Eating raw foods—including whole fruit and vegetables—nourish the body, provide necessary fiber, and stabilize your blood sugar in ways that some experts believe are better than pouring yourself a glass of juice.

Unlike a blender, which mixes the ingredients together and makes a thick drink, juicers extract the liquid—the juice and nothing but the juice—from the whole foods, leaving behind the pulp. Proponents of juicing say once the pulp and fiber are removed, there are no solids for the digestive system to contend with and the nutrients enter the bloodstream more quickly. Some might think of it as high-speed nutrition. Regardless of where you stand on the matter of pulp, juice from a juicer is far superior to pre-packed juice, which is stripped of most of its nutritional value.

According to the Mayo Clinic, there's no scientific evidence that extracted juices are healthier than eating whole fruit or veggies. However, one of the benefits of juicing that isn't debatable is that it does encourage consumption of a wider variety of fruits and vegetables. We know these foods to be rich in fiber, anti-oxidants, and phytochemicals, which promote good health and may help prevent chronic diseases including type 2 diabetes.

Studies seem to indicate that a greater variety of fruits and vegetables—more than quantity consumed—are associated with a lower risk of disease. Different foods are comprised of different nutritional building blocks, so a diverse diet is highly beneficial.

Despite benefits for healthy individuals, registered dietitian Alison Massey does not generally recommend juicing for individuals with diabetes and instead encourages consumption of whole fruit. All fruit contains fructose, which the body breaks into glucose. In individuals with diabetes, juices can contribute to a rapid rise in blood glucose levels. This is, in part, why juices are sometimes recommended to treat hypoglycemia (low blood glucose levels) since they enter the blood stream quickly.

Why Eating It Whole Is Better

Alison's recommendation to eat more whole fruit seems to be supported by science. A study in the British Medical Journal, for example, looked at the association of fruit intake and risk of type 2 diabetes and found that greater consumption of specific whole fruits, particularly blueberries, grapes, and apples, was significantly associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, whereas greater fruit juice consumption was associated with a higher risk.

If you still want to try juicing, seek the help of a nutritionist who has experience working with diabetes patients. She or he can help you choose foods that are best for helping to manage blood glucose levels. And remember, freshly squeezed juice can quickly develop harmful bacteria, so only make small batches at a time.

Alison Massey, MS, RD, LDN, CDE, reviewed this article.



Alison Massey, MS, RD, LDN, CDE. Certified diabetes educator at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, MD.

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Isao Muraki, Fumiaki Manson, Frank B Hu, Walter C Willett, Rob M van Dam, and Qi Sun. "Fruit Consumption and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: Results From Three Prospective Longitudinal Cohort Studies," British Medical Journal. Web. Accessed 4 November 2013.

Mayo Clinic. Jennifer K. Nelson, RD, LD, "Juicing: What are the health benefits?" Web.
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