What About The Fiber?
When you’ve been involved with juicing for as long as I have, you see this question a lot. Sometimes, a whole lot! I can’t count how many times I’ve read this or that about how juicing doesn’t include all of the fiber; therefore it’s bad for you.
In fact there are entire articles, out there, that have been written for the sole purpose of focusing on the missing fiber in juice.
Two things this has taught me is: 1. How easy it is to focus in on one aspect of something if you want to try to put a negative slant on it. 2. How the media works.
In this article I’m going to demonstrate how the lack of fiber in juicing has absolutely nothing to do with how healthy juice is for you. I’m going to go a step further. I’m going to prove that juicing is actually not devoid of fiber but is really just short on a specific type of fiber and that it doesn’t really even matter to begin with.
Ok, so before I begin to get into the real substance of this article, you’re going to need to understand what it is people are talking about when they refer to fiber in the context of juicing.
There Are Two Different Types of Fiber
You might not know this but, yes, there are actually two different kinds of fiber. Both of them are beneficial to your health. Here’s a bit more about both of them.
This is the kind of fiber that people are talking about when they say that juicing excludes the fiber. We’re talking about the pulp. Insoluble fiber is made up of the parts or compounds of plants that are indigestible. They pass through our stomach and intestines relatively unchanged (1).
Juicing separates nutrients from this kind of fiber making them more digestible. As Dr. Joseph Mercola states on his website, “This is important because most of us have impaired digestion as a result of making less-than-optimal food choices over many years. This limits your body’s ability to absorb nutrients from the vegetables. Juicing will help to ‘pre-digest’ them for you, so you will receive most of the nutrition, rather than having it go down the toilet (2).
Insoluble Fiber Is Not A Nutrient
I’ve seen it mentioned in several different articles, I’ve read, that fiber is a nutrient. While the second type of fiber I’m going to talk about may fall under the definition of a nutrient, insoluble fiber does not.
The Medical Dictionary section in the Free Dictionary by Farex clearly states that “There are six classes of nutrients: water, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, and vitamins.” Interesting, I don’t see fiber mentioned there (3).
The University of California, Davis laid it out clearly when they said, “Nutrients are substances that our bodies need to help us do everything we do every day. They give our bodies energy, help us grow, and keep us healthy. There are six classes of nutrients,” and the publication reveals that these are carbohydrates, vitamins, fats, minerals, protein, and water (4). No mention of fiber there either.
Here’s Some Fiber For Thought
Do you know what else is fiber? Cardboard. Yup, that’s right. Cardboard.
Merriam Webster makes it a bit clearer and defines cardboard as “a material made from cellulose fiber (as wood pulp) like paper but usually thicker” (5). Now, is cardboard a nutrient? I don’t think so.
As you can clearly see, insoluble fiber isn’t some particular kind of nutrient. It’s just fiber.
In vegetables and fruit, it’s what houses the nutrients. Juicing doesn’t destroy the nutrients or change them in any way; it simply releases them from their fiber housing.
Is Insoluble Fiber Good For You?
Sure it is, but the truth is you can get plenty of it from your regular diet. Who said you were juicing to get fiber in the first place?
If there is a type of fiber that might be considered a nutrient, soluble fiber would be it. I’m not saying that it necessarily is, but if we’re going by the definition of what a nutrient is, then it’s a lot closer to being a nutrient than insoluble fiber is (4).
Pectins, gums, mucilages, and some hemicelluloses are all scientific names for different soluble fibers (6). This type of fiber dissolves in water and becomes a gel-like substance. Among other benefits, soluble fiber reduces the risk of heart disease by lowering total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.
Juice retains the soluble fiber from vegetables and fruit, and that fiber ends up in your body when you drink a nice cold glass of it down.
Where The Murkiness Might Begin
It’s possible that calling fiber a nutrient is sometimes done purposefully to confuse the subject, but I also believe it’s possible that people who do so sometimes are doing so purely out of ignorance; they just don’t know any better.
The internet works in a way where many people tend to simply repeat what they’ve heard somewhere without looking into it any further for themselves. This kind of snowballs on itself, in a way, and before you know it, there are armies of people repeating things that just aren’t true.
Then if someone wants to make a point that highlights the positive of their own personal belief, they pick up the mis-information and use it as if it were a fact.
Bada-Bing! Fiber is a nutrient! It doesn’t matter if it’s true or not. If you get thousands to millions of people believing it is, it becomes “true” for them.
Enter the spinsters that have need to grasp for some way to make juicing look bad. Why not. Let’s just say that fiber is a nutrient and that you’re losing out on this precious nutrient every time you juice. The focus then becomes more on what is perceived as lost rather than what is gained.
Then there’s this.
Who Said You’re Going To Make Juice Your Entire Diet In The First Place?
