With juicing becoming quite the phenomenon, especially green juice and juices that claim to “detoxify” or “cleanse”, I have been asked to answer the question, "Am I juicing too much?"
I am unaware of an evidence-based prescription for juicing. There is also very little research on the effects of juicing. A 2013 editorial, “Juicing is Not All Juicy” states, “Up to now, there have been no reports of juicing-induced damage, until this issue of The American Journal of Medicine, which reports a case of oxalate nephropathy [i.e. damaging oxalate deposits in the kidney] due to 6 weeks of a juicing fast.”1
The editor is referring to a single case study at this point, but does question, “Is this case representing the tip of the iceberg, given that millions are practicing juicing?”
We do not know, but it is that idea of getting too much of a good thing. Others have warned against too much vitamin k from green leafy vegetables, such as kale and spinach, due to their blood clotting properties, which can even interfere with anti-coagulant and other blood thinning medications.
I digress, but highly recommend that you watch Dr. Michael Greger’s excellent series on green smoothies at NutritionFacts.org. I will put the links below.
The interesting question for me has been related to how much juice is enough or too much. I thought I would clarify by making my own juice for you that neared the minimum daily recommendation for many adults.
The new 2015-2020 dietary guidelines suggest around 2.5 cup equivalents of vegetables, and 2 cup equivalents of fruit per day. Now, this is assuming a 2,000 calorie per day diet, which many do not get.
Based on these suggestions, I am making a juice worth 3 cups of fruit and veggies, which is equivalent to a full 5 servings per day of fruit and vegetables recommended by the American Heart Association.
I am using:
1/2 cup of strawberries. That was about three whole strawberries this size.
1/2 cup of cucumber. From this large one we got from a friend’s garden, it was about this much from the end. Thanks Francis.
1/2 cup of carrots, which was about two of these guys.
1 cup of baby spinach, and
1 medium green apple, originally the size of a baseball.
Let's see. Juicing a minimum daily intake of fruit and vegetables got us to about 8 oz. Poured into another glass, it would only be about this much - clearly not the large glasses of juice that some people drink every day.
Seeing this, I believe it is plausible that you can drink too much juice per day, especially with concerns of oxalate and vitamin k, as well as potentially replacing actually eating one's fruits and veggies.
And if you are wondering how this recipe tasted - quite good.
Nutrition Facts Video Links
- Lien, Y. H. H. (2013). Juicing is not all juicy. The American journal of medicine, 126(9), 755-756.
- Juicing Image Credit. "The Juice Fountain Plus" by Greville USA. Flickr.com (color was modified).