Do you juice vegetables and fruits for health? Or do you still prefer soft drinks?

As we’ve become more aware of healthier food & beverage options, soft drink sales have declined and the juicing trend has boomed. Many celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Alicia Silverstone, and Ryan Seacrest are also promoting the practice.

Juicing, which is different from blending, involves extracting just the liquid from fruits and vegetables – hence the term “juicing.” The juice helps quench thirst and provides the body with many nutrients, but you may wonder how healthy juicing really is.

Juicing for Health

The foremost benefit of juicing is that it gives your body a good dose of what it needs: nutrients including enzymes, minerals and antioxidants. At the same time it only gives you a minimal or zero dose of ingredients that your body doesn"t need, such as excess sugar, fructose, artificial sweeteners, fats, and salt, which are common ingredients in nearly all processed beverages.

Weight Loss

A strict juicing program can help you lose weight within days due to a reduced carbohydrate intake, which translates into fewer calories and less water retention. Many juicing programs, however, are very low in protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats. Jucing instead of eating can result in muscle tissue as well as fat loss, leading to a slower metabolism and decreased energy.

Irony of Juicing

One of the major drawbacks to juicing is that it eliminates the fiber from fruits and vegetables unless you retain the pulp; juicing machines separate the fiber from the juice that you drink, in a bin that is usually discarded. Unfortunately, the chemistry of high carbs (if you juice lots of fruit), low protein and low fiber can spike your blood sugar, causing headache, fatigue and moodiness. Additionally, juicing does not give you a sense of being full the way meals do – much of that signal, called “satiety,” comes from the bulk effect of fiber in the stomach.

Weighing the Evidence

Juicing is not needed to detox the body, contrary to marketing claims. Your immune system already takes care of removing toxins from your body. Buying a juicer can also be pricey if you’re cost conscious. But juicing can be a significant source of additional nutrients if you tend to favor pre-packaged, non-whole foods: it’s a lot easier to drink a glass of freshly juiced produce than to eat an armful of greens and fruits.

Family Health Care


Peter Kim, MD

Dr. Kim,  is the Medical Director of Family Care Centers, Former Chair of the Department of Family Medicine at Hoag Hospital, and a recipient of the Physicians of Excellence award from the Orange County Medical Association. He is Board Certified in Family Medicine, and has been practicing in our community for over 20 years. He is an excellent, caring, and well­qualified physician who is dedicated to providing you with superior health care. A native of Los Angeles, he graduated from UCLA and received his medical training at the LAC­USC Medical Center. After completing his residency in Family Medicine, he accepted a sports medicine fellowship at San Jose Medical Center, an affiliate of Stanford University. He enjoys working with patients and families who are training or want to get back into an active lifestyle. Review Dr. Kim on: Facebook Google+ Yelp WebMD

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