The Pros and Cons of Juicing

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Whether it’s juicing, juice detox or juice fast, juicing is all the rage at the moment. Disciples of juicing swear by its many health benefits claiming that not only does it help you lose weight it also lowers your risk of developing serious medical conditions such as cancer. But what is juicing really and what does it do to your body? Does it really make you slimmer and healthier? It is time to separate the facts from the myths.
The Process of juicing

When a fruit or vegetable goes through a juicing machine, its juice is extracted leaving the skin and pulp behind. This means that you get fewer nutrients because the skin of fruits and vegetables is rich in nutrients while the pulp is rich in fiber.

Experts recommend using a blender instead of a juicer to keep most of the fiber and nutrients that a juicing machine takes away. You can also add the pulp that was removed into your juice or use it in cooking. You can even add them to your soup or pasta.

Low Calorie Count

If you go on a juice fast, your calorie intake becomes very restricted. Fruit and vegetable juices as your only source of nutrients are not good for your body. Fruit and vegetable juices contain sugar that triggers the pancreas to release insulin that brings sugar in the form of glucose to the cells.

Because your body is low in calorie, it uses up your store of glycogen from the liver and muscles. Low levels of glycogen can leave you feeling listless and weak. If you continue your juice fast, your body will then turn on triglycerides, energy that is stored in fat, which is good. But for protein, your body will turn on your muscles which will cause you to lose muscle mass.

Without a fresh supply of protein, the brain’s supply of amino acids is also reduced. Amino acids are the materials that the brain’s neurotransmitters need to keep you in a good mood.

The muscle mass you lose breaks down into uric acid and ammonia. These chemicals are not good for the body and may invade your blood stream. Thus, your kidneys have to work overtime to cleanse the body of these chemicals – and you’re supposed to be detoxing, right?

When you are ready to eat solid food again, it will most likely get stored as fat because you lack the muscle mass to burn the calories.

Health Claims and Research

There are claims that juicing helps lower the risk of heart disease. The fact is that there has not been a lot of research specific to juicing that supports this. A diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables is linked to lower risk of heart disease but this health benefit may likely come from eating whole fruits and vegetables and not necessarily from juicing. The same thing holds true with regard to claims that juicing can reduce your risk of cancer and boost your immune system.

Food Safety Guidelines for Juicing
When handling fresh produce, make sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Next, clean the fruits and vegetables thoroughly as well. When washing your juicing machine or blender, use hot soapy water. Make sure that each part of the machine is completely dry before storing them to prevent the growth of bacteria.

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If the juicing machine or blender is dishwasher safe, set the cycle to “sanitize.” Lastly, do not store your juices for longer than a week. In fact, it is best that you consume them on the same day because they are not pasteurized.
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