Juicing: Is it for you?

Everyone seems to have gotten into the juicing craze, from celebrities like Salma Hayek and Gwyneth Paltrow to your avid health buff neighbor and the moms in your PTA association.

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Avid juicers claim that juicing is the best way to detox the body, prevent diseases and lose weight. But is it all that’s it’s hyped to be? Can anyone juice and reap all the benefit it claims?

Before you grab a juicer, here’s the low down on the pros and cons of juicing.

Advantages of Juicing

A recent study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health showed that eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can protect you from cancer, heart disease and other chronic illnesses. The researchers recommend to eat at least seven servings of fruits and vegetables daily, with each serving increase linked to lower risk of morbidity and death.

For people that aren’t big with their fruits and vegetables or just don’t have the time to cut up and cook their veggies, juicing provides a convenient way for you to incorporate more fruits and vegetables in your diet.

Gale Canfield, Pritkin Longevity Center Nutrition Director, told CNN that juicing provides the same nutritional benefits as eating whole fruits and vegetables. The water in the juice also helps in keeping your body hydrated.

Watch the Sugar

Jucing fruits in particular can ramp up your sugar intake if you’re not careful. For instance, one medium orange contains about 63 calories. Eight ounces of orange juice, on the other hand, may contain as much as four medium oranges.

If you’re not wary, you’ll be taking up more fruits and the calories will start adding up .Add vegetables to your juice so you can reap its nutritional benefits without ramping up the calories.

Juicing and Detox

Juicing proponents claim that juicing is good for you because the nutrients are easily absorbed by the body than if you were to eat whole fruits and vegetables. Juicing also gives your digestive system rest from working on fiber and aids in removing toxins from your body.

According to the Mayo Clinic, there is no sound scientific evidence to back this claim. The body just as easily absorbs the nutrients from extracted juice as it would from whole fruits and vegetables.

In addition, the body already has its own mechanism for removing toxins through the liver, kidneys and the immune system. Registered dietician Deborah Levy told CNN that medical literature and research has not affirmed the claim that the body needs an outside source to cleanse itself.

Juicing, however, helps some people to transition into healthier habits.

Juicing and Weight Loss

Following a juicing program for a few days can actually help you lose weight fast because you’re cutting down on your daily calorie intake.

However, nutrition and weight loss expert Joy Bauer warns that there’s a price to pay for this rapid slash on unwanted pounds. According to Joy Bauer, “Juice plans are grossly inadequate in protein, a key nutrient that helps you feel full and energized while maintaining your lean muscle mass and boosting your metabolic burn.”

She adds that following a low-protein diet and cutting calories at the same time causes people to lose more weight as muscle tissue, which slows down metabolism and diminishes strength.

A healthy weight loss plan should be well balanced, one that includes not just fruits and vegetables but dairy, whole grains, lean meat and fats as well. Some foods just don’t juice properly like chicken or whole wheat bread.

You can make your juice more nutritiously balanced by adding protein. Good sources of protein include almond milk, flaxseed, yogurt, and peanut butter.

An all-juice diet may also leave you less fulfilled than if you were to follow a regular healthy diet plan. Juicing leaves out fiber, which helps you feel satiated and fuller longer. It also leaves out the other health benefits that fiber brings, including gastrointestinal regulation, cholesterol lowering capabilities and blood sugar regulation.

Try to keep some of the pulp when you juice. You can also save the pulp and add it when making muffins or pancakes.

Bottom-line, juicing in moderation can help you take in more essential nutrients, but it’s not an ideal plan for long-term weight loss and detoxification.

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