Sound­ing an alarm on juic­ing

Modern Healthcare - - OUTLIERS -

That $9 green juice might be rot­ting your teeth, spik­ing your blood su­gar and harm­ing your re­la­tion­ship with food, in ad­di­tion to emp­ty­ing your wal­let.

While bright-green elixirs of liq­ue­fied kale, cu­cum­ber, gin­ger and the like have be­come so pop­u­lar they’re threat­en­ing to sup­plant ar­ti­sanal cof­fee as the day­time bev­er­age of choice for well-heeled Amer­i­cans, med­i­cal ex­perts are ques­tion­ing whether drink­ing your veg­gies is a good idea.

One of the most prom­i­nent and force­ful voices against juic­ing is Dr. David Agus. Best known as the physi­cian who coun­seled for­mer Ap­ple CEO Steve Jobs through his cancer treat­ment, Agus is a pro­fes­sor at the Univer­sity of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia’s Keck School of Medicine.

He says the act of squeez­ing fruit and veg­gies to smithereens in the juicer ex­poses the flesh to air, in­stantly be­gin­ning the process of ox­i­da­tion and degra­da­tion of nu­tri­ents. “Most of the nu­tri­ents are very sen­si­tive to both oxy­gen and light,” Agus said.

The degra­da­tion process also makes the sug­ars more avail­able to the body, he says, which pro­duces an in­sulin spike that causes in­flam­ma­tion and can in­crease the risk of cancer. Plus, reg­u­larly con­sum­ing the large quan­tity of pro­duce re­quired to make a 12-ounce juice goes against time­tested ad­vice in fa­vor of mod­er­a­tion. “Our bod­ies aren’t made to eat six car­rots,” Agus says. “We’re not made to ab­sorb the nu­tri­ents.”

Over­do­ing it isn’t great for teeth, ei­ther. “The big­gest prob­lem with juic­ing is re­ally the su­gar con­tent,” said Dr. Kevin Dow, a den­tist in down­town Chicago. “When it mixes with the bac­te­ria in your mouth, it forms acids that lead to tooth de­cay.”

Agus said no data ex­ist to prove any of the ben­e­fits com­monly as­so­ci­ated with juic­ing. Dr. Clyde Yancy, chief of car­di­ol­ogy at North­west­ern Univer­sity’s Fein­berg School of Medicine, agreed. “It’s not as healthy as it would ap­pear to be at first glance,” he said. A purely liq­uid diet does not con­tain suf­fi­cient protein and can dis­rupt cel­lu­lar func­tion when potas­sium lev­els dip too low, Yancy said.

Med­i­cal ex­perts ques­tion whether drink­ing your veg­gies is a good idea.

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