Many people believe fruit juices are a mega dose of nutrients and vitamins, which would be more difficult to consume if eaten in whole fruits in one meal. In this article by the word "juice" I mean the real fresh squeezed juice and not the one you can buy in a store, which by all means is not a juice anymore but a highly processed sugary beverage. Yes, even those called "100% juice" and displayed in a refrigerator, but this is a different topic. Let's stick to the question of how beneficial is the real fresh squeezed juice for you.
There are thousands of books about juice diets and lots of groups on Facebook where people who live on juices alone or mostly on juices. I asked in one of the biggest juice groups, what is the reason they are on this kind of diet. The majority of answers I received were, "It cleanses my body." "I receive a concentrated dose of vitamins." "It's lighter for body than the whole fruit or vegetable." In this article I want to share my subjective opinion about juices and why I believe juices are not the best way to receive nutrients. I will also give you an example of a very healthy juice in my opinion.
Between the years of 2003 through 2007, Jean Welsh, an associate professor at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, conducted a study on 13,440 men and women who were stroke patients. All the participants were asked to report on how many sugar-sweetened drinks and juices they consumed. In about six years, 1,168 of the participants died. On May 17, 2007 Jean Welsh published the report in JAMA Network Open stating that those who drank the most sugar-sweetened beverages, including 100% fruit juice, had higher odds of dying early, compared with those who drank the least of these. Moreover, each additional 12-ounce drink increased the risk even more.
Today most people understand that soft drinks and sweetened beverages, including energy drinks and fruit punch are responsible for weight gain and other bad side effects on health. But fruit juices are still widely believed to be a healthy option for sweet drinks. Fruit-based smoothies are not better options because what people don't realize is that smoothies are very high in calories and I would not recommend them as daily beverages. Vegetable juice is a lower-calorie alternative to fruit juice, but if you choose wrong ingredients it may contain a lot of salt, which can also be unhealthy for people with blood pressure issues and for those with weaker kidneys. Some vegetable juices can also increase sugar not any less than fruit juice would do, and some have so much salt in them that will cause swelling of internal organs.
Consuming fruit juices, same as sugary vegetable juices (such as carrots, beets, pumpkin and others) cause a significant spike in blood sugar, compared with people who eat the same fruit whole.
There is such a thing, which very few people are aware of, called NET sugar. NET sugar is the one which is removed from our body with fiber and does not get absorbed. For instance, a medium size orange has 17 g of sugar, 10 g of these are NET sugar, which means that if you eat the whole fruit, the 10 g of it will not be absorbed by your body and will leave it with the orange fiber. If you juice the same orange, your body will consume all 17 g and cause a spike in blood sugar. The same thing can say about vegetables. 100 g of broccoli has 7 g of sugar, 4 g of which are NET and will not get absorbed by our body if eaten whole. If we juice broccoli, all 7 g will go into our blood. Vegetables are very high on NET sugar. On an image attached you can see the way you can calculate NET sugar yourself, just looking at your food label.
The only juices I personally approve are the ones that are close to the composition of our lymph, which is a fluid containing white blood cells. Because such juices work on us like water, while bring nutrients and do not harm with salt and sugar. But probably other than benefiting our blood, there is nothing else you can get from them. Quite frankly you can have exactly the same result by simply mixing 1 tsp of honey in 1 cup of water. It will be also remarkably close to our lymph and do just the same as the juice ingredients I provide below.
Here is an example of juice I myself find as particularly good and is one of a very few that I myself would drink and approve for others:
A bunch of parsley
A bunch of cilantro
3-4 leaves of kale
About 2 inches of ginger root
A lot of arugula. I cannot even say how much. Just put as much as you have :). It makes the juice taste so good. I love it.
1-2 green apples of medium size
Green or red bell pepper
*Sometimes a tomato just for taste or pumpkin but it is rare because these are sugary.
This juice provides a lot of fluid for our body and saturates it. It also has zero salt and little sugar. You can skip green apples to make it close to zero sugar.
I would also like to comment on the controversy around mixing fruits and vegetables in one juice/smoothie. There is no scientific evidence to support the belief that fruits, and vegetables should not be mixed together.
Nonetheless, some people do seem to have difficulty with combined fruits and vegetables, complaining of gassy discomfort. If you are one of these people, avoid mixing fruits and vegetables. Exceptions to this rule appear to be carrots and apples, as these foods seem to be able to mix with either fruits or vegetables. Let your body and taste buds be your guide.
I believe that we are all energy beings and whatever we eat, or drink should give us energy and make us feel whole. It means that we need to pay close attention to what is happening to our body after we eat or drink something. If someone does not like juices, they should never force themselves to drink juice because it means it's not their food and it will not be a medicine for them but actually will hurt more than help. I believe very much that if you enjoy something and believe it is for your good, then your body will accept it and use in the right way.