October 28, 2013 8:58 pm
Updated: October 29, 2013 12:33 am

The skinny on juicing: what you should know

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EDMONTON – Juicing may not be new, but the demand for green juice has certainly been growing. Many have been turning to the nutritional trend as an easy way to meet their daily dose of fruits and vegetables.

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“The volume of produce that goes into one of these juices is incredible. It’s huge piles. So we know that there’d be no way you could sit down and have a massive salad like this and expect to have any time in your day to do anything else…you’d just be eating salad all day,” said Marnie Ashcroft, the owner of Glow Juicery in Edmonton.

The store opened its doors in Whitemud Crossing at the end of September and has seen a steady increase in business since. It sells about 120 bottles a day (at $8 each), and Ashcroft thinks that volume will double in the next few months.

Among their ingredients are everything from cucumbers, celery, spinach, and kale to apples, pears, and ginger – with the focus being on the green fruits and vegetables.

“That’s where you’re going to get the true alkalizing, and detoxifiying benefits of the vegetables,” Ashcroft explains.

But she’s quick to admit that juicing shouldn’t be the only way you get your fruits and veggies, and advises customers to use the juice as a supplement, rather than a replacement.

Registered dietician Heidi Bates agrees. She explains that juicing can strip away a food’s dietary fibre, which is something you need to feel full.

“And the fibre piece is really important for good health. So you do kind of lose that.”

That’s not the only potential downside of juicing.

“The other thing is that it may actually work out to be more expensive – because to make a juice where you’re going to add a little bit of a whole bunch of things, it starts to become kind of pricey to put it all together,” Bates adds.

“And fresh juices have a limited shelf life – they are not going to stay forever – they haven’t been pasteurized so you need to be drinking them pretty quickly.”

She explains that juices are low in fat – which you still need for a healthy body – and not a particularly great source of protein.

If you’re adding ingredients like protein powder or yogurt to your juices, Bates says that could be serve as more of “nutritionally balanced” liquid meal. But sugar-free protein powers can get pricey, and adding yogurts or too much fruit (even though it’s natural sugar) can increase the calorie level of your juice or smoothie.

The bottom line: juicing can be great nutrition for people who don’t eat enough fruits and veggies. Bates’ advice, though: don’t use it as a replacement for solid food.

With files from Su-Ling Goh, Global News

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