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I know you’ve all seen it: the brightly-colored liquid being sipped through a straw, in a clear cup so that this colorful concoction can be shown off properly, of course. This liquid is the product of juicing. Juicing is a new trend in dieting that involves taking some fruit or vegetables and putting them into a juicer that removes all the pulp and leaves you with juice. You see Kylie Jenner on the cover of a tabloid drinking something green, and it seems like a great idea — you get to throw in the celery you would never actually eat but without all the stringiness. It also seems like a pretty solid plan to lose weight or “detox” your body of the Big Mac and cookies ’n’ cream milkshake you had for lunch the day before, all while providing your body with essential nutrients. And who doesn’t throw back a glass of orange juice when that first sneeze of a month-long cold hits?
While these juices retain some of the nutrients from the fruits or vegetables in them, they’re stripped of all of their fiber during the juicing process. According to registered dietitian Jaimette McCulley, the fiber is what helps give us the feeling of fullness so that we’re not ravenous after only having three glasses of juice in a day, and end up blowing our whole juicing plan on Pizza Hut’s $5 Flavor Menu. Two pizzas and cheesy breadsticks would just add onto the calories from the glass of orange-apple-carrot juice that usually has as many calories as a regular soda. Besides keeping us feeling full, fiber slows down the process of sugar entering the bloodstream so that the body doesn’t experience an insulin spike and subsequent “crash” we have all felt after chugging four Red Bulls the night before a prelim. Plus, fiber keeps our gastrointestinal tract running smoothly and efficiently. As for the body detoxifying itself, that’s what the liver is for. And the kidneys. And the lungs. And the pancreas. Basically, that’s what your body is for. It is made to fight against foreign substances that could possibly cause it harm. So juicing isn’t really doing anything for your body that your body can’t already do for itself.
Besides all the sugar and some nutrients that are in most fruit juices (even with vegetables included), there isn’t a whole lot of anything else. As already mentioned, there isn’t any fiber, but there’s neither fat nor whole lot of protein, either. These macronutrients also contribute to that feeling of fullness that we need to avoid consuming three days’ worth of calories at once because we’re so hungry. In addition to keeping us feeling full, fat and protein are sources of energy, which we all need, considering every location on Cornell’s campus is uphill.
Honestly, we’re all probably better off drinking tea or fruit-infused water if we need a beverage that’s got a little extra flavor but doesn’t send our insulin levels through the roof. If you’re thinking about giving the fruit-infused water a try, I recommend taking the peels off of citrus fruits. The peels of lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruits tend to make the water unbearably bitter when left in for too long.
The gold standard, of course, would be to eat the whole fruit or vegetable. This way the fiber stays intact, plus your body will get all of the nutrients that the produce has to offer. Smoothies are also a good choice because you can throw a ton of stuff in a blender, and you can’t even taste some of it. So go ahead and chop some kale and blend it up. Add milk or yogurt to get the fat and protein. Maybe add some kind of nut butter if you’re into it. All you bodybuilders out there can add protein powder for a solid post-workout snack. I’m a huge fan of banana, peanut butter and skim milk. Whatever you prefer, don’t forget the clear cup and the straw.