Eat Your Fruits and Veggies (Don’t Drink Them)

We often think of a nice tall glass of fresh fruit or vegetable juice – or a blend of both – as synonymous with health and vitality.

But is juicing as healthy as it’s thought to be?

Maybe not.

It turns out that there are compelling reasons to eat your fruits and vegetables whole rather than drink them. Here’s a deeper look into juicing.

What Is Juicing?

Juicing is simply the act of using a machine (juicer) to extract juice from fresh fruits and vegetables while leaving the fibrous material behind.

Juicing undoubtedly offers an efficient way to get loads of important nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and polyphenols (with high antioxidant power).

For example, a cup of kale juice is the juice of an entire bunch of kale, one cup of apple juice is the juice of three apples, and a glass of celery juice is made from four or five celery stalks. You can get a lot of concentrated nutrition with juicing, and blending juices provides an even wider array of phytonutrients.

It sounds wonderful, but it turns out to be more complicated.

Is Juicing Good or Bad?

The truth is juicing isn’t wholly good or bad. There are both benefits and risks associated with juicing. They’re important to know in order to discern the truth from the hype.

Starting on a positive note, here’s what’s great about juicing:

Positives of Juicing

Quick and Easy Consumption

When you consider that only 12.3% of surveyed U.S. adults consume the recommended two servings of fruits a day, and only 10% consume the recommended three servings of vegetables, according to recent data, juicing can be an effective way for people who don’t like fruits or vegetables, or don’t have the time to eat them, to get more of them into their diet.

Delivers Loads of Vital Nutrients

A fruit or vegetable juice or juice blend can deliver a powerful dose of important vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. Fruits and veggies are rich in polyphenols, which have many health benefits such as protective antioxidant properties, antibacterial and immune-support effects, and more.

Can Help Promote Health

The nutrients and phytochemicals in fruits and veggies offer many additional health benefits. For example, celery juice is a big trend at the moment. Research shows that celery itself has anti-inflammatory properties and may also support healthy blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.

Another example, beet greens and beets are rich in vasodilating nitrates that can help relax veins and improve blood flow, which supports healthy blood pressure and optimal brain health.

Juicing may have positive influences on the gut microbiome, according to one small study.

Good for People Digestive Issues and Low-fiber Diets

Since the plant fiber is taken out of the juice, it gives your digestive system a rest. With certain medical conditions where an individual is prescribed a low-fiber diet, this can be beneficial. Juicing can break down the cell walls of certain fruits and veggies, making them easier to digest.


Fresh juice is wonderfully hydrating. Some fruits are rich in electrolytes like potassium and natural sugars that may entice water and nutrients into cells.

Negatives of Juicing

Now let’s take a look at some of the drawbacks of juicing. Here’s why you might want to limit the amount of juice you consume, preferring to eat whole fruits and vegetables instead:

The Fiber Factor

Medical experts generally suggest eating whole fruits and vegetables over juicing for one very important reason: Juice contains little to no fiber.

On average, American adults consume 40% or less of the USDA’s recommended daily fiber intake. If you choose to juice, you miss out on getting that very important fiber, critical to gut health, healthy blood sugar levels, satiety, and more.

Additionally, certain phytochemicals are contained in the fiber of fruits and veggies. When you remove the fiber through juicing, you lose some of those nutrients too.

Fiber is important for healthy digestion and helping to maintain healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

When you strip out the fiber, the sugar content from the fruit (and certain vegetables) acts more like refined sugar in your body. It also can be highly caloric. Consider a glass of juice made from 5 fruits. It can quickly add up to 500 calories and more than 100 grams of sugar.

If you consume a large amount of juice, it’s possible to get sugar rushes, crashes, and cravings. For people with blood sugar issues, it can be potentially dangerous.

Fiber provides a feeling of fullness. If you eat your fruits and vegetables, you’ll be more satiated. With juice, you’ll be hungry again sooner.

Disordered Eating

The purported (and largely unsubstantiated) “detox” and weight loss benefits associated with juicing can create disordered eating or make it worse, research has found. It’s also not good for mental health. The drastic weight loss that goes with a liquid cleanse diet is short-lived and can be dangerous too.

Other Risks

The juice from fruits and vegetables typically contains concentrated levels of phytochemicals, which can pose risks. They can interact with medications or cause problems on their own.

For example, beets and spinach are high in oxalate, a compound that can increase an individual’s risk of kidney problems when it’s consumed in large quantities.

Additionally, if your fresh juice isn’t consumed right away, bacteria can breed and increase the risk for foodborne illness too.

5 Tips for Healthy Juicing and Other Options

Following these tips will help to offset some risks of juicing:

  1. Talk to Your Doctor

If you want to do a juice fast or make juicing a regular activity, experts advise that you check in with your medical doctor first.

  1. Juice in Small Amounts

Moderate consumption (defined as ½ cup) of fresh vegetable or fruit juice is safe for most people.

  1. Include Fresh Vegetables or Water

If you choose to juice, use more vegetables (especially greens) and low-sugar fruit like berries or green apples. This will help keep the sugar content of your juice down. You also can dilute your fruit juice with water, which will provide a larger quantity but with less sugar content.

  1. Consume Juice Right Away

To minimize the risk of foodborne illness, consume fresh juice right away.

  1. Choose Smoothies Over Juicing

Make smoothies with whole fruits and vegetables, ice, and/or unsweetened plant milk. With a smoothie, you don’t lose any of the fiber of your fruits or vegetables. You also can add in other macronutrients like protein (yogurt or powder) and healthy fat (avocado, coconut oil, nut butters, flaxseeds, chia seeds, etc.) which will help to slow digestion, increase satiety, and support healthy blood sugar levels.

Eat Your Fruits and Vegetables

Unless you have a medical reason for juicing, relax and consume your fruits and vegetables whole (or enjoy them in a smoothie). You’ll get all the nutritional benefits they offer, the fiber, and none of the hassle (juicing is expensive and time-consuming) or potential health issues that can come with juicing.


At BrainMD, we’re dedicated to providing the highest purity nutrients to improve your physical health and overall well-being. For more information about our full list of brain healthy supplements, please visit us at BrainMD.

Kim Henderson