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With juice bars popping up in almost every city these days, juicing seems to be the new health nut go-to. People are trying out juice cleanses to shed pounds, detox, or just add a nutrient-packed snack to their diets.

If you’re interested in trying out juicing or a juice cleanse, it’s important to understand the purpose of juicing, its benefits, and the best way for you to incorporate juice into your diet.

What Is Juicing?

In essence, juicing is extracting the juice from whole fruits and veggies. Some people may wonder why it has become so popular in the past few years, especially since we can simply purchase ready-made fruit and veggie juices at the store. The nutrients in the store-bought juices, however, are nowhere near the quantity or quality of those in fresh homemade juices made from whole (and if possible, organic) fruits and vegetables, because the nutrients in store-bought have been pasteurized. Juicing allows the preservation of the natural vitamins, minerals and enzymes of the raw produce.1

It’s also a great way for people who are not big fans of fruits and veggies to get their recommended six to eight servings a day. For example, people who do not like beets can juice the beets together with fruits and berries, and receive the nutrients found in beets (potassium, iron, vitamin C), and enjoy at the same time.

Benefits of Juicing

Juicing allows pre-digestion, or the immediate absorption of all of the nutrients from produce. Plus, juicing provides versatility in vegetables because it helps people to enjoy more veggies they may not typically like to eat whole.

Juicing can aid in the digestive process and give it a little break, because it takes less energy to digest the produce as a liquid than as solid foods, which take many hours after consumption to deliver optimal nourishment to the body.2

It can also help in raising the pH balance in our bodies, and in turn, help to protect us from conditions related to acidic imbalances, including heart and kidney disease, osteoporosis, and diabetes.3

How to Juice In A Healthy Way

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Most dietitians do not recommend a juicing-only weight loss plan because the lack of fiber and protein in juices often leaves us hungry, and at risk for losing too much muscle mass.4 However, a healthy way to juice for fat loss is to combine juicing with a balanced nutrition plan, because the body needs more than the nutrients fruits and vegetables provide.

Make sure to factor in the calories from the juice as a part of your overall diet. One ounce of juice usually contains about 15 calories. Also, the pulp leftover from juicing is actually where all of the healthy fiber is hiding, and it can be recycled into soups, rice dishes, pasta sauces, muffins, and even crackers (See: Juice Pulp Cracker Recipe). If you’re set on drinking your meal, combine the juice into a smoothie, by blending the pulp, nut butter or avocado for healthy fats, and Greek yogurt for protein.5

Popular Juicers and Juice Recipes6

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Amazon.com’s top selling juicers range in price, starting at $49.99 for the Hamilton Beach Juice Extractor, jumping to $99.95 for the Breville Compact Juice Fountain, and reaching $299.00 for Breville Juice Fountain Elite. It is obviously important to find one that makes sense for your budget, but also be sure to pick a juicer with high voltage consumption and one with inner blades that are evenly spread out, to get the most juice from your fruits and veggies. Also, make sure to check and see if all of the juicer’s parts are break resistant and if replacement parts are available for purchase later.

When you’re ready, turn on your juicer and try out these tasty recipes:

Vegetable Juice Recipe

  • Ingredients: 4 medium asparagus spears, 3 large carrots, and 2 large celery stalks.
  • Directions: Process all ingredients in the juicer, shake, and serve.
  • Nutrition Facts: 62 calories, 0.57 g fat, 9.65 g sugar, 3.01 g protein

Fruit Juice Recipe:

  • Ingredients: 1 c blackberries, 1 kiwifruit, 1 pear, 30 peppermint leaves, ¼ of peeled and cored pineapple
  • Directions: Process all ingredients in the juicer, shake, and serve.
  • Nutrition Facts: 177 calories, 1.12 g fat, 37.01 g sugar, 3.3 g protein

If you decide to give juicing a try, let us know how you did it and how your experience was with a comment.

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12 Comments

  1. profile avatar
    Madelen Jul 30, 2013 - 11:34 #

    I would like to ask if it is ok to juice fruits and veggies in one time…every morning I juice veggies and I put green grapes, berries, orange and apple..sometimes papaya and/or pineapple. Veggies that I juice Kale, Spinach, celery, coriander, ginger, carrots…is this ok? After I juice all these I blend my juice with protein powder…I exercise every day with cardio and weights.

    Thanks for your feedback

    Madelen

    1. profile avatar
      Caroline Jul 31, 2013 - 15:42 #

      Hi Madelen! Thanks for reading- Fruits and veggies actually require different digestive processes, so it’s best not to mix everything together (but all fruits can mix with all other fruits– and same with veggies). However, things like lettuce and celery can be mixed with fruit or veggies and you can put an apple in a vegetable juice if you need to sweeten it up. Hope that helps.

