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Juicing Alternative

November 22, 2010 Written by JP       [Font too small?]

Juicing is one of the more popular ways to increase one’s consumption of fruits and vegetables. This nutritional strategy can support virtually any type of diet depending on the selection of produce. In addition, there’s a subset of the juicing crowd that employs this culinary technique in another capacity – as part of a detoxification and/or fasting regimen. It may surprise you to know that I’m not a big fan of juicing. However, I do support a slightly modified way of deriving many of the same benefits and more. My Healthy Monday tip of the week is to blend your fruits and vegetables instead of juicing them.

From a philosophical standpoint, my aversion to juicing is quite simple. Extracting the liquid elements of fruits and vegetables from the fibrous content just doesn’t jive with my idea of whole food nutrition. But in health and in life, I believe that one’s philosophy ought to be supported by objective facts whenever possible. There are numerous reasons why I prefer blending produce rather than juicing, and I’ll make my case using a series of examples from the medical literature.

Have you ever heard of a form of green tea known as matcha? Matcha is a powdered version of tea produced by grinding the leaves in a stone mill. This differs from most other Camellia sinensis preparations because it retains its fiber content. But there are other differences as well. Matcha is documented as richer in antioxidants than the more conventional forms of green tea. In fact, one investigation discovered that drinking matcha can impart at least three times as much EGCG, a potent phytochemical found in green tea, as compared to traditionally brewed preparations. (1,2,3)

Grapes, another antioxidant rich food, retain many of their medicinal properties in the dietary fiber that remains after the juice is pressed. Several studies have documented significant antioxidant potential and therapeutic effects when “grape antioxidant dietary fiber (GADF)” is fed to animals. One of the more intriguing findings is that this novel fiber source is capable of supporting the growth of beneficial bacteria such as L. acidophilus. The researchers involved theorize that a class of antioxidants (phenolic compounds) in GADF may interact with intestinal bacteria in such a way that may yield “healthy consequences”. (4,5,6)

Adding unrefined cocoa powder to freshly made juice may seem rather unusual. However, the thought of adding it to a blended beverage may be more appealing. From a health standpoint, cocoa fiber is an excellent example of the value of this dietary component that is frequently thrown out. Cocoa husks are not what most consumers and manufactures are looking for in a final product. That’s not chocolate! But both animal and human studies reveal that this “waste product” is capable of reducing many notable risk factors including: a) chronic constipation; b) elevated blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides; c) high blood sugar and insulin resistance; d) inflammation, LDL cholesterol oxidation and systemic oxidative stress and; e) weight gain. (7,8,9,10,11)

Dietary Fiber May Help Lower Visceral Body Fat
Source: Am J Clin Nutr November 2009 vol. 90 no. 5 1160-1166 (link)

At this point, I think it’s important to address a prevalent concern among avid juicers. There is a notion out there that juicing liberates antioxidants and nutrients from the inherent food matrix and that blending vegetables will negatively impact the absorption of such substances. Recent studies tend to refute this assertion. A current examination of the topic was published in the June 2009 edition of the journal Plant Foods for Human Nutrition. It describes an experiment which assessed the bioavailibility of polyphenols in the presence of fiber. The conclusion of the pilot study found that the addition of dietary fiber delayed absorption of the antioxidants, but did not prevent them from being utilized. Additional studies reveal that select fiber sources commonly found in fruits and vegetables (pectin) may actually enhance the bioavailibility of plant-based antioxidants without negatively impacting overall nutrient status. (12,13,14)

Fiber serves many valuable functions in the human body. One of the more obvious benefits is in blunting the effects of this fiber-deprived infusion on blood sugar levels. But beyond that, it’s important to be aware of the continually mounting evidence that dietary fiber may also positively influence a broad array of health conditions ranging from slowing the aging process by promoting telomere length to protecting against heavy metal build-up caused by environmental factors. In fact, many seemingly unrelated diseases appear to be affected by the regular consumption of insoluble and soluble fiber including COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), hormone-related cancers and even fatty liver disease. All of this is to say: don’t throw the fiber away! Drink your juice and eat it too! (15,16,17,18,19,20,21)

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

Be well!

