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Juicing for your health? Ingredients matter

July 11, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Go to a juice bar and you can order up all sorts of produce combinations. But just how healthy are they? You are certainly getting a good deal of one nutrition component, but sorely missing some others.

Registered dietitian Susan Dopart's client wanted to do a juice cleanse, and even though juices contain a powerhouse of produce, she's not a fan.

"She came in before she was starting it to sort of get my OK, but she didn't get my OK," said Dopart.

That's because juicing offers the carbohydrate portion of the fruit or vegetable, but leaves the fiber behind. And that translates to sugar to your body.

"So they're just drinking a lot of juice and juice is equal to soda," said Dopart.

Dopart analyzed her client's juice plan containing kale, carrot, ginger, apple, cucumber and the like.

"When we saw the raw data and looked at the numbers, it actually totaled up to over 240 grams of carbohydrate per day," said Dopart. "So if you're consuming 240 grams of unopposed carbohydrate, it's equal to 15 to 16 slices of bread."

A juice blend of apple, carrot, and spinach has 100 grams of carbs -- or seven slices of bread. A kale and grape combo? Eight slices of bread.

It's hard to wrap your head around the dynamics, so break it down like this: with that load of carbs, your blood sugar will skyrocket, then plummet.

Another problem: a chemical found in plants called phytate interferes with the absorption of nutrients like calcium, zinc and iron in your digestive tract. Drink large amounts of juice too often, and you could be missing important minerals.

Foods containing a load of nutrients by and large lack balance -- a lack of protein and fat.

"A better solution would be to have a smoothie that would have unsweetened almond milk, flaxseed, maybe one vegetable, one fruit, a little bit of protein powder," said Dopart.

In other words, you want a protein and fat along with that produce.


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