The rise of the juice bar

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Following on from last weeks piece on smoothies, it felt that juicing should naturally follow, with juice bars popping up all over the city and let’s be honest, we all feel a little more holy after we order a very healthy looking green juice when out and about don’t we?

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For some people juicing can mean replacing all food with juice for a period of time; to use a juice as a specific ‘cleanse’ or to simply add some fruit and/ or extra vegetables into the diet to get a nutrition hit – indeed this is my regular juice habit in which I order a beetroot, celery, carrot and orange a few times each week for both a low calorie snack option and as a Vitamin hit, with brightly coloured vegetables in particular offering beta carotene, Vitamin C and plenty of antioxidants.

What we do not hear about as often is that most commercial juices available have a heavy fruit base, and as such the extra sugars and calories that concentrated fruit juice offers. For example, a medium (500ml) serve of a mix of berry, watermelon and orange juice contains 200calories and more than 40g of sugars – this is compared to 100cal and just 20g of sugars when a single piece of fruit is consumed.

Vegetable based juices on the other hand contain slightly less sugar with a medium serve of 500ml of vegetable based juice containing an average of 100-150 calories and just 20g of sugars along with a heafy dose of all of our favourite vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. One of the biggest issues is that the majority of vegetable juices available tend to also have some fruit, usually orange as I have in my fav juice mix or apple, which is also packed with sugars. Here it could be argued that the fabulous benefits we talk about that come with juicing are negated as we add extra concentrated sugars as we strive to make our favourite juices more palatable.

So what is my advice when it comes to juicing? Fresh is best, the more vegetables the better and if you must add fruit, try and stick to just 1 piece. Most importantly, watch your serving sizes – a 300ml vege juice could end up giving you just 100calories but it can quickly blow out to 2-3x this the more fruit you add and the bigger the serving sizes.

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