Nutrition Myth-Busting Part 2: Attack of the green juice

imagesGreen juice is no longer a trend. It’s everywhere. These magical potions are touted for their health benefits – after all, look how many pounds of kale can fit into a tiny bottle! And it seems to be a healthy, convenient way to get your nutrients, in a portable, easy package, right??

Wrong.

I hate to rain on your juice parade, but green juice ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. The main reason – FIBER! Unfortunately, a big part of the juicing process is removing fibers that are naturally present in vegetables. Fiber is provides structure to a fruit or vegetable. Fibers are like the beams that hold up a house – without them, the house will fall down.

Why is fiber so important? Fiber is best known for its contribution to intestinal health. Certain fibers slow intestinal transit time, meaning that food moves through the digestive system more slowly. This allows your digestive system to absorb more vitamins and nutrients and has the added benefit of giving you more satiety from your meal. What you may not know, is that fiber also helps control blood sugar. Because fibers help food move more slowly throughout the digestive system, sugars that are naturally present in fruit and vegetables are more slowly incorporated into circulation, which leads to a mild rise in blood sugar, rather than a sharp spike. This not only helps you stay more energized throughout the day, but over the longterm, may help prevent Type 2 Diabetes.

Fiber also helps mop up excess cholesterol that is floating in your body’s circulation. This prevents reabsorption of cholesterol, which in turn lowers LDL “bad” cholesterol and reduces your risk for developing heart disease. 

Which brings me back to my original point. When you drink juice, you’re drinking plenty of vitamins and nutrients, but you’re also drinking a lot of sugar. Because the fiber is taken out to create juice, this sugar is digested much more quickly, leading to a sharp spike in your blood sugar.

My advice? A green juice every now and then won’t kill you. But try drinking it with some fat or protein on the side – like a hardboiled egg or a handful of nuts. Protein and fat both help slow digestion. When you have the option, go for a green smoothie instead. The best idea?? If you really want to get all the fabulous fiber benefits…. 

EAT YOUR GREENS!!

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p.s. Just a side note to my lovely readers! I have heard through the grapevine that some people who were subscribed before I updated my site are now unsubscribed!  What a bummer!! But have no fear — if you want to get my blog as soon as it is posted, just click the blue link right below my picture on the upper right corner that says “Follow the Gotham Skinny”. Now you’re all set.

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2 Comments

    • sgelman says:

      Generally, I would go for the real thing (fresh fruits an veggies) rather than mixing fiber powder in. Fiber powders tend to be pretty processed and can often cause an upset stomach too.

      Like

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