First of all, you only drink juice sometimes. During a juice cleanse you drink it all of the time, but you don’t live your entire life on a juice cleanse. A juice cleanse only lasts for a period of time and then you go back to your regular diet; hopefully a healthy one that includes vegetables and fruit.
Juicing is simply a powerful way to get loads of concentrated nutrition into your body. It’s raw, fresh, living nutrition, and it’s right from mother nature’s tap.
You should most definitely also eat whole vegetables and fruit. Why not do both? I do.
Where’s The Media and All Of The Worry About Other Beverages?
Have you read the latest convincing article all about the lack of fiber in soda pop, cola, orange soda, or all of those energy drinks on the market? No? You haven’t? Maybe you just haven’t looked hard enough?
Nope! They simply don’t exist.
And don’t get me started on the whole juice contains a lot of sugar, so it’s just as bad as soda pop or cola thing. I could write an entire article on the fallacies of that statement. Oh, wait a second, I already did.
Back to the point.
If you’re going to ask where the fiber in juice is, you should be asking these as well.
Where’s the fiber in green tea?
Where’s the fiber in herbal tea?
Where’s the fiber in energy drinks?
Where’s the fiber in coffee?
Heck, let’s just get down to the bottom of this. Where’s the fiber in water?
Have you read any of those articles lately? Ever? Nope.
More Silliness Exposed
Saying juicing is bad for you because it doesn’t contain fiber is like saying kale is bad for you because it doesn’t contain lycopene. What’s lycopene, you may ask.
Lycopene is a nutrient with some great health benefits. Does everything contain lycopene? No, in fact there’s really not a whole lot of foods that do. Tomatoes do and Watermelon does as well, but I could make a list of foods that don’t. That list would contain more words than this entire article does!
So, is kale bad for you because it doesn’t contain lycopene? That’s silly, seriously.
I’ll give you an even better example to drive home my point, because I can hear someone out there thinking, “But lycopene isn’t essential to our diet.”
Take a smoothie for example. Let’s make it a banana, strawberry, blueberry, and spinach with mango smoothie. There’s fiber in there, right? Yes, there is. Plenty of it.
But wait! There’s no vitamin D in this smoothie! Our body needs vitamin D. Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that this smoothie doesn’t contain; therefore, this smoothie is bad for you. Wouldn’t you agree?
As you can see, the claim that juicing is bad for you because it doesn’t contain fiber is a silly and flawed statement from the start. Let me close with just one more point.
Why Wouldn’t You Just Eat or Make A Smoothie Out Of Your Vegetables and Fruit?
I touched on this above, just a bit, but I wanted to go a little further.
On the surface this sounds like a logical enough question, right? I mean, if you just eat your vegetables and fruit or make smoothies out of them, you’ll get the nutrients inside of them as well as the fiber.
First of all, I want to repeat that you still should eat vegetables and fruit. In fact, you should eat them a lot! You can also, sometimes, make smoothies out of them. I personally love smoothies! I also love eating vegetables and fruit in other ways. Both eating vegetables and fruit and making smoothies out them have their place.
However, there is a clear difference between juices and smoothies, and I wrote more about those differences here.
The truth is you do want some insoluble fiber in your diet. Again, who said to make juice your only source of vegetables and fruit? That’s not the argument and it never was.
But the truth is that juicing still has its place.
Juices Are Extremely Nutrient Dense
You probably already know that vegetables and fruits are healthy? In fact, they are among the healthiest foods on our planet.
Juicing takes vegetables and fruits, releases the nutrients stored inside of the fiber, and then concentrates those nutrients in a liquid. You can take a pile of vegetables and fruit and condense most of the nutrients contained inside of them all into one single glass of juice.
Since most people typically won’t eat a pile of vegetables and fruit every day, juicing is a great way to get more servings of these essential foods and the nutrients they contain into your diet.
If you listened to all of the negative articles about juicing and fiber, without doing any research of your own, you might actually believe that juicing is bad because it doesn’t contain insoluble fiber. Hopefully I’ve been able to demonstrate, for you, that this just isn’t true.
I wanted to leave you off with this. If you want to juice and also get some insoluble fiber into your body at the same time, it’s really easy to do.
Simply take some of the pulp that’s been separated out and stir it back into your juice. Viola! You now have juice and some of the insoluble fiber as well.
After hearing that, if you just asked the question in your mind, “then why not just eat all of your vegetables and fruit,” look at the two headers directly above this conclusion and read the content below them. I just answered that question. 🙂
Most importantly, don’t forget, all of this is not so black and white. You can juice, you can eat your vegetables and fruit, and you can make smoothies out of them. I personally do all of these and find it’s a great way to be sure I’m getting all of the nutrition my body needs.
#1. Fibre in food
#6. My Food Diary
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