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Is Juicing Healthy for Me and My Child?

Juice shops are popping up in major cities, you can get '7 Day Juice Fasts' delivered to your door and home juicers are likely flying off the shelves.

What is juice?

Essentially juice is sugar-water with some vitamins. It is fruit and veggies, without the fibre. And considering most North Americans get 10g of fibre per day instead of the recommended 25 -35 g, I'm not sure why we would purposely remove the fibre from produce before consuming it. Yes, you can use the leftover produce pulp in baking, but I imagine most of it gets thrown out. And if consumed as the entire meal or snack, juice is unbalanced as most contain very little protein or fat. I'd rather drink a smoothie, containing the whole fruit or veggie plus some protein and fat (from hemp, pasteurized egg whites, chia, flax, yogurt, nut butter or milk).

If your juice is mostly fruit, it always shocks people to hear that fruit juice contains the same amount of sugar as pop. And the "but it's natural sugar" argument doesn't stand up - sugar is sugar. And while I would never encourage someone to avoid fruit due to the sugar (as it's packaged along with the fibre to slow down the digestion), I would recommend limiting fruit juice. To max 1/2 a cup a per day. Whether it's the cheap apple juice from the grocery store or the $12 cup from the juice bar. Note - If your juice contains mostly vegetables (and you wouldn't be consuming them throughout the day in any other form), then of course it contains less sugar and might be a good addition to your diet.

Is juice useful for cleansing or weight loss?

What about a shorter term juice fast for ridding your body of toxins?  Your body detoxes on its own. And no, that headache and weakness along with the shakes is not your body "detoxing" after drinking only juice for a week. It's lack of calories - on top of a minimal to zilch protein, fat and mineral intake. And if you're hoping to lose weight while on a juice cleanse or fast, you probably will. Any 500 calorie diet will do that. Along with slowing down your metabolism, causing you go re-gain the lost weight and more once you resume a normal eating pattern.

Can I feed my juice to my child?

A surprising number of clients recently have asked me if they can feed their baby or child the juice they make at home. With so many positive health claims, parents are wondering if it's healthy to feed their baby or child juice. The same goes as for adults - it's better for your child to eat the full fruit or veggie than to drink them.  Especially for a young baby, as their foods should be more fat and calorie-dense than juice.

Struggling to get nutrients into your picky eater? Check out how we can help here.

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