Cold-pressed juice shops are popping up all over Columbus, and these not-exactly-cheap bottles of juiced fruits, veggies and nuts come with promises of cleansing, detoxification and boosted immune systems. Is it for real? We asked OhioHealth registered dietitian Susannah Covey.
What exactly is cold-pressed juice?
“Cold-pressed juice is made using a high-pressure process that extracts juice out of fruits and vegetables without fast-spinning blades or heat. Store-bought juice is usually pasteurized and may contain preservatives. Because there are no preservatives in cold-pressed juice, it should be sealed quickly, refrigerated and consumed within a day or two.”
What are the perceived benefits of cold-pressed juice?
“The promise of cold-pressed juice made by many companies is that the absence of heat and exposure to air creates a juice that preserves vitamins, minerals and enzymes, allowing you to reap the health benefits of consuming far more fruits and vegetables than you could ever eat raw in a sitting. There is not enough research currently to support this claim.”
Cold-pressed juices sound healthy. What’s the catch?
“If you are looking for a juice without preservatives and added sugar, cold-pressed juices are for you! However, cold-pressed juice is still juice, which tends to be a very concentrated source of sugar. While you do get vitamins and minerals from juice, you are also getting a decent amount of calories and sugar without the benefit of fiber. For example, one of the local cold-pressed juice companies in Columbus sells a juice with beets, carrots and various fruits. One 8 oz. serving — there are two per bottle — has 19 grams of sugar and 180 percent of your vitamin A. If you were to eat just one medium carrot, you would get 200 percent of your vitamin A and 1.7 grams of fiber with only three grams of sugar! People also typically do not get the same satisfaction from drinking beverages as they do with eating whole foods, as the act of chewing helps with satiety.”
Many cold-pressed juice companies use words like “detox” and “cleanse.” What is it that people think is happening with these beverages, and is it actually happening?
“‘Detox’ and ‘cleanse’ are definitely buzz words used by juicing companies, as well as many other popular diets. Fortunately, our bodies already have natural cleansing and detoxifying systems: our kidneys and liver. Most people are going to feel better if they focus on cutting out processed foods and stick to whole foods. Juices tend to be low in protein and inadequate in fiber, and do not necessarily teach individuals how to eat properly. While a juice cleanse can result in weight loss due to a restriction in calories, people typically regain the weight after resuming their normal diet.”
Is there a right way to juice?
“I would much rather people reach for whole fruits and vegetables versus their juiced forms, cold pressed or not. Juice is one of the easiest ways to raise your blood sugar, and 4 oz. is recommended for individuals experiencing hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. If you’re interested in juices, try to find ones that are more vegetable-based, as these tend to be lower in sugar than primarily fruit-based juices.”
Looking to chew, rather than drink, your vegetables? Check out our recipes!