Cold Pressed Juice: Is it really better?

You may have noticed a lot of of juice shops selling cold-pressed juice recently.

Cold-pressed juice can even be found in various restaurants, grocery stores, or even some coffee shops. The claim is that cold pressed juice is healthier (or maybe just trendier) than traditionally extracted and pasteurized juices. But, what exactly is a cold pressed juice and is it really better for you?

Freshly squeezed juice has a very short shelf life, as it is easily contaminated by harmful microbes that can make us sick. Therefore, most manufacturers use pasteurisation, or heat, to reduce the amount of bacteria in the juice. Much of the juice kept at room temperature on the grocery shelf has been pasteurised in order to maintain shelf life. Additionally, sometimes sugar or other preservatives are added to help extend the shelf life further.

Although these methods are meant to improve the safety of these juices, they also may decrease heat and light sensitive vitamins and minerals found in the juice. Also, many people do not feel comfortable with added sugars or other preservatives in their juice.

Enter cold-pressed juice

Cold pressed juice uses pressure to reduce the bacteria in the juice instead of heat, allowing the juice to last longer without harming any of the beneficial vitamins, minerals, or enzymes. This process called high pressure processing (HPP) exposes the fresh juice to extreme pressure which kills most of the harmful microbes. The HPP method allows the juice to last longer and maintain its freshly-squeezed taste.

Proponents of cold-pressed juice believe the taste is superior to pasteurized juice, which uses heat. Whether or not it truly contains more vitamins and minerals is still unclear as there are no studies showing it is significantly beneficial when compared to juices extracted via traditional methods.

According to some, cold-pressed juice is tastier, but it also comes with a hefty price tag. The average price is $9-$12 for a 470 mL single-serving bottle. Companies who make these juices state the high cost is related to amount of fruits and vegetables that go into making one bottle of juice as well as the cost of the HPP machine, which can be up to $800,000.

Many juices are promoted for “cleansing” purposes but the lack of fibre and protein, and the high sugar content, will likely make you a lot hungrier in the end, making most juice cleanses hard to stick to.

Although juice does contain vitamins and minerals, it should not be used as a substitute for eating whole, fresh fruits and vegetables. The primary issue with juice is the lack of fibre. Most juice is made by squeezing out the juice from the fruit or vegetable and throwing the pulp (fibre) away. Fibre is critical to digestive health and may help counterbalance the high sugar content of fruit by helping regulate blood sugar.

Juices can also contain a significant number of calories and sugar. Therefore, if you are trying to lose weight, you should drink juices in moderation, watching the calorie content closely. Juices that are primarily made of vegetables are generally lower in calories than those that are fruit based.

Overall, although cold-pressed juice may be super trendy, there really aren’t any significant health benefits to justify the higher cost.

The Pros and Cons of Juice

orange_juice_1Juice is very popular.

How can you resist them when they look insta-fabulous with a filter and served in a mason jar? #Healthy #CleanEating

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:

  1. A very efficient way to nourish yourself with many vitamins and minerals
  2. Delicious
  3. Great snack if you are very active and lead a busy lifestyle
  4. 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.

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.

Juice: Health food or junk food?

Often people suggest that instead of softdrink, they will have a juice. I’ll put it out there – I hate juice. It provides a false sense of security as it comes from something healthy like fruit. However, when you look at how many teaspoons of sugar a juice has, you may think again!

A freshly squeezed medium sized fruit juice typically contains around 11 teaspoons of sugar, and while it may be natural and not refined cane sugar, ultimately, it’s still sugar with none of the fibre you’d get from eating the whole fruit. I always like to think about how many oranges you would need to juice to get a glass of juice – would you eat that many oranges in one sitting? I would say probably not!

Juice teaspoon sugar

Just as a side note, the type of juice we are talking about here, is not your popular juice bar smoothies.   Smoothies from these shops can have up to 30 teaspoons of sugar in a serve!! (eeek!) That is astounding – especially considering they are marketed as a healthy product!  The worst of these are those that are based on frozen yoghurt, sorbet, fruit concentrates and syrups.

If you choose to buy a juice, get one which is freshly squeezed, stick to a small size and combine the fruit with even more vegetables.  If you must buy supermarket juice, choose those that have no added sugar and include the pulp – however keep you serve to 1/4 of a glass and dilute it with lots of water!

Another even better alternative, why not make your own Green Smoothie at home!  For information about Green Smoothies head to my blog post all about them here.