The notion that drinking juice is one of the easiest ways to improve your health is difficult to ignore. Fitness aficionados are constantly seen with a green liquid in hand, and juice shops are nearly as common as coffee shops in urban areas.
While juice may be particularly beneficial for people who don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables, the scientific community remains skeptical as to whether juice is truly deserving of its newfound popularity.
The Importance Of Solid Foods
A recent paper published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology points out that juice lacks dietary fiber, which supports healthy digestion and keeps you feeling full for longer periods of time. This explains why someone who eats the same amount of food as another person drinks will feel more full.
“While your body likes the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants [in juice], juices lack fiber and don’t require chewing, so they’re less satiating than whole produce,” New York City-based dietitian Cynthia Sass told Time.
Fiber also plays a huge role in the weight-loss functionality of fruits and vegetables. There is reportedly little if any data proving that drinking more juice, whether it comes from fruits or vegetables, helps you lose weight or burn fat.
This is likely because when fiber is taken out of the equation, you are no less likely to over-eat. In fact, you’re probably bound to over-eat no matter what you consume if fiber is not included.
Smoothies > Juice?
Sass actually favors smoothies over juices because they contain whole fruits or vegetables, which means you’re not losing any fiber.
I’m a fan of smoothies made with reasonable portions of whole vegetables and fruit, combined with a healthy protein, like plant-based protein powder, and wholesome fat, such as avocado or almond butter,” she added.
More Myths To Debunk
Proponents of the juice trend might say that juices rid the body of “toxins” but there’s no evidence behind this claim, and the body apparently removes toxins just fine on its own. One thing that some juices can do, on the other hand, is cleanse the colon like a laxative.
But according Dr. Antoinette Saddler of George Washington University, advertising juices as colon cleanses suggests that simply having stool inside of your body is unhealthy.
“The idea that stool is somehow poisonous and toxic is very misguided thinking. Keeping the colon healthy is one of stool's various health benefits,” Dr. Saddler told the New York Times in 2016.
Should You Drink Less Juice?
While juice might not be the health miracle it’s marketed as on social media, there’s likely no reason it cannot fit into a balanced diet. It seems that experts are just bothered by the over-emphasis of something that shouldn’t be viewed as anything more than a snack. They recommend that people who are concerned about their health should instead stick to the facts, and that’s that the diets that are linked to a decreased risk of diabetes, heart disease and obesity all tend to have one thing in common: high fiber.