices contain natural sugars. An overload of certain types of natural sugar can contribute to bloating and diarrhoea in some individuals. This does not mean that fruits are bad for you. It just means that our bodies are unique, built and work differently to one another. And, if you struggle with bloating, see a dietitian who can help you determine is causes.
6. They cannot and should not replace meals in the short-term or long term
This is due to reasons 1 – 5 listed above. Long-term, it is not healthy, balanced or safe to replace meals with juices. A juice should be enjoyed in conjunction to a balanced diet which contains lean protein, wholegrains, nuts and seeds, dairy, fruit and vegetables.
The bottom line:
Juices are great, however, drinking them do not make you instantly healthy. Remember to look at the big picture and ensure you get adequate sleep, exercise, reduce alcohol consumption and eat a variety of nourishing foods.