Juicing is a hot and healthy trend right now. Juice machines are more popular now than ever and, according to Barron’s, more than 6,200 juice bars are now churning out swamp-colored elixirs across the country. Starbucks spent $30 million to acquire Evolution Fresh, a cold-crafted juice operation, hoping to capitalize on this healthy lifestyle trend.
In my city, there seems to be a new juice bar opening up every month. Some health experts claim juicing is better for you than eating whole fruits and vegetables because the body can absorb the nutrients better and it gives the digestive system a rest from working on the fiber.
Actually, there’s no scientific evidence that extracted juices are healthier than the juice you get by eating the fruit or vegetable itself.
Most juicing machines leave behind, or completely annihilate the pulp, which is chock-full of vitamins, minerals and needed fiber. For example, one orange (with pulp) contains approximately 30 MG of vitamin C but if you make orange juice with that same orange (without the pulp,) the fluid will contain only 18 MG of vitamin C. Everyone’s heard the saying, “An apple a day helps keep the doctor away.” There’s a lot of truth to that.
Apples contain a gamut of health enhancing ingredients, one of them being phytosterols which reduce inflammation, help lower cholesterol, prevent heart disease and support a healthy immune system. Evidence also suggests that phytosterols activate pancreatic beta cells for improved insulin production. One cup of apples contain 15.0 MG of phytosterols. One cup of apple juice contains zero MG of phytosterols. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with “anti-oxidant” properties which fight off free radicals in the environment that lead to disease.
Also, the sugar levels in fruit juice can cause a significant spike in blood sugar levels, increasing the risk of hyperglycemia. Eating the same fruit will have a much less blood sugar surge because its fiber content slows the release of sugar.
The antioxidant value of food is measured by using ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) units, a measurement for antioxidants developed by the National Institute on Aging, a division of the National Institutes of Health. The higher the ORAC number, the higher the antioxidants in that particular food.
One example of the marked difference between juicing versus eating can be found when looking at the ORAC value of cranberries.
The difference in ORAC measurement of raw cranberries is 9,090, compared to cranberry juice, which measures only 1,452 . There’s no denying it, juicing just doesn’t offer the nutritional benefits of eating raw fruits and vegetables.
In my book, Food Sanity, I share a conversation I had with the man whose name has become synonymous with juicing; the late great Jack Lelanne. Known as “The Godfather of Fitness, ” and world-renowned nutritional expert, he was the creator of the “Juice Tiger” and “The Jack Lelanne Power Juicer.” He died at the age of 96, still healthy and active until the very end!
Jack lived long and vibrantly, and inspired millions of people to make positive health choices, to lose weight and stay in shape. I had the honor of chatting with him at a convention I attended in Ohio. I asked Mr. Lelanne if he really preferred juicing his fruits and vegetables over eating them? He replied, “Eating fruits and vegetables is vital because they contain healthy fiber and pulp which are removed during the juicing process.” He went on to tell me he never discarded the pulp remnants after juicing but instead, used them to make homemade bread, soups, fresh sherbet and muffins.