JP

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19 Comments & Updates to “Juicing Alternative”

  1. Sue Says:

    Which vegies and juices do you blend and would you go on a 1 day fast or longer?

  2. Sue Says:

    Do you use green powders at all? There is one I used to get called Super greens and reds.

  3. JP Says:

    Hello, Sue.

    I prefer alternate day fasting to longer fasts. This is a diet that allows you to eat normally every other day. The days in-between require that you restrict your caloric intake by about 75%. The form of alternate day fasting I’ve experimented with emphasizes lower carbohydrate whole foods.

    I really like using dark green leafy vegetables when blending. Sometimes I’ll throw in some spicy element such as ginger or radishes. Also, I typically add some organic avocado to the mix. It’s super nutritious and assists with the absorption of the fat soluble antioxidants.

    Be well!

    JP

  4. JP Says:

    Sue,

    I like a product that goes by the name of Chocolate Green SuperFood by Amazing Grass. A wrote this review about it awhile back:

    http://www.healthyfellow.com/242/chocolate-green-superfood-product-review/

    I add it to protein shakes to give them a more nutrient dense composition.

    Be well!

    JP

  5. Sue Says:

    Thanks JP. I also prefer alternate day fasting.

  6. Nina K. Says:

    Good morning, JP ☼

    great great article! You’re so right! We discussed that a week ago with friends, they told us proudly “we bought an premium juicer”. I asked them “for what”? Despite the fact that the good fiber is wasted, most juices are too high in carbs, even beet juice! Blended and drunken slowly (which is important cause of salivation as the first step of digestion)is more satisfying too :-)

    Will retweed this article as often as i can ;-) .

    Great work!

    Greetings from the bad weather front ;-)
    Nina K.

  7. Plain Jane Says:

    I love juicing but the one side that has always let me down is the fibre. I am going to try blending for a bit. Still just as yummy and certainly more filling!

  8. Mark Says:

    Do you use a regular juicer and then add back the left over material? We found a juicer at a yard sale but have not used it yet.

    I fast twice a week, but I consume no food during the fast only liquid. When you alternate day fast you mentioned that you do eat but restrict the calories. Are you using just whole foods….fruits and vegetables?

  9. Sai Says:

    Good Day JP!

    I always get this macha blend tea from costco. I think it is from Japan. The macha settles in the bottom so you will have to empty the packet into the tea cup. Good to know macha is super good! Happy Thanksgiving…

    Best Regards

    Sai

  10. anne h Says:

    I want to try tea, again.
    The market seems to be ever-expanding!
    Lots of new options. Like the one you wrote about here!

  11. JP Says:

    Many thanks, Nina! :-)

    We agree! Keep the fiber!

    Be well!

    JP

  12. JP Says:

    Mark,

    I use a blender. I just add the veggies and water and let her rip!

    On my fast days, I have a typical lunch which is comprised of a protein source, plenty of non-starchy vegetables and good sources of fat. In short, a low-carb, nutrient dense meal. However, I wouldn’t hesitate to skip an occasional meal (on non-fast days) and have some homemade blended “juice” for a change.

    Be well!

    JP

  13. JP Says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, Sai!

    Be well!

    JP

  14. JP Says:

    It’s a healthy habit to adopt, Anne. Go for it!

    Be well!

    JP

  15. Pradip Gharpure Says:

    I also appreciate your idea. I rather prefer taking fruits in raw, sliced form. Juice is required to be drunk immediately to gain its healthy benefits.

  16. Athena Peters Says:

    My Great alternative to juicing is Juice Plus, It has 17 fruit and vegetables that I can get into my system everyday, and it is organic & has the research to back it. I get Kale, beets, Acerola cherries etc everyday, Check for your self, just google Maggie’s Juicing Alternative. Thanks for the listen. This has helped my family immensely.

  17. JP Says:

    Update: Higher fiber diets linked to lower mortality risk …

    http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/100/6/1498.long

    Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Dec;100(6):1498-507.

