Juicing – Conflicting POVs
On Occasion, I’ve had friends, and a few readers, ask me to cover juicing. For a change of pace, instead of sharing my usual days-long, deep-dive into research analysis, I thought I would point out two recent articles. One with a video from the Today Show with Dr. Natalie Azar, and the other from a juicer manufacturer who consulted with Dr. Gillian Ehrlich. For full disclosure, the developer and owner of PURE Juicer (David Feinberg) is a friend of my husband’s.
To make certain that you can consider these POVs based on the concept of juicing alone, I won’t include the recent links I’ve gotten from American Test Kitchen on juicing recipes. They could sway you either into the “ooh, that’s fabulous” camp or the “ugh, that sounds terrible” one. The questions underlying the pro/cons here are several. Are there concerns with juicing? Is it healthy or risky? Is ‘detoxing’ a good thing? Is juicing the best way to do it? What do you need to consider in your own situation?
After referencing these two pieces, I’m going to include my personal take-aways. I warn you that these highlights are statements that struck me as I read the articles, they are not meant to be a full evaluation. Admittedly, on second reading, other points might stand out. Still, if you’ve ever considered juicing, or you do it now, or gave it up a while ago and your juicer is gathering dust, these articles bring up interesting food for thought.
Two Views on Art & Science of Juicing
First, a link to the Today Show and accompanying article.
Second, is the article by Dr. Gillian Ehrlich, on the blog at Pure Juicer. Link: “Is Juicing an Extreme Fad Diet? A Doctor’s Response” (purejuicer.com) posted April 26, 2023
My Personal Highlights
Here are some of the takeaways I had from each side of the issue.
Juicers with Caution
Juicers as Champions
“We don’t detox the liver; the liver detoxes us.”
Other options for detoxing – “switch to whole food, plant-based diet for a few days.”
OR try “Intermittent Fasting, which has lots of literature and good science behind it.”
(Note: Intermittent Fasting is often part of AgingWithPizzazz blogs.)
“Everything in moderation”
Re: possible dangers of fad diets and fad nutrition trends – “Certainly, anytime anyone wants to take part in any unique diet or nutrition program, they should always consult with their licensed nutritionist and with their physician in order to do that safely.”
Juicing could cause “oxalate kidney injury and the kidneys take a LONG time to recover,”
“oxalate kidney injury is not something that’s likely to affect the average person who is juicing as part of their breakfast, but… it’s important not to overdo it.”
“oxalate nephropathy, can be related to an inherited disorder of metabolism or intestinal malabsorption. “
[Note from drb: Oxalate Nephropathy can be defined as a syndrome of decreased renal function, with various associated effects.]
Re: a kidney oxalate problem – “… it can also be ingestion-related if a person eats excessive amounts of oxalate-rich foods such as leafy green vegetables, rhubarb, starfruit, nuts and soy products… particularly in the context of juicing diets,”
This ingested-related condition “is uncommon, says Dr. Joseph Vassalotti, chief medical officer of the National Kidney Foundation.”
Warning about those who “go headlong” into unhealthy oxalate-rich diets, no matter if they are healthy people or not, Dr. Biganll adds: “Do I think that people are putting themselves at undue risk by consuming one or two juiced vegetable or fruit drinks per day? No, the average person can consume a reasonable number of a couple juiced drinks per day.”
“Part of what makes us human is how we “process” our food through grinding, fermenting, and cooking to increase the availability of nutrients, for preservation, or for flavor…”
“It behooves all of us to attend to our metabolic waste baskets to ensure we’re continually eliminating what we might be eating, drinking or inhaling (like microplastics…)”.
“juicing is not right for everybody, at every time, at any dose – this is true.”
“there are people who treat juicing like a fad, but the truth is that squeezing liquid out of fruits and vegetables is a practice as old as our species and these foods themselves.
“It is absolutely true that many fresh fruits and veggies contain oxalates, and short of stopping all fruits and vegetables in your diet, you’re never going to rid yourself of oxalates.”
Re: Kidney stones related to oxalates –
“…some kidney stones form more in acidic urinary environments; many fresh fruits and vegetables are more alkaline and might actually counteract this total acidity in the body.… For prevention of calcium oxalate, cystine, and uric acid stones, urine should be alkalinized.”
Author points to a review from American Family Physician in which she explains it’s noted that “oxalate restriction is minimally effective and applies primarily to those with genetic mutations in the oxalate transporters.“
“Juice can allow for a higher gradient of micronutrients to be absorbed which can be elemental with GI issues associated with malabsorption”
Explaining situations of people taking in large quantities of water, Dr. Ehrlich adds:
“too much water can damage your kidneys, electrolyte balance, brain–and ultimately can be fatal.
I don’t think of these two points of view as totally ‘conflicting’ as the title suggests (“Conflicting POVs”). Instead, they are complimentary of each other, working together to help us answer the questions of “is juicing right for me personally? And if so, at what level, and how often?” The answer to the simple question of whether it’s a risk, seems to be generally NO. Still, certain people will need to keep juicing infrequent (not daily), while most of us merely need not overdo.
Then again, there are those of us (like me) with our ancient Champion Juicers hidden away. For us the bigger question is finding the time.
Title picture: The juicer from the PURE Juicer company
Today Show video link: https://www.today.com/health/diet-fitness/juicing-kidneys-oxalate-injury-rcna79995 and accompanying article: April 18, 2023, By A. Pawlowski
Article by Gillian Ehrlich at PURE Juicer: Is Juicing an Extreme Fad Diet? A Doctor’s Response (purejuicer.com)