Juicing — which refers to mixing up fruits and/or vegetables into a blender for a quick smoothie — has become a trendy thing. But when comparing juicing to eating whole fruits or vegetables, the version derived from the blender is nutritionally inferior.
Why is juicing less healthier? By eviscerating fruits and vegetables in a blender, you remove or degrade the food’s vital nutrients, including fiber which helps the body maintain a healthy weight and lowers your odds of heart disease. Fiber also cuts your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, promotes healthy gut bacteria and even helps reduce your risk of certain cancers, according to a growing list of medical and nutritional studies.
“In recent times, people are using fruits in juices and smoothies,” says Amy Kimberlain, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator with Baptist Health South Florida. “When fruits are altered or adjusted in their form, they can change the function they serve in our bodies.”
Juicing can actually backfire if you’re trying to lose weight because dieters tend to add more fruits to a juice concoction or smoothie. By doing so, you may be increasing sugar intake — without getting the full benefit of the fruit’s or vegetable’s natural nutrients.
“As far as smoothies go, people debate that they’re healthy because they have fiber,” says Ms. Kimberlain. “However, the blades (from the blender) destroy the fruit and fiber. And on top of that, you’re probably adding more fruit than you would eat in one sitting.”
Juicing extracts the juice from fresh fruits or vegetables. While the resulting liquid may contain some of the vitamins, minerals and plant chemicals (phytonutrients) found in the whole fruit, the fiber is lost. Moreover, there has been no scientific studies concluding that extracted juices are healthier than the juice you get by eating the fruit or vegetable itself.
In a paper published in 2017 by the American College of Cardiology , experts reviewed several nutrition-hyped plans — including juicing. They concluded that “whole food consumption is preferred” over a liquid diet.
“Whole food consumption is preferred, with juicing primarily reserved for situations when daily intake of vegetables and fruits is inadequate,” the study’s authors wrote. But they cautioned that “guidance should be provided” to avoid the over-consumption of sugar and excessive calories from juicing.
“Fruits contain carbohydrates which are a great source of fuel for use,” says Ms. Kimberlain. “However, when you juice them, you remove all of the fiber. Fiber is one of those things that slows down digestion and can help us feel fuller for a longer time. With juicing, you may put in more fruits than you need. So now you’ve had too many carbohydrates all in one sitting.”