    Fiber intake and all-cause mortality in the Prevención con Dieta Mediterránea (PREDIMED) study.

    BACKGROUND: Few observational studies have examined the effect of dietary fiber intake and fruit and vegetable consumption on total mortality and have reported inconsistent results. All of the studies have been conducted in the general population and typically used only a single assessment of diet.

    OBJECTIVE: We investigated the association of fiber intake and whole-grain, fruit, and vegetable consumption with all-cause mortality in a Mediterranean cohort of elderly adults at high cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk by using repeated measurements of dietary information and taking into account the effect of a dietary intervention.

    DESIGN: We followed up 7216 men (55-75 y old) and women (60-75 y old) at high CVD risk in the Prevención con Dieta Mediterránea (PREDIMED) trial for a mean of 5.9 y. Data were analyzed as an observational cohort. Participants were initially free of CVD. A 137-item validated food-frequency questionnaire administered by dietitians was repeated annually to assess dietary exposures (fiber, fruit, vegetable, and whole-grain intakes). Deaths were identified through the continuing medical care of participants and the National Death Index. An independent, blinded Event Adjudication Committee adjudicated causes of death. Cox regression models were used to estimate HRs of death during follow-up according to baseline dietary exposures and their yearly updated changes.

    RESULTS: In up to 8.7 y of follow-up, 425 participants died. Baseline fiber intake and fruit consumption were significantly associated with lower risk of death [HRs for the fifth compared with the first quintile: 0.63 (95% CI: 0.46, 0.86; P = 0.015) and 0.59 (95% CI: 0.42, 0.82; P = 0.004), respectively]. When the updated dietary information was considered, participants with fruit consumption >210 g/d had 41% lower risk of all-cause mortality (HR: 0.59; 95% CI: 0.44, 0.78). Associations were strongest for CVD mortality than other causes of death.

    CONCLUSION: Fiber and fruit intakes are associated with a reduction in total mortality.

    Be well!

    JP

  18. Iggy Dalrymple Says:

    I alternate fasting with slowing.

  19. JP Says:

    Updated 03/25/18:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29571566

    Clin Nutr. 2018 Mar 3.

    High intake of orange juice and cola differently affects metabolic risk in healthy subjects.

    BACKGROUND: Higher consumption of sugar-containing beverages has been associated with an elevated risk of type 2 diabetes and gout. Whether this equally applies to cola with an unhealthy image and orange juice (OJ) having a healthy image remains unknown.

    METHODS: In order to investigate whether OJ and cola differently affect metabolic risk 26 healthy adults (24.7 ± 3.2 y; BMI 23.2 ± 3.3 kg/m2) participated in a 2 × 2-wk intervention and consumed either OJ or caffeine-free cola (20% Ereq as sugar from beverages) in-between 3 meals/d at ad libitum energy intake. Glycemic control, uric acid metabolism and gut microbiota were assessed as outcome parameters.

    RESULTS: Fecal microbiota, body weight, basal and OGTT-derived insulin sensitivity remained unchanged in both intervention periods. Levels of uric acid were normal at baseline and did not change with 2-wk cola consumption (-0.03 ± 0.67 mg/dL; p > 0.05), whereas they decreased with OJ intervention (-0.43 ± 0.56 mg/dL; p < 0.01) due to increased uric acid excretion (+130.2 ± 130.0 mg/d; p < 0.001). Compared to OJ, consumption of cola led to a higher daylong glycemia (ΔiAUC: 36.9 ± 83.2; p < 0.05), an increase in glucose variability (ΔMAGE-Index: 0.29 ± 0.44; p < 0.05), and a lower 24 h-insulin secretion (ΔC-peptide excretion: -31.76 ± 38.61 μg/d; p < 0.001), which may be explained by a decrease in serum potassium levels (-0.11 ± 0.24 mmol/L; p < 0.05).

    CONCLUSION: Despite its sugar content, regular consumption of large amounts of OJ do not increase the risk of gout but may even contribute to lower uric acid levels. The etiology of impaired insulin secretion with cola consumption needs to be further investigated.

    Be well!

    JP

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