Fruits and vegetables are vital to our body, but because no single fruit or vegetable contains all the nutrients that the body needs, variety is as important as quantity. Whether you enjoy eating fruits and veggies or not, juicing can be a good way to incorporate fruits and vegetables into your diet.
In this article, we will take an in-depth look at juicing and diabetes. Aside from the pros and cons of juicing, we will also take a comprehensive look at the life of a diabetic, learn how diabetes can be controlled, and find out whether juicing can be good for diabetes or not.
Is A Juice Diet The Same As Juicing?
Before we get into the details, it is important to note that juicing is different from a juice diet.
A juice diet is based on consuming a variety of juiced fruits and vegetables during a period of time — whether it is called a juicing diet, juice cleanse, juice fast, or juice detox. Many juice diets require one to abstain from eating any kind of food and to only drink juice throughout the duration of the diet. However, some juice diets also allow eating particular solid foods in addition to drinking fruit and vegetable juices. Aside from those, individuals on a juice diet are also restricted from consuming too many calories, which often leads to rapid weight loss. Then again, health experts say to expect a rebound effect once you go back to your normal diet.
The Art of Juicing: What Is It?
On the other hand, juicing is the process of extracting juices—from fruits, vegetables, or both—through the use of a juicer. The juice obtained contains most of the vitamins, minerals, plant chemicals, and essential nutrients found in the fruits and veggies. However, the healthy dietary fiber that whole fruits and vegetables contain is often lost during juicing. For this reason, health experts generally recommend juicing as a complement to your diet instead of making it a replacement for actual food.
Some juicing advocates believe that juicing fruits and vegetables makes it easier for the body to absorb their nutrients better. And, they also believe that it gives the digestive system a break from digesting fiber. However, there is no clinical proof or evidence to support this claim. Thus, health experts generally advise against juice diets, especially as it is not for everyone. Another thing to note is that juicing and blending are not the same.
If you decide to try it, whether for weight loss or wellness, juicing advocates recommend making only as much juice as you can drink. Since freshly squeezed juice is unpasteurized, harmful bacteria can grow quickly and lead to infections. If you do not own a juicer and instead plan to drink store-bought fresh juice, make sure to buy a pasteurized product.
Also, it is important to note that some fruits and vegetables are better used for juicing than others. For instance, orange juice is easier to make than bananas as it contains more liquid. To help you out, here are the 10 best fruits for juicing. Likewise, some veggies should not be juiced, while some fruits should not be juiced together.
Juicing Pros: Why Do People Do It?
Health enthusiasts believe that juicing provides many benefits for the human body. For example, you might have read that juicing lowers the risk of cancer, but that is not necessarily true. The antioxidants that fruits and vegetables contain are what help prevent some cancers, not juicing.
However, while some are merely exaggerations, juicing does provide many health benefits. The following are just some of these benefits.
Juicing aids digestion
Although fruits and vegetables often lose their soluble fiber in the juicing process, veggie and fruit juice consumption can help you avoid bloating and indigestion. If stomach problems are a regular occurrence to you, juicing can provide you some relief.
It helps you lose weight
Juicing can make you more conscious of your diet. Making a constant effort to incorporate fruits and vegetables into your diet can help you avoid higher-calorie food and drinks. Aside from that, some fruits and veggies also make it easier for the body to burn fat.
You can drink juice on the go
Some fruits and vegetables can be convenient snacks to eat on the road—such as apples and carrot sticks, but some are not—like beets. You can also bring salads easily, but they are not convenient to eat on the road. In the liquid form, however, fruit juice and vegetable juice can be easily bought and drank anywhere.
It boosts the immune system
Fruit and vegetable juice retain most of their vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients even after juicing. Thus, drinking fruit and veggie juice is an easy way to consume all of these nutrients.
Juicing keeps you hydrated
Health experts recommend drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day. However, sometimes it can be hard to do so. Fruit and vegetable juice is a good equivalent—not only does it taste better, but it also contains vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that water does not.
Juicing Cons: When Is It Bad?
However, just as juicing has its pros, there are also some cons to it. Here are some of them:
Fiber is often lost during the juicing process
Although fruits and vegetables retain most of their healthy contents, fiber is not one of them. Soluble fiber is usually found in the pulp, which is often left behind when juicing. Thus, juicing enthusiasts suggest including the pulp in other recipes.
Juicing increases sugar intake
Fruit and vegetable juice often concentrates the sweetest part of the produce, which can increase sugar intake. For example, an entire apple has about 10g of sugar in it. 10g is not much, but when you juice 5 or more apples to get enough apple juice, that sugar content quickly multiplies.
