Juicing: The pros and cons
Archie Modequillo (The Freeman) - October 14, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — One of the new health practices that have caught public interest is juicing, a type of diet that involves consuming only juices from vegetables and fruits for a period of three to 10 days. It is adopted by people who want to lose weight and detoxify their body. It has gained widespread attention because of testimonials of its benefits from celebrities who practice it.

The medical circle is quite divided on the matter. While some medical professionals tend to go with the claimed benefits of juicing, others are skeptical since it is restrictive in terms of food groups and calories. There is even concern about the possible negative impact of juicing on the body, for example, by reducing kidney function.

Rachel Nall, RN, MSN, in an article at www.medicalnewstoday.com, explains the difference between juicing and blending. Juicing involves squeezing the juices from fruits and vegetables and separating them from the pulp. Blending mixes all of the edible parts of fruits and vegetables, including the pulp, or fibrous portion.

In her article, Ms. Nall enumerates the benefits claimed by the advocates of juicing:

• Fruits and vegetables are high in vitamins and minerals. Drinking juices could introduce extra nutrients into the body to boost overall health.

• Juices are rich in anti-inflammatory compounds that may boost the immune system and help a person feel more energetic.

• The creators of many juicing plans market the ability of their juices to flush toxins from the body (although they rarely specify which toxins the juices remove).

• Juices could help improve digestion by introducing healthy enzymes that make the gut work more efficiently.

The article also mentions several risks about juicing that doctors have identified:

• Drinking large quantities of juice may be harmful to those with kidney disorders. Certain types of juice contain oxalate, an acid that can contribute to kidney stones and other kidney problems.

• Cleansing diets are usually low in calories. A reduced calorie intake may result in temporary weight loss, but this change is rarely long-lasting.

• If a person consumes juices that are unpasteurized or have not had another treatment to remove bacteria, they are at greater risk of illness. This is especially true for very young and older people as well as those with weakened immune systems.

• If a juice cleanse includes laxatives or other methods of bowel stimulation, a person could lose too many nutrients in their stool. This can lead to dehydration and imbalanced electrolytes.

• Consuming an insufficient number of calories can cause a person to experience symptoms relating to low blood sugar because the body does not have enough energy. Examples of these symptoms include fainting, weakness, dehydration, headaches, and hunger.

Moreover, health experts caution people to be wary of pre-packaged ‘juice cleanses’ that promise significant results, such as reversing diseases or providing dramatic health benefits. There is usually a lack of research to support these claims.

Ms. Nall cites a published study where researchers asked 20 healthy participants to consume only six bottles of different juices a day for three days. The juices contained a variety of ingredients, such as greens, apples, cucumbers, lemon, cayenne pepper, and vanilla bean. After the fast, the participants lost an average of 1.7 kilograms (3.75 pounds). Two weeks later, the average weight of the study participants remained at 0.91 kilograms (2.01 pounds).

The participants, however, did not report of increased wellbeing levels at the end of the three- day juicing period, although they said to have felt much better two weeks after the cleanse. The researchers also found that the ‘juice cleanse’ increased the amounts of some health-promoting bacteria and lowered the number of bacteria that cause illness in the participants.

Juicing advocates swear to the many benefits they get from it. But the medical community is not fully convinced, as most of the potential benefits are anecdotal, meaning that these do not have scientific proof to support them. Most experts recommend a balanced, healthful diet instead.

To be safe, it is advised that before starting a juicing program, people should speak to a doctor or a licensed nutritionist to ensure that their intended juicing plan won’t in any way upset their overall health.

HEALTH
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