Juicing fruit and vegetables is a popular way to get a get a quick ‘health fix’, but does come with the downside that they are less filling than eating the solid foods in the first place.
Eating more fruit and vegetables is the foundation stone of any healthy diet. One popular way to consume them is through juices. The one clear downside from drinking fruit and vegetables compared to eating them is the loss of fibre and other nutrients found in the skin and pulp. Juices though can be a quick, convenient and tasty way to get some of the health benefits of fruit and vegetables which is certainly better than not eating them at all.
One other potential downside to drinking rather than eating fruits and vegetables, is that the juice may not be as filling as eating solid food. It is also easier to drink the equivalent of many pieces of fruit in a few seconds when eating the same amount would take a lot longer, meaning there is more chance of over-consuming unneeded kilojoules.
1. Vegetable juices contain less sugar than fruit juices.
Fruit juices are tasty because they contain a higher concentration of natural sugars that – although better than artificial sugars – can easily spike your blood sugar. If I’m craving some natural sweetness, it’s better for me to bite into one whole, raw fruit (get your fiber!) than to drink the equivalent of ten in a fruit juice.
2.Vegetable juices retain nutrients that can be lost in the cooking process.
There are certainly ways to cook vegetables in order to retain more nutrients and minerals, such as blanching or steaming. In the home-juicing process, however, applying less heat (most juicing machines produce heat through friction) for a shorter duration of time best encourages nutrient retention…so I can get more “bang” for my buck per vegetable!
3. Vegetable juices allow access to nutrients in "not-so-munchable" veggies.
Eating a carrot or cucumber is enjoyable for me, whereas eating fibrous celery or fennel or a bunch of parsley is not as much. These are vegetables I enjoy juicing, especially since they add wonderful flavor, nutrients, and even beautiful color to my “green juice.”
4. Vegetable juices offer a way to use extra or old veggie parts.
We love to do my best to use all parts of the produce we have, but some days we just don’t feel so creative. When making a vegetable juice, we can easily throw in some extra and/or wilted greens, some not-so-pretty carrots, or a bit of ginger that may be dry. Clean out that fridge!
5. Vegetable juices are generally more alkaline than fruit juices.
Vegetables serve us better in balancing our body’s pH, which requires more alkali-forming foods for the purpose of fighting off disease and other stressors. As always, there are exceptions to this, as lemons and limes, melons, mangos, and apples also have high alkalizing properties. A juice of purely the aforementioned fruits would be very high in sugar, but adding a few of these fruits into a juice with more vegetables is ideal, not to mention delicious!
Juicing vs Eating
To see if juices can lead to differences on appetite and later food consumption compared to solid food, 34 healthy lean and overweight people took part in a 21-week study. At different stages in the study, each person consumed a similar amount of fruit and vegetables (1680 kJ in total) daily in either solid (raw) form or as juices. No other changes to the participants’ diets were made.
When tested in a food laboratory, people who were overweight reported being significantly hungrier after a standard meal when consuming the juice in the lead up to it, compared to when they ate whole fruit. The post-meal hunger feelings of people of a healthy body weight where unaffected by the form of the fruit they consumed.
Having fruit in either solid or juice form before a meal though did mean less of the following meal was eaten, which is to be expected. Where it gets interesting though is that significantly less food was eaten in the meal by people who ate solid fruit before the test meal compared to those that had the juice.