Juicing is currently one of the most popular fitness fads. If you’ve watched Fat Sick and Nearly Dead or read any articles in the media, you might have been tempted by its alleged benefits. Juicing can be great for people with certain health conditions or digestive problems, but is it appropriate for athletes?
Juicing is the process of extracting the liquid from fresh fruits and vegetables. You are left with an energy-packed vitamin and mineral liquid that can be very good for you. However, you won’t be drinking any of the important fiber within the actual fruits and vegetables. (Learn Why the “Everything in Moderation” Diet is Best for Athletes.)
It is said that juicing can reduce the risk of cancer, remove toxins, aid weight loss and help with digestion. But eating fresh fruits and vegetables will do those exact same things. No research supports the proposition that juicing is better than eating whole foods.
Anything in liquid form gets absorbed more rapidly than whole foods and does not promote satiety. I would much prefer you to eat a big salad with leafy greens, tomatoes, carrots and cucumbers. You will experience the feeling of chewing and take time to eat something, which will help keep you full longer.
With juicing, be mindful of the ingredients you are using. If you overload the blender with fruit, your juice will be full of sugar. This will work against achieving weight loss goals and can increase insulin production, which is a risk factor for diabetes, especially if your diet is already high in sugar.
Juicing mainly vegetables with a small amount of fruit for sweetness can be a great addition to your diet. However, solely juicing as a nutrition strategy throughout the day is not beneficial. You will miss out on healthy fats, protein, fiber and certain vitamins and minerals you obtain from eating a wide variety of foods. (Read why you should Fill Up on Fiber.)