Friday, July 11, 2014

Juicing Demystified

I’m no doctor, but six $12 green juices per day (price being zip code dependent) seems like a rather stunning marketing ploy than a prescription for health.  Yes, I’m talking about juice cleanses.  As the former employee of a cold-pressed juicery, one might expect that I would revere juice cleanses as the Holy Grail, the utmost necessity to detoxify and reset your system.  But honestly, that’s what your liver is for, and if I say so myself has been doing a pretty decent job thus far.

What’s wrong with juice, you ask?  Well nothing except for the fact that the most popular juices tend not to be the low-calorie alkalizing green juices chock full of essential vitamins and minerals but the calorie-laden fruit juices loaded with upwards of 40+ grams of sugar, a whopping 15 grams more than the daily recommended value for an average adult.  But it’s natural!  And here’s where I must interject.  Sugars in whole fruit, a-okay because the fiber helps slow the absorption of sugar; however, juice eliminates said fiber, therefore delivering a shock to your system eerily reminiscent of a candy bar.

Don’t get me wrong; there is merit in cold-pressed juice.  Most juice bars use a hydraulic press, meaning it uses pressure to extract the juice out of raw produce that introduces very little air during the process, minimizing oxidation and nutrient degradation.  Translation?  The juice sold in stores is often more nutritious than juice made at home.  A centrifugal press, à la your Breville and most commercial juices, utilizes a fast-spinning blade that separates juice from flesh; however, in the process, the metal blade generates heat, which destroys some of the enzymes in the fruits and vegetables you’re juicing.  The heat also oxidizes those nutrients, rendering them less nutritious.

Now don’t get your panties all up in a bunch.  Some vegetables are better than no vegetables, so if you prefer the convenience of drinking your greens, by all means keep it up.  But recognize there are limits to the claims that juicing will excavate your system, prompt people to ask you if you're "okay" because your collarbones now meet the light of day or cure cancer (honestly, I had a customer tell me she received negative test results and asked if juicing was the solution...).  Most weight loss is water weight that will return immediately upon the reintroduction of solid foods.  That said, if a juice cleanse is what you need to jumpstart a healthy regimen that includes making better nutritional choices and exercising –long term benefits that do not include bankrupting yourself for a 3-day cleanse- I'm all for it.
Signing off,
Dr. Otis
Note: A juice to supplement your daily nutrition is markedly different than thinking that a 3 or 5-day juice cleanse will magically create glowing skin or lose 20 pounds.

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