Juicing

By Dara Godfrey MS RD

To juice or not to juice, that is a big question I get asked on a regular basis in my nutrition practice. Over the past couple of years juice cleanses have become a hugely popular and very attractive diet choice amongst Hollywood celebrities and wellness gurus from coast to coast. It has particularly become popular in New York with the mass expansion of juice shops such as Juice Press, Liquiteria and Organic Avenue. But what is all the hype about and is it healthy for women trying to get pregnant?!

Here are some of the reasons why juicing may be appealing:

Pros:

  • The fruit/vegetables in juices contain an abundance of vitamins and minerals
  • When fruits/vegetables are juiced, they are more easily absorbed and digested than when they are consumed whole
  • They are quick to consume, convenient and an easy way to get your daily dose of fruit and vegetables
  • Juicing supports a plant-based diet, reducing animal proteins, which may help reduce the risk of infertility

On the other hand, there are many reasons why daily juicing or a juice-detox is something to avoid:

Cons:

  • Juices raise your blood sugar levels much more quickly than consuming the fruits/vegetables whole
  • There is some research that juicing may increase the risk of developing diabetes
  • Consuming juice may lead to foodborne illnesses since the raw product (that are often not properly washed) can harbor harmful pathogens, such as salmonella and e. Coli
  • Packaged juices are not pasteurized, further risking dangerous organisms to grow inside the bottles, especially with someone who has a weakened immune system
  • This is especially true at juice bars where the machines are often not properly washed in between uses
  • Juicing also removes a lot of the naturally occurring fiber found in the skin and pith of food

Verdict:

Whether as a means to detox from processed foods or as a quick fix for weight loss, something that sounds too good to be true, often is. Although theories behind detoxing through juicing may sound beneficial, they are still controversial. If a person is juicing for weight loss purposes, anything too fast, too radical, or temporary is not healthy in the long term. Slow and steady weight loss is the key to long term success. To date, there is not enough scientific evidence to support juice cleanses, especially for women who are trying to get pregnant. Our bodies naturally eliminate toxins we ingest or inhale via the liver, colon, kidneys, lungs and skin.  Instead, my overall recommendations are to eat whole foods, including a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean protein, while avoiding processed foods, caffeine, alcohol and food items/products that may contain BPA.

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