The trends of juicing and blending or cleanses, based on either one or both, seem to be everywhere you look from the Internet to late night TV commercials to primetime news organizations. They promise everything from curing cancer to weight loss, but is there any evidence to these claims? What is true? Let’s first look at what each process actually entails then at the potential benefits and drawbacks of each practice.
Juicing involves the separation of the fluid of fruits or vegetables from their fibrous material. It entails the use of a juicing machine or enlisting the use of a commercial or local juicing company. Studies show this still provides the majority of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients stored in the fruit and vegetables. It’s fairly simple if you either have a juicer or can afford buying the juices from a retailer, which we’ll talk about later.
There are no good studies specifically addressing the health benefits of juicing, but there has been some evidence showing that juicing may mimic fasting, where there has been evidence of health benefits. Of course these studies involve the Mormons, which are neither endorsed or disavowed here, and only involved one day a month, independent of other healthy lifestyles.
1. 2+2 = 4
Juicing may protect your brain from natural brain loss and protect you from diseases like Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. It’s not an apple day, but a juice a day.
2. Healthier heart
Juicing may significantly decrease the risk of developing heart disease or, if already having heart disease, having another cardiac event. Better than an apple a day.
3. No diabetes here
Some evidence shows that juicing may decrease the risk of diabetes in those with or without family history.
4. Live konger
As a population always looking to get a little extra mileage, this may be a great investment. Studies are supporting prolonged vibrant life, not the sort of hanging out on the porch in a wheelchair, but out playing golf or dancing the night away type of longevity.
1. Careful, diabetics
Even though the benefits of intermittent juicing may decrease the risk of developing diabetes, current diabetics must be careful. Juices from all or a majority of fruit will also be very high in fructose, a natural fruit sugar easily converted to glucose. Diabetics should only juice with vegetables and always in consultation with their physicians.
2. Where’s the fiber?
Juicing removes all the fibrous material from the product, which makes it much more palatable, but also less bowel friendly. Many of the benefits of fruit and vegetables comes from the fiber … Decreased sugar spikes and lower incidence of diverticulitis (if you don’t know, you don’t want to).
3. How Much?
Juicing can be very expensive. Either buying a personal juicer or choosing commercial/local juicers, the cost cannot be underplayed. This can be a nonstarter for many people and understandably so.
Blending involves breaking down fruits and vegetables using a blender of some shape and form to ease digestion and absorption of essential vitamins, minerals and proteins while keeping intact all the original nutrition from the vegetables and fruits. This process is easily accessible to anyone with a basic blender but made much more accessible with specialized machines like bullet blenders or VitaMixers.
As with juicing, there are no good studies on the good or bad of blending, but evidence abounds that blending may share the same benefits of juicing without some of the drawbacks.
1. As above…
Blending keeps all the benefits of juicing but does not eliminate fiber. Simple.
2. Enough of the fiber
As hinted above, fiber helps regulate glucose levels, decreases the risk of diverticulitis and generally allows your bowels to function in a normal and biological manner. Fiber: It’s not just for your grandparents.
3. I’m full
Again, fiber. Keeping fiber in the mix allows the body feel more satiated, decreasing hunger pains and the risk of overeating.
A blended diet simply needs a blender. Of course, having a VitaMix makes everything much simpler, but even a Hamilton blender is sufficient for blended recipes.
1. That tastes like…
No matter how hard people try, there are only so many “tasty” blended drinks. The rest, no matter how healthy, can trend from earthy to downright awful.
2. Fiber again?
With all its benefits, a sudden increase in dietary fiber from a blended diet can also cause some GI distress … notably that which cannot be discussed. However, this can dissipate with time with a consistent elevated fiber intake. Your body will adjust.
3. This is not Jamba
Blended drinks at times are very thick and can almost feel like you’re eating a thick paste, not what your mother made.
Neither juicing nor blending should be contemplated as a routine dietary plan, it can neither be sustainable on a personal nor social level nor is there any evidence that daily consistent juicing or blending is healthful. That being said, both dietary practices can be incorporated into a healthy diet. Juicing or blending on a monthly basis, one to three days a month, could provide significant health benefits.