Between juice bars and high-powered home juicing machines, drinking your fruits and veggies has certainly gone mainstream.
Depending on the specific mixes you sip — a vegetable blend, for instance — juice can be a filling snack when you’re on the go. But is juicing a way to lose weight and boost health?
Some juicing proponents claim that your body can better absorb nutrients in juice form. But there’s no scientific evidence of this — or that drinking only the juice of a fruit or vegetable is any healthier than eating the fruit or vegetable itself.
Another claim is that juicing gives your system a break from digesting fiber. But the fact is that most Americans fail to get enough fiber in their daily diet.
There’s also a lot of talk about juicing to get rid of toxins. But many health experts say the body removes toxins on its own.
Juices may have some long-term health benefits — grapefruit, lemon, celery and red grape juices have all been the subject of research. But while experts agree that juices are a good way to get more fruits and vegetables into your diet, they shouldn’t be the only source of nutrients, as in a juice fast. No juice is a weight-loss miracle, and fruit juice in particular can cause spikes in blood sugar. Some fruit-based smoothies can also contain hundreds of calories.
If you like making your own juice blends, prepare only as much as you can drink at one time — harmful bacteria can develop quickly. And if you’re in the market for a new juicer, choose one that juices the entire fruit, or else add the pulp back in, to get needed fiber.
Learn more about the pros and cons of juicing at Nutrition.gov.