To Juice or not to juice?

Uncovering if juice is a sticky fad or good nutrition.

Recently, we have seen a plethora of new juicing kitchen gadgets. You may even have a fancy whizz bang juicer or blender sitting on your kitchen bench, or on your birthday wish list!

And for those of us that love juice but can’t be bothered making our own, there are always plenty of new prepackaged fruit and vegetable drinks we can snap up conveniently. 

Juicing can be beneficial for our health if it helps us meet the recommened serves of fruit and vegetables. It is recommended that you eat five serves of vegetables and two serves of fruit each day. But what is in a serve?

 

A standard serve of vegetables is 75 grams or:

  • 1/2 cup cooked green or orange vegetables (e.g. broccoli, spinach, carrots or pumpkin)
  • 1/2 cup cooked dried or canned beans, peas or lentils
  • 1 cup leafy or raw salad vegetables
  • 1/2 cup sweet corn
  • 1/2 medium potato or other starchy vegetables such as sweet potato or taro
  • 1 medium tomato

A standard serve of fruit is 150 grams of fresh fruit or: 

  • 1 medium apple, banana, orange or pear
  • 2 small apricots, kiwi fruits or plums
  • 1 cup diced or canned fruit (with no added sugar)

Despite calls from government and the health industry to eat more fruit and vegetables, targets are still commonly missed every day by Australians according to the last national nutrition survey.   

The benefits of fruits and veggies have long been known and it is essential that they are consumed as part of a healthy diet. Fruits and veggies have a great range of anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins and fiber that contribute to food health and ward of chronic disease like heart disease and cancer. 

The more veggies you eat the better and if you can get your two serves of fruit in per day you need a gold star! With this in mind, I think that if buying a blender makes you eat more fruits and vegetables, then that’s a good thing! 

There are a few myths to bust before you start raiding your fridge for smoothie or juicing ingredients:

1. Drinking juices and smoothies are not one in the same

There is a huge nutritional difference between juicing and blending fruits and vegetables. Often during the juicing process a lot of pulp is removed.  Pulp from fruits and veggies is the fibre we need for good bowel health, without this you are essentially drinking sugary water. 

The fibre in fruit actually helps to slow down the absorption of sugar in the body. This is what helps to curb sugar cravings and make you feel full. Without it, you can very easily over drink your quota of sugar for the day. If you’re going to choose between the two, blend your veggies and fruit and drink the wonderful fibre too. 

2. Blending fruit and veggies does not unlock more nutrients

You will get the same amount of nutrients from eating whole or blended fruit and veggies.  Blending your veggies and fruit may just be easier and more convenient as it saves you time prepping and cooking your vegies. 

3. Veggie and fruit shakes may not help you lose weight

Cutting back on the energy you eat and eating regularly helps you lose weight. Not the fact you drank your calories in a shake. Be mindful about what ingredients you are powering up your smoothies with. Combining chia seeds, yogurt, coconut oil, several pieces of fruit and veggies is going to give you a calorie surge and if you don’t use it up in exercise you won’t be losing weight any time soon.  For the lowest calorie shake just blend veggies or berries in water and hold back on adding ingredients high in fat. . 

Remember it is recommended that you eat two serves of fruit per day. If you eat more fruit than this it should offset other wholegrain or carbohydrates you normally eat.

And there you have it, the ins and outs of juicing and smoothie making. I hope you enjoy your cold drinks over the holidays! 

Gabrielle Maston

Gabrielle is a health professional who has a drive for life and loves adventure. She is a sports & clinical dietitian, exercise physiologist and personal trainer. This allows her to decipher fact from fiction in all things nutrition and fitness.

To Gabrielle, health is not only about the science of the human body, it’s also about the mind. Self belief, body love and trying new things will build confidence and ultimately lead to good health. 

If you need help with an individualised plan for sport, health or weight loss, visit her website for more information: www.changingshape.net.au