Juicing can be expensive
The cost of juicing varies greatly depending on which fruits and vegetables you will juice. For instance, to get the same amount of juice, fewer watery fruits and veggies are needed than those with less water content. Plus, you will have to factor in the cost of buying a juicer if you do not own one yet.
A lot of the produce goes to waste
Once you have tried juicing, you will know just how much non-juice content goes to waste. Granted, juicing enthusiasts say you can use leftover pulp for some recipes, but not everyone takes the time to do so.
Juicing takes time
It is easy to bring fruit and vegetable juice on the go, but it is not nearly as easy to make it. You will need to prep the ingredients, do the actual juicing, and then clean up the mess after everything is done. On the other hand, cutting up raw fruits and veggies is much easier.
If you want to try juicing, remember to consult your doctor before doing so. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide if the pros outweigh the cons.
What Is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic illness that affects how well the body can turn food into energy. It occurs when your blood sugar levels, also called blood glucose, are too high.
Blood glucose is the body’s main source of energy. It comes from the food we eat, which the body breaks down and releases into the bloodstream. When our blood sugar levels go up, our pancreas sees it as a signal to release insulin. Then, this hormone helps the glucose from food get into our cells so we can use it as energy.
The bodies of people who have diabetes are unable to produce enough insulin on their own or cannot use insulin well enough. Because of this, their bodies lack insulin or their cells stop responding to insulin. As a result, too much glucose stays in the bloodstream without reaching the cells, causing blood glucose levels to increase.
Over time, this high level of glucose in the blood can cause serious health problems, and it can damage your nerves, eyes, kidneys, and other organs.
On the other hand, having low blood pressure levels (hypoglycemia) can result in hunger, weakness, dizziness, headaches, anxiety, irritability, or even serious complications such as seizures, loss of consciousness, or death.
Warning Signs of Diabetes
Diabetes, like any other disease, has warning signs and symptoms. These may occur over time, or they may appear suddenly. However, some cases never experience any obvious warning signs at all. After all, diabetes can develop over the course of many years, and the warning signs you experience may be subtle.
There are various types of diabetes, but all types have common warning signs. Here are the general warning signs of diabetes:
- extreme thirst
- unexplained weight loss
- dry mouth
- extreme hunger
- frequent urination
- irritable behavior
- blurred vision
- wounds do not heal quickly
- dry or itchy skin
- frequent infections
Diabetes is the ninth leading cause of death worldwide. As such, you should consult your doctor if you are at risk. Of course, having a few of the warning signs does not necessarily mean you have diabetes. However, the earlier the condition is diagnosed, the sooner treatment can begin.
Types of Diabetes
There are several types of diabetes, but four of them are the most common. Two out of the four types are considered chronic diabetes, while the other two are considered potentially reversible.
Type 1 Diabetes
Health experts consider type 1 diabetes as an autoimmune disease—the body’s immune system attacks the cells in the pancreas by mistake. As a result, the body produces very little to no insulin. Although it is usually diagnosed in children, adolescents, and young adults, it can appear at any age.
Currently, it is less common, and there is no known way to prevent this type. Approximately 5-10% of diabetics have type 1 diabetes. Furthermore, people with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin injections every day to keep their blood glucose levels under control and survive.
Type 2 Diabetes
People with type 2 diabetes are unable to use insulin well. As a result, their bodies are unable to keep their blood sugar at normal levels on their own. Roughly 90 to 95 percent of diabetics have this type. It usually develops over many years, and it is commonly diagnosed in adults. Furthermore, warning signs can be subtle so it is important to monitor your blood sugar if you are at risk.
Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 can be delayed or even prevented by living a healthy lifestyle. This often includes staying fit, eating a healthy, balanced diet, and being physically active. However, most people with type 2 diabetes do not do so and end up needing oral drugs, insulin, or both to keep their blood sugar levels under control.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that more than 1 in 3 American adults have prediabetes and are unaware of it. Prediabetes is a condition wherein blood sugar levels are higher than normal but are not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes.
Prediabetes increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, but the good news is that it can be reversed by changing one’s lifestyle for the better. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that anyone who has been diagnosed with pre-diabetes gets tested every year.
This type of diabetes is diagnosed through prenatal screening instead of reported symptoms. Gestational diabetes develops in some pregnant women who have never had diabetes. Furthermore, women diagnosed with gestational diabetes are at a higher risk of complications during pregnancy and delivery.
Most of the time, gestational diabetes goes away after the baby is born. However, women with this type of diabetes and their children are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes in the future. Because of this, the ADA advises women who have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes to be tested for diabetes every three years.
The Life Of A Diabetic: How Can Diabetes Be Controlled?
