You may have noticed a slew of new juice shops selling “cold-pressed” juice. 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 pasteurization, 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 pasteurized 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 which 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.