Health or hype? UCF dietitian, local kitchen on juicing
Swapping forks for straws, some students are embracing the juicing trend as a new way of consuming daily servings of fruits and vegetables.
Juicing proponents argue that the process extracts most of the vitamins, minerals and plant chemicals from whole fruits and vegetables into liquid form, making it easier and faster for the digestive system to process and absorb the nutrients that are extracted.
While other suggested benefits of juicing include weight loss, a stronger immune system and reduced risks of cancer, there is currently no scientific evidence to back any of these claims, according to the Mayo Clinic, a nonprofit medical practice.
UCF dietician Astrid Volpert said that a potential drawback of juicing is that the added benefit of plant fibers is taken away when fruits and vegetables are juiced. "The issue is that when you juice, fiber in the pulp is removed. If not added back to the juice or used in cooking, your diet ends up low in fiber and high in simple natural sugars that are extracted from the fruit or the vegetables," Volpert said. Volpert also said that another solution to the lack of fiber from juicing is to make a smoothie so that the pulp isn't removed.
Yet for students who don't enjoy eating whole fruits and vegetables, juicing may be the only alternative to receive these nutrients. Taylor Selbe, a senior double majoring in art history and anthropology, juices her nutrients as a beneficial and flavorful substitute.
"Personally, I really hate eating fruits and vegetables," Selbe said. "I think it's a really good way for people who don't want to eat vegetables or fruits to drink their nutrients."
Selbe, who currently works at Skyebird Juice Bar & Experimental Kitchen at the East End Market in Winter Park, said that her favorite recipe is Skyebird's "Garden Greens," a mixture of kale, celery, cucumber, apple, lemon and ginger.
Skyebird manager Liz Hughes said that while any fruit or vegetable can be juiced, individuals should be wary about the sugar content of some fruit. Juicing fruit can also take away the added benefits of its healthy fibers, so it is generally advised to eat whole fruit and juice vegetables.
She also said that green vegetables — such as kale, cucumber and spinach — pack the most nutrients and are the most beneficial. Her favorite recipe is Skyebird's mixture of watermelon, orange juice, lime and mint, dubbed "The Lizzie" after her name.
Nathan Jagoda, a sophomore majoring in sociology, said he plans on giving the juicing trend a try for himself.
"[It's] a great way to obtain the nutrients from multiple fruits and veggies all at once without having to worry about any artificial flavoring or chemicals that are typically found in standard juices that are bought from the store," Jagoda said.
The first recipe he plans on trying out will be a concoction of blackberries, kiwi fruit, pears, pineapple and peppermint leaves.
Whether for the supposed health benefits, the convenience or for the people who often used to miss out on dessert because they never ate their broccoli, juicing is a quick and easy way to consume a daily serving of fruits and vegetables.
Eric Gutierrez is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow him on Twitter @atticus_adrift or email him at EricG@CentralFloridaFuture.com.