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June 28, 2013

The Juice on Juicing: Eating vs. Drinking Your Produce

There are many health claims which state that juicing can reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease, build your immune system and is good for detoxification. Juicing can be a great way to add fruit and vegetables to your diet but there is limited research specific to the health outcomes of juicing.

Whole fruits and vegetables are low in calories and provide dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals, which are often left behind in the juicing process. Fiber keeps us feeling full longer and helps to control blood glucose levels from spiking. Without fiber, the combination of juices from several fruits and starchy vegetables can add extra sugar to your diet, decrease your satiety and lead to unintentional weight gain. Additionally, a serving of juice is 4 oz. and most recipes produce 3-5x this serving amount, increasing the amount of sugar and calories you consume. Therefore, extracting juice from raw fruits and vegetables isn’t a bad idea, it just shouldn’t be the sole source of your 5-a-day fruit and vegetable intake.

For the best health benefits follow these JUICE tips and remember to aim for 5 servings of whole fruits and vegetables each day.

Just add vegetables. To lower calories, use mostly non-starchy vegetables and add a small amount of fruit for flavoring. 

Use the whole food. Skins and pulp of fruits and vegetables contain fiber that aids in digestion, keeps you feeling full longer and controls your blood sugar levels. 

Include protein. Protein takes longer for your body to digest; therefore, when combined with carbohydrates, protein slows the rise of our blood sugar levels and keeps us feeling full longer. 

Control portions. Limit the ingredients to small quantities that you would normally eat at one sitting to prevent consuming extra calories that may lead to weight gain. 

Enjoy variety. Choose a colorful assortment of raw or cooked fruits and vegetables to increase the variety of nutrients you receive.

Brittany Lawrance, RD, CNSC, LDN, Community Dietitian

Brittany is a registered dietitian and has been with Food & Friends since October 2012. Her previous experience was working as a clinical dietitian on the pediatric hematology and oncology unit at Children’s National Medical Center. Brittany completed her dietetic internship in Baltimore, Maryland through Sodexo-Mid Atlantic and is a graduate of Bluffton University in Ohio. She enjoys traveling, playing tennis and softball, making crafts, and has a new found love for leading cooking class. Learn more about Food & Friends' nutrition services.


  1. Really fruits and vegetables are low in calories and provide dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals, Fruits and vegetable juice are very good for health. I drink juice daily in my breakfast.

    Tahitian Noni Juice

  2. So if I take WHOLE fruits and vegetables and simply put them in a food processor to juice them, you are saying this is less healthy? Because somehow the fiber present in the whole food disappears' by putting it in the food processor? I just want to make sure I understand this, so please confirm. (I understand that purchased juice is a different ballgame).

  3. Thank you for your comments.

    The article above is written based on juicing where juice from fruits, herbs, leafy greens and other types of vegetables are separated from their pulp. Blending whole fruits in a food processor or a blender will not separate the juice from the pulp, and therefore will maintain the same fiber content as consuming the whole piece of fruit.

    Whether juicing or making smoothies, remember to use the whole food, including the skins and pulp of fruits and vegetables which contain the most fiber to aid in digestion, keep you feeling full longer and control your blood sugar levels.

  4. What type of juicer do you recommend. What's the best one? Maybe a Ninja?