Written by Victoria Laios (APD)
“Juicing” our fruit and vegetables is becoming an emerging popular trend – but is this really good for us?
First of all, many Australian’s find it difficult to get in their daily fruit and vegetable intake. The National Australian Health Survey in 2014-2015, found that around 49.8% of adults met the daily recommendations for fruit . Also, only 7.0% of adults met the guidelines for vegetable intake . As a nation we struggle. Therefore, I can understand the temptation of “juicing” – particularly as a way for people to increase their daily fruit and vegetable intake.
Here are my overall thoughts…..
For people who can’t tolerate much food in the morning or are time poor, a smoothie or juice can be a great breakfast option. Providing that it consists of a protein (milk or yoghurt) or fibre component (wholegrains or seeds) – adding protein and fibre can boost up the nutritional value and also keep us more satisfied throughout the day.
However, juicing all our fruits and vegetables has its downfalls. By drinking them, our body doesn’t facilitate the process of digestion. They just go straight through our digestive system….this doesn’t provide us with satiety or as much pleasure than we get from eating them. You also miss out on enjoying the diverse textures and flavours of fruits and vegetables.
Also, many people are under the impression that juicing their foods will make it “healthier” or “more nutritious”. Most of the time, this isn’t the case. In fact, some juicers or blending machines remove part of the food component such as the pulp and fruit/vegetable flesh. A great source of dietary fibre and nutrients simply going to waste! We should all aim to have more fibre in our diet as it helps keep us fuller for longer and it’s great for our digestive system.
And did I mention that some fruit smoothies can be loaded with sugar and can have additional ingredients such as ice-cream, sorbet, coconut water or fruit juice concentrates. You might want to think twice before having too many of those!
Final verdict – the juicing phenomenon has gotten way out of hand. I am a firm believer in eating fruit and vegetables “whole”. Some people may disagree with this. Yes juicing our foods is more convenient. But it is not the solution towards improving our health and eating behaviours. So the next time you walk by the fridge or pantry, pick up a fruit or vegetable and purely enjoy it for what it is.
References:Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). National Health Survey 2014-15 – Daily intake of fruit and vegetables [internet page]. [Updated 2015 Dec 8: Cited 2016 Dec 3]. Available http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/4364.0.55.001~2014-15~Main%20Features~Daily%20intake%20of%20fruit%20and%20vegetables~28