Juicing is often done because people think it’s healthy -- a quick and efficient way to stay on top of that whole, “eat your veggies” thing. Many claim juicing helps the body absorb all the nutrients from the veggies by process of “pre-digestion,” and of course there’s the belief that juicing can promote weight loss.
But some say the popularity of juicing is an example of marketing having triumphed over science: “a wasteful form of food consumption that’s worse for you than cooking and bad for the environment,” the Daily Beast says of the $2 billion per year industry.
Indeed, drinking veggies instead of eating them has some often overlooked downsides, including loss of important nutrients and damage to the environment.
Loss of nutrients
According to the Mayo Clinic, whole fruits and vegetables have healthy fiber which is lost during juicing. Claims that the body has an easier time digesting fruits and vegetables in the form of juice are not supported by scientific evidence. The loss of this fiber can leave you feeling less full than if you’d eaten the food in its original form.
It can also be detrimental to blood sugar levels, especially if you juice fruits that are high in sugar (such as beets). Because the body needs fiber to control how fast fructose is absorbed, fruit sugars consumed without fiber can send blood sugar levels soaring.
Also lost during juicing? Fat. While this may seem like a “pro,” it’s actually a pretty big knock to the nutritional value of juice. The body needs fat to absorb vitamins (A, D, E, and K, to name a few); without fat, those vitamins don’t stick around very long.
Juicing also produces a greater amount of waste, which can take a toll on the environment. Because so few cities have a required composting program, the pulp left behind after the juice has been extracted heads straight to the landfill, where it will spend the rest of its days emitting harmful methane.
On the positive side, however, juicing can be a great way to incorporate different types of fruits and vegetables into your diet. Those who aren’t especially fond of fruits and vegetables may discover that certain juice recipes can help make produce a little more palatable.
Ultimately though, there’s a reason we have teeth: more nutrients are absorbed by eating fruits and vegetables in their original form.