Kennedy Myers || Contributing Writer
Do you frequently eat vegetables, or would you shy away from anything green and leafy? With both World Health Day and Earth Day a few weeks apart in April, now seems like the perfect opportunity to reflect on recent healthy eating trends, namely the juicing craze.
According to the Journal of American Medicine, “the term ‘juicing’ or ‘juice cleanse’ usually refers to a period of 3–10 days when a person’s diet consists mainly of fruit and vegetable juices. It is widely marketed as providing health benefits, including weight loss, flushing toxins from the body and increasing energy.”
A 2015 report by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains that 76 percent of U.S. adults do not consume the daily fruit intake that is recommended, and 87 percent do not meet the daily vegetable intake recommendations. The CDC’s goal is to have at least 75 percent of Americans consuming two or more servings of fruit a day, and 50 percent eating three or more vegetables.
For these reasons and others, juicing has become prevalent in the last few years and does not appear to be losing its momentum. Despite this popularity, however, not everyone is on board.
Taylor Beckman, a sophomore volleyball player at Westmont College, said, “As an athlete, juicing doesn’t give you enough calories or nutrition to give me substantial endurance. I can juice and eat other foods too, but I cannot and will not just juice. It is a cleanse and with me working out and burning 2,000 calories a day, it does not give me enough calories to sustain my active lifestyle.”
Not every athlete stays away from juicing, though.
David Harris, a senior track and field athlete at Northwest Nazarene University, said, “I am an athlete, therefore I need to keep my body energized and hydrated. I believe I can do this with the nutrients from both fruits and vegetables from juicing.”
Juicing has become so popular that grocery stores such as Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods have started carrying cold-pressed juice. These plant-packed juices are available on-the-go to help people with busy lives receive the health benefits of juicing. Airports and coffee shops have also started to sell juices filled with fruits and vegetables.
Juicing can be a good way to add more fruits and vegetables into your eating habits, but think first before grabbing a juice every morning on the way to work. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a juice may contain more calories than one would think, which is important to know when managing your weight.
And although these juices can be filling, drinking them is not the same as eating a meal. The USDA states that trying to subsist on juice alone will not provide your body enough nutrition. You will be missing key nutrients if you forgo other food items and only drink cold-pressed juice.
While juicing remains somewhat controversial, the health pros and cons of it depend largely on how you incorporate juices into your diet. “Juicing in moderation can help you consume essentials nutrients, but it’s not a good way to detox or diet,” wrote Jacque Wilson in a CNN.com article. In other words, as a supplement to other healthy eating choices, juicing may be a helpful way to get closer to those CDC guidelines.