Is juicing OK for prediabetes?

Juicing has become a popular health trend in recent years. Proponents claim that drinking vegetable and fruit juices provides a concentrated dose of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. For people with prediabetes, juicing may seem like an easy way to increase nutrient intake and improve health. However, there are some important considerations when juicing with prediabetes.

What is Prediabetes?

Prediabetes is a condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. It is sometimes referred to as borderline diabetes. With prediabetes, insulin resistance is increasing and the pancreas has to work harder to produce enough insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. Some common symptoms of prediabetes include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow wound healing

People with prediabetes have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes within 10 years. However, making lifestyle modifications can help normalize blood sugar levels and prevent or delay the onset of diabetes.

Benefits of Juicing for Prediabetes

There are some potential benefits that make juicing appealing for people with prediabetes:

  • Increase intake of fruits and vegetables – Juices extracted from fresh produce provide a quick and convenient way to get vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and antioxidants. This can help compensate for low vegetable and fruit consumption.
  • Better blood sugar control – Some studies have found improved insulin sensitivity and fasting blood glucose levels with regular vegetable juice consumption.
  • Support weight loss – Replacing high-calorie beverages and foods with fresh juices containing fiber and nutrients could aid in weight management.
  • Low glycemic impact – The juices from green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, and berries generally have a low effect on blood sugar levels.

Concerns with Juicing for Prediabetes

While juicing does provide some benefits, there are also some drawbacks and precautions to consider:

  • Sugar content – Although vegetable juices are lower in sugar, fruit juices can contain high amounts of natural sugars with little fiber. This can spike blood sugar levels.
  • Rapid absorption – The juicing process removes soluble fiber from the produce, allowing the sugars to be absorbed very quickly into the bloodstream.
  • Loss of satiety – Important insoluble fiber is removed during juicing. This fiber helps provide bulk and prolongs feelings of fullness after eating.
  • High calorie intake – It’s easy to consume a large number of calories from juices without feeling satisfied. Portion control is important.
  • Nutrient deficiencies – Fiber, protein, fat, and many vitamins and minerals are diminished during the juicing process.

Tips for Juicing with Prediabetes

If you want to include juicing as part of your prediabetes diet, here are some tips to make it more nutritious and diabetes-friendly:

  • Focus on low sugar vegetables – Choose greens like spinach, kale, chard, collards, and cucumber as the base.
  • Limit fruit juices – Stick to small amounts of berries or citrus fruits if using fruit. Avoid high sugar fruits like grapes, mangoes, and pineapples.
  • Spike veggies with lemon/lime – Adding lemon or lime juice can help balance sweetness while providing flavor.
  • Include healthy fats – Mix in ingredients like avocado, nuts, seeds, coconut, or olive oil to provide fatty acids.
  • Blend rather than juice – Keep some fiber by blending smoothies rather than completely juicing produce.
  • Bolster with protein – Add protein sources like Greek yogurt, nut butter, soy milk, or protein powder.
  • Watch portions – Stick to 1 cup or less of vegetable juices and no more than 4 oz. of low sugar fruit juice per day.

Sample Juice Recipes for Prediabetes

Here are a few juicing recipe ideas that are nutritious and have a low glycemic impact:

Green Revitalizer Juice

  • 1 cucumber
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 cup kale leaves
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 lemon, peeled
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 1 apple (optional)

Detoxifying Beet Juice

  • 1 beet, scrubbed
  • 3 carrots, scrubbed
  • 1 Granny Smith apple
  • 1 inch fresh turmeric or 1/4 tsp powdered turmeric
  • 1 lemon, peeled

Lean Green Protein Machine

  • 1 cup kale or spinach
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter or almond butter
  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Ice as needed

Are Juice Cleanses Recommended for Prediabetes?

Juice cleanses involve consuming only juices for 3-10 days while eliminating solid foods. This is not recommended for people with prediabetes for several reasons:

  • Extreme calorie restriction can cause blood sugar fluctuations.
  • Lack of protein is unhealthy and unsustainable.
  • No fiber from whole foods can cause digestive issues.
  • Nutrient deficits may occur over time.
  • Quick “rebounds” in weight and blood sugar often occur after cleanses.

For prediabetes management, it is better to focus on consistent, balanced nutrition from whole foods versus drastic cleanses. Make vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, high-fiber carbohydrates, and healthy fats part of your daily diet instead.

Potential Side Effects of Juicing

It’s important to be aware of potential adverse effects that may occur from excessive juicing:

Side Effect Cause
Digestive issues Lack of fiber can lead to constipation or diarrhea.
Hypoglycemia Rapid rise and fall of blood sugar from high glycemic juices.
Kidney problems Excessive oxalates and heavy metals from certain vegetables.
Tooth decay Acidic juices may erode tooth enamel over time.
Drug interactions Juicing concentrates phytochemicals which may interact with medications.
Foodborne illness Bacteria growth if juices are not handled properly.

The Role of Whole Foods in a Prediabetes Diet

While juicing does offer some benefits, it should not replace whole foods which provide more balanced nutrition. Here are some reasons why whole foods are important:

  • Fiber content – Whole fruits and vegetables have insoluble and soluble fiber that are stripped during juicing. This fiber helps control blood sugar response.
  • Satiety – Fiber and protein in whole foods increase feelings of fullness. This leads to a satisfied feeling rather than overconsuming calories from juices.
  • Nutrient density – Whole foods provide an array of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants, and enzymes not found in juices.
  • Chew factor – Chewing whole foods slows down digestion, resulting in a less dramatic spike in blood sugar levels.
  • Portion control – It’s easier to monitor serving sizes of whole fruits and vegetables than juices.

For a healthy prediabetes diet, fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables, a quarter with lean protein foods, and a quarter with high-fiber whole grains at meals. Enjoy whole fruits as snacks and limit juice to 1 small glass per day.

Should You Juice If You Have Prediabetes?

Juicing can be a part of a healthy diet for prediabetes but should not replace whole foods. Here are some key takeaways on juicing with prediabetes:

  • Focus on low sugar vegetables like greens, cucumbers, celery, and cruciferous veggies.
  • Limit fruit juices to berries, citrus fruits, green apples, and avoid tropical fruits.
  • Spike juices with lemon/lime juice and minimal low glycemic fruits.
  • Always pair juices with protein, fat, and fiber.
  • Do not attempt long juice fasts or cleanses.
  • Portion control is important – keep juices to 1 cup maximum per day.
  • Whole fruits and veggies should be the foundation of your diet, not juice.

Drinking small amounts of low sugar vegetable and fruit juices can provide an extra nutrient boost. However, emphasize complex carbs, fiber, lean protein, and healthy fats at meals and snacks for optimal blood sugar control and diabetes prevention.


Juicing can provide benefits like increased intake of fruits and vegetables, antioxidants, and potentially better blood sugar control. However, juices lack fiber, protein, and fat so they should not replace whole foods in the diet. For people with prediabetes, limit fruit juices, focus on low glycemic vegetables, control portions, and always pair juices with protein and healthy fats. Emphasizing whole, minimally processed foods will provide the best nutritional support for helping to prevent progression to type 2 diabetes.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *