WHAT’S THE JUICE ABOUT JUICING?
Stacey Yunger, Registered Dietician
New fads pop up all the time, but which ones are worth falling for is the big question? Juicing seems to be a big one right now with new stores popping up all over Montreal, but what is the deal?
According to Canada’s Food Guide women between the age of 19 and 50 should consume 7-8 portions of fruits and vegetables per day and men in the same age bracket should have 8-10. It is sometimes challenging, to meet this requirement and when planning my meals I make an effort to include 1-2 per meal. Juicing is a great way to add in a handful of servings in one shot, especially for those picky eaters. Automatically you are increasing your vitamin and mineral intake and surely you will find yourself feeling energized, especially if you are not meeting your daily requirements to begin with, but with these positive benefits there are still a few challenges.
I have overheard discussions where juicing is believed to be an easy weight loss system, but don’t be fooled, while it can be a way to cut calories it is also an easy way to sneak them in. Furthermore, calories are consumed much more rapidly in liquid versus solid form. The calories in a single juice can add up quickly if you aren’t cautious. Juicing vegetables certainly contains fewer calories than fruit. Also, if you are not making the juices yourself, I suggest questioning what goes into them as many stores add in juice concentrates. Compared to whole fruits, one serving of juice is higher in sugar and lower in fiber. To put this in perspective, a small orange contains 3g of fiber, whereas half a cup of orange juice contains less than 1 g. The fiber can be found in the pulp, which is often discarded in juice making, but there is no harm in adding it back. Benefits of consuming the fruit with fiber is steadier blood sugar levels as well as increased satiety, which is why I usually recommend whole fruits to my clients. To maximize vitamin and mineral intake and keep calories in check, try using fruits and vegetables of varying colors in a single juice.
The big question is how to incorporate juicing in to your diet. In my opinion, I don’t think this is necessary for those who eat a well balanced diet, but there is no harm in trying. Also, I would never recommend replacing whole fruits and vegetables entirely with juice either. It’s all about balance to ensure we are getting everything we need. In terms of juicing before or after working out, since juice is high in carbs and low in protein, it would definitely be better to have pre-workout as opposed to post workout. Keep in mind these are simple sugars and may not provide enough energy depending on your workout. If you choose to have a juice to boost energy post workout try including protein in the juice (nuts, seeds, yogurt, etc.). When it comes to detox, feel free to try it for a day or two, but there is no scientific evidence proving the effectiveness of detoxing in any form. Remember our bodies were created with organs to eliminate toxins from our body on a daily basis. However, juicing may be the mental preparation you need to get you back on track.
So what’s the juice about juicing anyways? There’s no harm in including it in a well balanced diet, but there is also no obligation to do so. See what works best for you!
Stacey is a registered dietician servicing the West Island community, always looking to contribute to improving the health and wellness of the Montreal population and Canadians. Her articles will be a regular feature on FITTNation Forum.
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Experience Personal Training – 5 years | Nutrition Counseling – 3 years | Group Fitness – 3 years