Should you be joining in the juicing trend? Before you splash out on the latest gadget and a trolley-full of fruit, weigh up the pros and cons.
• Health experts agree we should consume more fruit and veg. Juicing can help boost intake, especially if you don’t enjoy eating them whole.
• A small glass of juice counts as one of your five-a-day. However it is worth noting that the Department of Health says the lack of fibre in juice means it only counts as one portion, no matter how much you drink.
• Drinking juice helps to keep you hydrated.
• Raw fruit and veg are often higher in certain nutrients than cooked ones. Vitamins such as vitamin C and folate are reduced when fruit and veg are cooked, so juicing can preserve this goodness.
• Juicing is an easy way to boost intakes of certain nutrients. Citrus fruits, kiwis, berries and tomatoes top up vitamin C levels. Red, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables provide beta-carotene and green leafy veg are packed with B vitamin folate. Juices are also an easy way to top up antioxidants. These help destroy free radicals, which can damage healthy cells and increase the risk of conditions such as heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
• The jury’s out on whether juicing offers health benefits over whole fruit and veg – little research solely covers juicing.
• Juicing may mean we get fewer nutrients. Many vitamins and minerals are concentrated in or near the skin, which is often discarded.
• Not all claims about the benefits of juicing are true. There’s no evidence our bodies absorb nutrients from juice more easily, or that juicing is cleansing or detoxing.
• Juice diets are a fad – yes, drinking only juice will shift pounds because you’ll be significantly cutting calories, but once you start eating normally again, the weight will go back on.
• Juices are high in calories. A piece of fruit contains around 50–60 calories, but juices often contain around four pieces, so that’s four times the calories. Plus, research shows liquids aren’t as filling as solids, so you may still feel hungry after drinking juice – and take in even more calories.
• Fruit and some veg are high in naturally occurring sugars (fructose). A carrot has 7g, an apple 9g, an orange 14g and a mango 21g – the maximum you should have in a day is 90g.
• Drinking only juice will leave you lacking in nutrients, such as protein, calcium and iron.
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*Weight-loss results will vary and are down to your individual circumstances and the amount of weight you have to lose.