With summer just around the corner (although let’s be honest, this is the UK we’re talking about…) it’s time diet culture reared its ugly head again. You’ve probs already seen the headlines about juice cleanses and detoxes that promise to cure all your aliments PLUS help you lose a million kilos, right? Yep, us too - and although they may be very enticing and advertised as the holy grail of healthy eating, we wanna know how good is juicing for your gut.
Well, we’ve pulled in the professionals – our nutritionist Yasmin – to give us a bit more insight into what’s happening on the inside…
THE BIG SQUEEZE: WHAT IS JUICING?
If you’re not familiar with juicing, here’s the lowdown: fruits and vegetables are placed through a juicer, as opposed to a blender, which extracts the liquid from the produce, and discards the fibrous pulp. If you’ve ever made your own juice, you were probably as shocked as we were to see how much fruit & veg is put into a machine to produce just a shot glass of the good stuff.
What’s the difference between these juice cleanses & a simple glass of OJ, we hear you ask? Let us delve deeper…
TIME TO CONCENTRATE: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY
THE GOOD: Juicing isn’t all bad – it can be an easy* way to increase the amount and range of vitamins and minerals in your diet, as these remain within the juice. Certain fruits and vegetables are also very hydrating, so this may be beneficial, especially in hotter weather. Take note though – these benefits are only if the juice is an addition to your usual diet as opposed to replacing meals or snacks. The key here is addition – let’s not be subtracting anything.
(*by easy, we mean a totally labour intensive & time consuming but also kinda delicious way.)
THE BAD: Our big issue with juicing is discarding the pulp from fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, by doing this, you’re waving goodbye to all the fibre found naturally within the whole foods. We should be aiming to consume a minimum of 30g of fibre a day, so although you may obtain extra nutrients, you’ll miss out on fibre. Swapping juices to smoothies is a great way to keep that pulp in there – boosting your fibre intake & making these drinks a little more fulfilling.
THE UGLY: Fruits and vegetables are a source of naturally occurring sugars. When we eat whole fruits and vegetables, we are consuming the fibre, which helps to slow down the release of these sugars into the bloodstream. However, when juicing them instead, the sugars are released into the bloodstream at a much faster rate, all thanks to the lack of fibre. When juicing, it’s super easy to drink the sugar from 4-5 oranges in one juice - but we’re much less likely to eat them all in one sitting. Of course fruit sugars aren’t the enemy, but if you’re a gut health fanatic like us then you’ll want to look at the bigger picture too.
JUICING FOR YOUR GUT?
Ever heard that celery juice can cure IBS and digestive discomfort? Well, there is currently no scientific evidence to suggest celery juice, or any other juice, will cure any health conditions. And we’ll stick to the facts here.
Whilst freshly made juice may add some additional gut lovin’ vitamins and minerals to the diet (such as vitamins A and K), your gut could probably benefit more from the added fibre that the juices discard. Also, it is worth noting that the beneficial bacteria in the gut (probiotics) rely on a regular intake of prebiotic fibres (great examples are bananas, onions, garlic, sweet potato, Jerusalem artichoke and asparagus), which juicing will not supply you with.
A GLASS HALF FULL, OR A GLASS HALF EMPTY?
If a serving of fresh juice a day is making you feel good and you like the taste of it, then by all means go for it! Chances are it’s increasing your overall diet quality. However juicing alone, or juicing to replace meals, is not the magical cure to vastly improve your gut health or any diseases those ads would like you to believe. When it comes to gut health, fibre and variety of plants are king, so be sure to add in lots of fibre to your meals and snacks, and for some gut loving snacking you know where to find us…
Got a burning question for our nutritionist? Get in touch via @EatBoundless, and find her here at @NutritionByYasmin