Did you see the article “Green juice: drink your way to five a day” in The Guardian? Written by Katy Slater and published on Wednesday 18 September 2013 the article talks about juicing green leafy vegetables as the latest health-food trend and questions if it is really good for you, or just an expensive fad.
I found it interesting that this article started by saying “move over flat whites”. Internationally Starbucks has opened an average of two new stores per day since 1987. The world’s top coffee retailer, with revenues of over $13 billion in 2012 and 20,891 stores in 62 countries has clearly noticed the juice revolution is coming too. Starbucks now has a new chain of juice bars in the US in response to the growing health trend towards unprocessed and whole foods. In late 2011, the coffee giant also brought out Evolution Fresh, a juice company.
The article continues by talking about how drinks “with the colour and consistency of Labyrinth’s Bog of Eternal Stench” are emerging as the nation’s must-slurp beverage and how drinks made from leafy green vegetables are popping up on supermarket shelves. It always frustrates me when I read about bottled juices in these kinds of articles – common juicing mistake #1 is thinking bottled juices are the same as freshly made. This article does say a little later that most fruit juices sold commercially in the UK are pasteurised, adding a quote from nutritionist Vicki Edgson that says: “They’re heat-treated so they have a longer shelf life and no bacteria, but this means unfortunately a lot of the nutritional value is knocked out.” However, the article puts this in the context of why green juices are better than fruit juices and doesn’t really stress that bottled, pasteurised, green juices have also been robbed of their nutritional value.
The majority of juicers sold in the UK and worldwide are centrifugal juicers. The article in The Guardian talks about how a key difference between (fresh) green juice and traditional vegetable drinks (such as canned V8) is the technique used to extract the juice. It seems to imply that all green juices must be cold-pressed (using a slow / masticating juicer) and that traditional centrifugal juicers with their “fast-spinning blades that heat up as they whir” are no longer good enough. Whilst I agree that a slow juicer will produce a higher quality juice that will be able to be stored longer cold-pressing is definitely not essential. Let’s not forget that the reason the UK has seen a shortage of juicers this summer is almost certainly down to the documentary “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” being screened on Channel 5. The transformation in the film of both Joe Cross and Phil Staples demonstrates so clearly the benefit juicing can have on our health, so please do not let us forget that both Joe and Phil used centrifugal juicers!
Why do so many newspaper articles focus on fibre? This article asks “So is drinking a glass of green juice as good as eating the vegetables?” The response it give is “not quite”. This is qualified by registered dietician Iona Taylor who says: “You’ll get the vitamins and minerals but not the fibre. And the soluble fibre in vegetables is really good for your cholesterol and blood pressure.” Hang on, let me read that again, soluble fibre in vegetables is really good for your cholesterol and blood pressure. Soluble means able to be dissolved, so surely the soluble fibre is in the juice?
Nutritionist Vicki Edgson suggests avoiding both juicers, and using a powerful blender instead: “When you pulverise or blend with a Vitamix or similar blender, you get the benefits of the fibre as well. The blades go through everything.” She also goes on to say “You can put a lot more in a juice than you could sit and eat.” Believe me, if you are going to consume a lot more than you can eat you probably want to use a juicer to remove some of the bulking insoluble fibre – your body will thank you for it.
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