      1. profile avatar
        Greg Aug 02, 2013 - 17:21 #

        Different digestive processes? Please do explain this, as am of the understanding that nutrient absorption of the small intestine, is just that… The microvilli are just a thin crossover membrane to the capillary beds throughout the small intestine. Whether nutrients from fruits or vegetables, this digestive process is the same. Separation of different nutrients may take slightly longer, but that is one of the many reasons that our gastrointestinal system is set up the way it is, long and convoluted. What nutrients aren’t taken up quickly, will be taken up later on prior to the ascending colon.

      2. profile avatar
        Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Aug 02, 2013 - 17:54 #

        @Greg – coincidentally, we have a post on Monday about food combining. From what Charlie Seltzer, MD was able to gather, there is no evidence that combining various foods affects digestion etc. I want to send an email to him to confirm a couple things, but will speak to caroline/charlie about it. Thanks for your participation.

  2. profile avatar
    Jon Lehan Jul 30, 2013 - 13:05 #

    Hi,

    I’m confused about this idea of ‘juicing’. Although I see the benefits of being able to incorporate a lot of fruits and veg into your diet much more easily, I have also heard many negatives.
    For example, once you juice the fruit or veg you lose a lot of the nutrients as it is not a whole food?
    It is not possible to eat a huge amount of one fruit or veg in one sitting so how can it be good for the body when it is juiced up to make it easier?
    Is there any value to the diets such as Juice Plus?

    Cheers.

  3. profile avatar
    Caroline Jul 31, 2013 - 15:46 #

    Hi Jon, there are several juice diets such as Juice Plus and it really depends on your health background and your individual nutritional needs. It’s best to speak with your dietitian and/or doctor before trying an all-juice diet of any kind for any reason.

    I don’t think it is necessarily “making it easier” to consume the fruits and veggies, it is just providing fruits and veggies in a liquid form. It’s great for people who don’t have lots of time to cook vegetables and need to eat on the run or quickly. As stated in my article, Juicing allows pre-digestion, or the immediate absorption of all of the nutrients from produce.

    And as far as losing key nutrients, you are right. Also stated in my article: the pulp leftover from juicing is actually where all of the healthy fiber is hiding, and it can be recycled into soups, rice dishes, pasta sauces, muffins, and even crackers. If you’re set on drinking your meal, combine the juice into a smoothie, by blending the pulp, nut butter or avocado for healthy fats, and Greek yogurt for protein.

    Hope that helps!

  4. profile avatar
    Kasha Jul 31, 2013 - 20:38 #

    Just want to say I enjoyed your article. The clarity in your
    post is just great and i can assume you did solid research on the subject.
    Well let me to grab your RSS feed to keep updated with forthcoming post.

    Thanks a million and please keep up the enjoyable work.

  5. profile avatar
    David Aug 02, 2013 - 01:52 #

    I actually only like to blend the fruits together, but I guess I can start using a bit of veggies too

  6. profile avatar
    Olivia Aug 08, 2013 - 02:47 #

    Thank you for this article! I live in Hollywood where there is a juice bar on every corner and on every street and even a part of the menu at regular restaurants! I’ve seen a lot of people go on dangerous juice cleanses and lemonade diets out here, only to lose a lot of hard earned lean muscle mass and not only gain back the water weight they lost, but gain double and even triple the amount of weight lost while juicing. I think juicing as part of an otherwise balanced diet is great! I stick mainly to green juices to avoid the high sugar content of the fruit containing juices unless it is immediately post a boot-camp like workout!

  7. profile avatar
    Anna Dawson Aug 08, 2013 - 04:52 #

    My kids love smoothies! Instead of rice milk we use So Delicious Almond milk because it has 5g of protein as opposed to rice milk which has almost no protein. Thanks for some new ideas to try out with them!

  8. profile avatar
    E.J. Aug 08, 2013 - 05:50 #

    I’m glad you included the part about juice-only diets not being heavily favored by doctors or dieticians. People are so focused on the weight loss aspect of juicing that it blinds them to the fact that juicing is a really easy and convenient way to ensure you’re getting the proper amount of fruits and vegetables in your diet.

    Most people don’t eat the proper amount of fruits and veggies. People with busy lifestyles often eat things out of convenience and it leaves nutrition needs unmet. Just adding casual juicing to such a diet can balance things out pretty fast. Overall, a good read, Caroline.

  9. profile avatar
    Rich Aug 09, 2013 - 08:13 #

    Good article – one thing of importance to note is that lots of nutrients are destroyed from cooking vegetables with the heat being the culprit. In the morning I juice (only organic) about 5 Carrots,1 beet, 1 broccoli, 1 tomato, 1 apple – and switch from a bunch of dandelion, kale, swiss chard, etc for the leafy green which usually comes to just shy of 24 oz.. My jaw would break if I attempted to eat all of that while my stomach would likely push it back up – leaving me with a daily nutrient deficit. Afterwards I’ll still prepare my 5 egg omelette w/cheese to ensure I am taking in protein as well with canned wild salmon and raw milk throughout the day. I don’t really juice fruits because the fiber and other nutrients in the skins are lost – besides, how refreshing and enjoyable are a pint of cold blueberries and fresh blackberries on a hot afternoon?

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