Are There Health Benefits to Juicing?

Juicing involves grinding, squeezing, or pressing fresh fruit and/or vegetables for their juice. It’s a modern term for a long-standing practice of pressing harvested fruits for quick access to their nutrients. 

Juicing as a trend had some early beginnings in the 1920s and 1930s, but it took off more in the 1970s. By the 1990s, juice shops and healthy dining trends became more mainstream. 

Drinking fresh juice is an easy way to get a number of vitamins and minerals. Still, while research shows some support for juicing, the potential health benefits vary drastically depending on what’s exactly in the juice. If you’re not careful, you may end up drinking too many calories and too much sugar.

Nutrition Information

Nutrients vary widely depending on the fruits and vegetables you use for juicing, and whether you buy the juice or make your own at home.

For example, an eight-ounce serving of carrot juice could contain:

  • Calories: 80
  • Protein: 2 grams
  • Fat: 1 gram
  • Carbohydrates: 16 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Sugar: 13 grams

An 8-ounce serving of passion fruit juice could contain:

  • Calories: 126
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 34 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Sugar: 35 grams

An 8-ounce serving of apple and cranberry juice could contain:

  • Calories: 130
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 33 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Sugar: 33 grams

Depending on the fruits and vegetables used, juice can be a good source of: 

The amount of nutrients in your juice can depend on whether the fruits and vegetables are grown commercially or organically. Cooking or pasteurization can also reduce the nutrients available in juice. 

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Potential Health Benefits of Juicing

Research on juicing is limited, but it does show some potential health benefits:

Increased Nutrient Intake

By drinking juice, your body can absorb nutrients quickly, without having to digest fibers and other components in whole foods. Juice also allows you to get a broader intake of vitamins and minerals — more so than you may be getting in your regular diet. If you don't consume many whole fruits and vegetables, it’s possible that you’re lacking in important nutrients. 

Cardiovascular System Support

Limited research shows that drinking pure fruit and vegetable juice can lead to more nitric oxide in the blood. Nitric oxide acts to open your blood vessels and lower blood pressure, helping your vessels remain supple and healthy.

Potential Risks of Juicing

The risks of juicing may end up outweighing the health benefits. These potential risks vary based on how much juice you drink, how often you drink it, and what types of fruits and vegetables you use:

Too Many Calories

All fruits and vegetables contain calories, but they're balanced by components like fiber and other tissues. Many juices have about 100 to 180 calories in an 8-ounce glass, which means watching your portion size is important. Too many calories can lead to weight gain.

Too Much Sugar Intake

In fruit juice, calories mostly come from sugar. When you drink juice, you often experience a spike in blood sugar levels, because there’s no fiber to slow down the absorption of sugar. The best way to keep your sugar intake down is by drinking juices that contain all or mostly vegetables.

Lack of Fiber and Protein

Simply drinking juice could lead to malnutrition, because all types of juice (even vegetable) contain very little — if any — fiber or protein.  Fiber is crucial for digestive health, while protein is vital for the support of muscles, bones, and blood.    

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on October 28, 2020

Sources

SOURCES: 

ESHA Research, Inc., Salem, Oregon: “Juice, apple cranberry, Trader Joe’s.”

ESHA Research, Inc., Salem, Oregon: “Juice, carrot, Trader Joe’s.”

ESHA Research, Inc., Salem, Oregon: “Juice, passion fruit, purple, fresh.”

Harvard T.H. Chan: “Protein.”

Keck Medicine of USC: “The Truth About Juicing.”

Mayo Clinic: “Is juicing healthier than eating whole fruits and vegetables?”

Nutrition Bulletin: “The role of fruit juice in the diet: an overview.”

Scientific Reports: “Health benefit of vegetable/fruit juice-based diet: Role of microbiome.”

University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center: “Is juicing good for you?”

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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