Juicing? Pros and Cons — a reader asks

A new reader posted this question earlier this week.

What is your opinion on juicing”? A friend who has been following this regime for over six months looks and feels remarkably better. Cleveland Clinic reviews online (See link below), in regards to the purported nutrient claims, are tepid.

My trusty old Jack LaLanne juicer that is now resting in my basement

My response: Just saw your question about juicing. When I first got started with 100% plant-based eating almost nine years ago, I did a lot of juicing. And I continued that habit for about four years; gradually, my juicing became less frequent. Then, about a year ago, I put my juicer in the basement. Why?

I got tired of throwing away perfectly good food in the form of pulp (fiber) that could not be turned into juice. Not wanting to waste food, or fiber, I just decided to forego the tedious daily process of juicing. Also, my daily consumption of whole, plant-based foods has improved greatly since I first started, so I no longer feared not getting enough nutrients.

Nowadays, I gladly accept fresh juice if offered to me, but don’t go out of my way to prepare it myself. I think juicing is great for certain vegetables where you can get a ton of nutrients without having to eat a mountain of greens. The old axiom I learned was “Eat your fruit, juice your veggies.” Here’s what doctors Oz and Roizen had to say in the Cleveland Clinic article:

Throwing fruits and veggies into a whirring juicer spells death for much of their fiber. That’s because the pulpy fiber is trapped when the juice is extracted. Now, we aren’t opposed to juicing in moderation. And we’re crazy about our own healthy smoothies. But we eat most of our fruits and vegetables whole.

Despite claims to the contrary in TV ads, juicing doesn’t make nutrients more available to your body, and raw-food enzymes don’t have special powers, including the ability to survive your stomach’s digestive acids. In fact, if you have diabetes or are overweight, know that ounce for ounce, fruit and starchy vegetable juices are far higher in sugar than the whole foods they come from.

Our bottom line: It’s fine to occasionally drink your fruits and veggies, as long as you eat them often, too.

Leveraging the simple, yet powerful concept of maximizing the percent of your calories from whole plant foods — still in nature’s package

My bottom line.  I tend to agree with the docs at the Cleveland Clinic. Since I stopped juicing, I have noticed nothing negative in my health. But, of course, I eat at the 4-Leaf level almost every day — deriving over 80% of my calories from whole, plant-based foods, still in nature’s package. The other 20% includes any bread, pasta, tofu or wine that I might consume — and maybe an occasional piece of cheese or meat when I am a guest in someone’s home.

While I didn’t mention juicing in our book a single time, I certainly think that if you don’t mind the tedious, sometimes messy, process; then it can be great part of any near-optimal diet. I have not heard Esselstyn, Campbell or any of my other “veggie docs” advocating a great deal of juicing. Many of them, especially Dr. Fuhrman, are big on “smoothies” from the VitaMix, where none of the fiber is lost. You might enjoy this recent post. FIBER. How much should we be eating?

Authors J. Stanfield Hicks and J. Morris Hicks , working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

If you like what you see here, you may wish to join our periodic mailing list. Also, for help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4-Leaf page. From the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

If you’d like to order our book on Amazon,  visit our BookStore now.

—J. Morris Hicks…blogging daily at HealthyEatingHealthyWorld.com

Juicing robs fruits and vegetables of fiber: You Docs | cleveland.com.

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About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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2 Responses to Juicing? Pros and Cons — a reader asks

  1. Elizabeth says:

    I am new to juicing (since December) and have been trying many new vegetables. I have not typically ever eaten enough vegetables. I read your comments and agree with you about the waste of throwing away all the pulp fiber. Has anyone ever tried to use it in muffins or anything? I want the greatest benefit from juicing.

  2. Michelle says:

    Actually, Dr. Fuhrman does believe there is a place for juicing, primarily green juices, in a healthy diet. In his Eat for Health book, his recommendations for Phase 4, the most high-nutrient stage, include “Eat a blended salad or vegetable juice at least three times per week.” And, his protocol for people dealing with cancer and auto-immune diseases includes daily juicing, especially of cruciferous vegetables. That said, in his Eat to Live book, he does advise that juicing should not replace eating your vegetables; it is a supplement to a healthy diet.

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