Is Homemade Juice Good For You?
There is a lot of controversy about juicing at home these days and this question keeps coming up, with facts and opinions on both sides of the argument. This article will present both the benefits and the drawbacks of making juice at home so that you can make an informed decision regarding “Is Homemade Juice Good For You?”.
What is Homemade Juice?
Let’s first define some of the terms involved in order to avoid confusion as I present the various arguments.
Homemade juice is the product of squeezing or pressing fruit and/or vegetables either manually or mechanically in order to extract the juice from the pulp at a home as opposed to a factory. Home can include your local farmer’s home as well as your own.
Smoothies are made in a blender by crushing and liquifying the produce. The fibrous pulp of the fruits and vegetables is mixed with the liquid juice.
Store bought juice is processed in a factory where preservatives, artificial flavors, sugar, vitamins, and minerals may be added to improve the taste, shelf life and nutritional value of the product.
General Juice Nutrition
Fruit and vegetable juices contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes, natural sugar (fructose), and other nutrients. They contain no fat and little if any protein.
Factors that affect the amounts of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients include heat, introduced by cooking or processing, and storage time.
Always check with your doctor to see if juicing is right for you. We are all individuals and react differently. Too much of a good thing could be harmful, e.g. Vitamin K from Kale and Spinach can affect how the blood thinner Warfarin works. Reference: WebMD Juicing: How Healthy Is It?
Is Homemade Juice Good For You? Benefits
Proponents of homemade juice point out the benefits of making your own juice at home that include:
- Cost – homemade juice is generally cheaper than store-bought juice. This depends on your ingredients and time of year. Offseason fruits and vegetables can get expensive while factories can buy large quantities during the growing season when they are much less expensive to be stored for later processing.
- Nutrition – most of the natural nutrition, of the fruits and veggies, remains in the juice when made at home and consumed soon after. Factory processing involves leaving large quantities of juice in containers until they can are packed and sealed in smaller containers. This oxidizes the juice degrading the nutrient value. This leads to the manufacturer adding preservatives and nutrients to counteract the loss in quality.
- Taste – when juicing at home you control the taste of your product by choosing the fruit and vegetable content that you like. Factory-produced juice is often enhanced with artificial flavors, artificial colors and added sugar for appearance and taste.
- Variety – when you make your own juice, you can experiment easily with different ingredients. This variety will add to your enjoyment and will lead to consuming more fruits and vegetables, something our modern diets are lacking. This benefit alone can outweigh many of the drawbacks of juicing.
Before reading about the drawbacks, watch this short video on how easy it is to make a super healthy “mean green juice” at home.
Is Homemade Juice Good For You? Drawbacks
Now for the other side of the argument. Why is homemade juice not so good for you?
- Shelf life – fresh juice, although it tastes better because it is fresh, oxidizes quickly. There are no preservatives to prevent this and even refrigerating the juice doesn’t stop the process. Depending on the type of juicer used you must consume fresh juice within 30 minutes (centrifugal juicers), or 72 hours (cold-press and masticating juicers).
- Fiber – valuable fiber is lost by extracting the juice from the pulp. This is true of both homemade and factory produced juice. This is where smoothies have it all over juice. But eating the produce raw wins hands down. Eating raw fruits and vegetables is the best way of reaping the benefits of the fiber. A way to overcome this drawback is to save the pulp, freeze it if necessary, and use it later in recipes such as soups, broths, trail mix, muffins, etc. (There are claims that drinking juice without fiber is beneficial in detoxifying and giving the body’s digestive system a rest. So far, there is no scientific evidence to back up this claim. Also, most modern diets are deficient in fiber).
- Sugar – the sugar content of homemade juice is the same before and after the juicing process. However, the more easily digested sugar in juice results in a rapid increase in your blood sugar level. If you are diabetic or watching your weight, this has a negative effect on your goals. In either case, you should control the sugar content by mixing fruits with veggies to dilute the sugar content. But, if you are not trying to limit your sugar intake then go ahead enjoy your fruit juice.
- Weight – one of the drawbacks to drinking juice instead of eating a meal is that a liquid doesn’t give you the same feeling of fullness that comes from consuming whole foods. This leads to feeling hungry sooner and snacking to get you through to your next meal. If you don’t watch out, the extra calories from snacking will cause you to gain weight.
Is Homemade Juice Good For You? Conclusion
Well, we have 4 pros and 4 cons; is this a tie? Let’s break down the negatives:
- If you are going to drink juice, homemade is better than factory-produced on the basis of cost, taste, variety, and nutrition. The only problem is shelf life, so if you are going to make it yourself, consume it as soon as possible.
- Juicing takes out the fiber from raw produce. Smoothies keep the fiber in. Raw fruits and smoothies are thus better for you in this regard. Save that pulp and use it in your cooking or find another source of fiber to supplement your diet.
- If you are on a diet or are diabetic avoid consuming too much fruit juice on its own. Drink vegetable juice or mixed fruit and veggie juice with high fiber foods.
- Count those calories. Juice is good for you but if gaining weight is a problem, exercise restraint.
As long as you counteract the drawbacks, juicing at home can be very healthy.
Hopefully, this has helped convince you that the answer is yes to the question “is homemade juice good for you?”
Now read my juicer reviews to find out which type is the best for you:
- Centrifugal Juicer Reviews
- Masticating Single Screw Juicer Reviews
- Twin Gear Masticating Juicer Reviews
- Champion Juicer Reviews
Do you have an opinion? Join the discussion. Leave your comments or questions below and I will get back to you.