Experts disagree over health benefits of juicing

by | Apr 4, 2014 | Life

Karina Nowysz
Life Reporter

Juicing fruits and vegetables may seem like a refreshing way to get daily nutrients, despite the debate among experts whether the process is actually healthy.

Juicing is an easy way to get lots of fruits and vegetables into one serving but according to the American Cancer Society, there is no scientific evidence that extracted juices are healthier than whole foods.

“It’s better to eat your fruit and vegetable than to drink your fruit and vegetable,” said Karen Balko, a registered dietitian.

People get lots of nutrition condensed into one glass but it’s better to foster a balanced diet then to rely on a condensed form of food, said Balko.

The skin and peel on fruits and vegetables is nutrient-rich, which is lost during juicing said Sarah Coulson, a registered dietitian and an instructor at Humber.

Another downside to juicing is that the pulp is left behind, which has fibre.

“When we chew fruits and veggies, the accompanying fibre that would be removed during juicing ends up in the large intestine where it is dined-upon by healthy bacteria,” said Coulson. “I am pro-fibre and juiced fruits and veggies contain very little.”

On the contrasting side, Caroline Dupont, a holistic health and nutrition author said juicing is a way to supplement your diet.

“In an ideal world if we lived stress-free and we had good quality food available we wouldn’t need to juice,” she said.

“Right now it’s the perfect antidote,” said Dupont. “The foods that we are eating are grown in depleted soils and we are eating nutrition depleted foods.”

It’s instant energy to the body because it doesn’t take a lot of work for your body to break it down, said Tara Miller, a holistic nutritionist and health educator.

Other nutritionists have said, however, that juicing is not easier to digest.

Hard-core “juicists” will say that fruit and veggie juice contain enzymes to do the body good, explained Coulson.

“But this isn’t well-supported by the science,” she said.

“These enzymes wouldn’t survive the harsh acidity of the stomach,” said Coulson, adding an upside does exist.

“For those folks who tend to skip their eight to 10 (servings), juicing may be the answer to getting some of those harder to sell veggies like kale, beets and spinach,” said Coulson.