Juicing vegetables has become a popular way to increase vegetable intake and obtain concentrated nutrients from produce. Proponents claim that juicing is a fast, easy way to flood your body with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. However, there are some downsides to juicing that need to be considered.
One major drawback is that the juicing process removes most of the fiber from vegetables. The juicing process extracts the liquid contents of vegetables, leaving behind the insoluble fiber. This fiber has many health benefits and helps regulate digestion. Removing it can lead to blood sugar spikes and nutrient deficiencies over time.
This article will look at the specific nutrients lost when you juice vegetables, the benefits of fiber, and how to maximize nutrition when adding juiced vegetables to your diet.
Nutrients Lost During Juicing
Here are some of the main nutrients depleted during the juicing process:
|Nutrient||Loss During Juicing|
|Fiber||Over 90% lost|
|Vitamin C||Up to 29% lost|
|Folate||Up to 21% lost|
|Vitamin A||Up to 17% lost|
|Vitamin K||Up to 15% lost|
|Potassium||Up to 14% lost|
|Vitamin E||Up to 14% lost|
|Vitamin B6||Up to 13% lost|
|Calcium||Up to 6% lost|
|Magnesium||Up to 5% lost|
As you can see, insoluble fiber takes the biggest hit. On average, over 90% of the fiber is removed during juicing. Fiber is incredibly important for digestive health, heart health, stabilizing blood sugar, and feeding the beneficial bacteria in your gut.
Juicing also depletes water-soluble vitamins like vitamin C and B vitamins. This is because they leach out into the juice, which is often consumed right away rather than stored. Between 5-29% of these vitamins are lost.
Fat-soluble vitamins, like vitamins A, E, and K, are also reduced since you aren’t consuming the fat from the whole vegetable. You’re just getting the liquid contents.
Minerals like potassium, calcium and magnesium are likewise reduced when the vegetable fibers are removed. You absorb fewer minerals from the juice compared to eating the whole vegetable.
Importance of Fiber
The biggest loss from juicing is fiber. The two main types of fiber are:
– Soluble fiber – dissolves in water to form a gel-like material. Found in oats, apples, carrots, barley
– Insoluble fiber – does not dissolve and remains intact as it moves through your digestive tract. Found in vegetables, whole grains, bran
Both forms of fiber are vital to health. Getting adequate fiber lowers your risk of:
- Heart disease
- Certain gastrointestinal disorders
Fiber also slows the absorption of sugar to prevent blood sugar spikes. It ferments in the gut to feed healthy bacteria and produces short-chain fatty acids that support immunity.
Additionally, insoluble fiber helps move food through the digestive tract. This improves regularity and prevents constipation.
Juicing strips out the vast majority of insoluble fiber since it remains in the pulp. Soluble fiber makes it into the juice, but not getting that insoluble fiber can be detrimental long-term.
Maximizing Nutrition from Juicing
If you want to juice vegetables, there are some ways to reduce nutrient losses:
- Use the whole vegetable – Alternate between juicing the whole vegetable and just juicing the leaves of greens. This provides more fiber.
- Drink juice right after making it – The longer juice sits, the more nutrients are lost through oxidation.
- Add pulp back in – Stir some of the pulp back into your juice to get extra fiber.
- Pair with fiber-rich foods – Have vegetable juice along with high-fiber foods like oats, chia seeds, berries and beans.
- Don’t overdo juicing – Juice can be a great way to get extra servings of vegetables. But it shouldn’t replace eating whole vegetables which provide more nutrients and fiber.
- Rotate your produce – Use a variety of vegetables to juice to get a range of nutrients.
Sample Juicing Combinations High in Fiber
Here are some smart vegetable combinations for juicing that retain more fiber:
|Juice Combo||Source of Fiber|
|Spinach, kale, cucumber, celery||Spinach and kale leaves|
|Carrot, beet, ginger||Carrot and beet roots|
|Broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber||Broccoli and cauliflower florets|
|Cabbage, fennel, celery||Cabbage leaves|
|Collard greens, green apple, lime||Collard green leaves|
Using the whole vegetable instead of just the greens provides extra fiber. You can also alternate between juicing the stems and leaves of produce.
Should You Juice Vegetables?
Juicing can be a healthy practice in moderation. It allows you to pack extra servings of fruits and veggies into your day. However, relying solely on juicing for your vegetable intake means missing out onvaluable fiber and nutrients.
Aim to get no more than one serving of vegetables per day from juicing. Focus on whole fruits and vegetables for the bulk of your produce. Consider juicing an occasional nutrition boost, not a fiber replacement.
Stick to a ratio of 80% whole foods and 20% juices. Pair juices with fiber from beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains and skins. Drink your juice immediately after making it to retain nutrients.
Most importantly, maintain a varied diet. Eat the rainbow when it comes to produce. Juice now and then to spice things up, but rely on plant foods in their whole form to get the spectrum of dietary fiber and nutrients.
The Bottom Line
Juicing vegetables allows you to consume a concentrated dose of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. However, the lack of fiber can cause digestive issues if done too often.
Maximize nutrition by drinking juice right away, adding pulp back in, pairing with high-fiber foods and eating whole fruits and veggies for the majority of your produce intake. Juicing should complement a diet focused on whole plant foods, not replace it.
Use a moderate approach to get the benefits of juicing without losing out on all the nutrition whole vegetables have to offer. Focus on variety and fiber to become your healthiest, most vibrant self.