Although experts have not yet found a cure for diabetes, diabetics can take steps to manage their blood sugar levels and stay healthy. In general, doctors advise people with diabetes to maintain a healthy weight, eat a balanced diet, and stay physically active. Aside from those, taking prescribed medications as needed and attending regular health care appointments can reduce the impact of diabetes on one’s life.
If you are diagnosed with diabetes, you will also need to follow a meal plan created by your doctor. Typically, this meal plan contains a specific amount from a variety of healthy food, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins, and non-fat or low-fat dairy. Bitter gourd, also known as bitter melon, is generally good for diabetics as eating it can lower blood sugar. Because of this, juicing advocates suggest that drinking bitter melon juice can lower your blood glucose level.
Furthermore, doctors generally advise against adding sugar and other sweeteners such as honey and say they should be consumed in moderation. However, if your diabetes has been well-managed, you can talk to your doctor about adding sweeteners like honey to your diet. Pure, organic honey or raw natural honey does not contain added sugar, making it safer for people with diabetes.
Can Juicing Be Good For Diabetes?
As we learned above, juicing can increase sugar intake. What your juice contains can make a big difference in its sugar content. Fruits generally contain more natural sugar and calories than vegetables do. Thus, drinking some types of pure fruit juice can lead to a blood sugar spike, which experts say can increase the risk for diabetes.
However, that does not mean that juicing is bad. You can keep the sugar content low by juicing mainly non-starchy and low-carbohydrate vegetables and then adding fruit if you want a little sweetness. Alternatively, you can also juice low-sugar fruits, such as lemons, limes, cucumbers, and grapefruits.
In contrast, a 2017 study found that repeated consumption of 100% fruit juice does not have a significant effect on insulin resistance. This finding suggests that 100% fruit juice made from apples, berries, citrus, grapes, or pomegranate neither increases nor decreases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
If you have diabetes, you know how vital it is to consult your doctor about any changes to your diet. Juicing can be good for diabetics because some fruits have antioxidants and phytonutrients that can help you lower your blood sugar levels. However, experts recommend drinking juice only as part of a healthy, balanced diet—especially for diabetics. With this in mind, your doctor can help you incorporate juicing into your diabetes management plan.
Remember, juicing can be good for people with diabetes as long as they consult a doctor. As such, experts generally advise against diabetics juicing on their own.
Sample Recipes For Diabetics
When juicing, you should carefully select the right ingredients. People with diabetes need to focus on lowering their insulin resistance, and high-fiber meal plans are best for this. Fiber plays a huge role in slowing down the body’s absorption of sugar, which is why diabetics can eat whole fruits and vegetables but must watch the juice they drink.
When you make a juice, it is important to have a variety of ingredients to ensure that it contains plenty of nutrients. Typically, juicing advocates say that drinking celery juice, cucumber juice, aloe vera juice, lemon juice, kale juice, and citrus juices can lower a person's blood sugar level. However, while there are many options to choose from, experts recommend sticking to one fruit per glass of juice.
The following fruits have a high glycemic index, which means they contain lots of natural sugar. So, experts advise diabetics to avoid these:
First-timers may find it difficult to balance the nutrients when juicing, so here are some sample juicing recipes to help you out.
This green juice will provide vitamin C, giving your immune system a boost and making you feel refreshed after drinking it. This healthy juice contains:
- Green apple
It is delicious, low in sugar, and loaded with antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, and other essential nutrients; so give it a try.
If you want a change from the usual green juice, try making this spiced tomato juice. It is easy to make and cool yet spicy.
Here is what it contains:
- Tomato juice
- Onion powder
- Wine vinegar
- Sweetener, optional
This recipe yields a refreshing juice that has few carbs, but is packed with nutrients. This green juice contains:
- Green apple
It has a light, minty flavor that will refresh you and help you lower your blood sugar levels. Plus, drinking it will help reduce inflammation and promote brain health.
Juicing and Diabetes: The Bottom Line
Juicing is an easy way to add more fruits and veggies into your diet. If you have diabetes, remember to consult your doctor before trying out juicing. In addition, you can also consult a dietitian who can help you incorporate juicing into your meal plan. Many experts generally advise against juicing when you have diabetes, but juicing can be good for diabetics when done right and in moderation.
Aside from that, it is important to note that juicing can be expensive. However, choosing to drink home-made juices rather than drinking store-bought ones can make it more affordable.
Most importantly, to make juicing as healthy as possible, keep a close eye on the glycemic load, calorie, sugar, and fiber content of all juice you drink. Choosing vegetable-based juices, low-sugar fruit juices, and paying attention to portion sizes are a few more ways to maintain your blood sugar levels after drinking juice.
If you want to consume the fiber from fruits and vegetables as well, experts suggest giving blending smoothies a try instead.