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Cold-Pressed Juice: Is It Healthier Or Hype?

The Lowdown On Cold-Pressed Juices: Are They Really Worth The Hype?
Woman drinking orange juice
Letizia Le Fur via Getty Images
Woman drinking orange juice

Whether you're an advanced yogi or a person who just loves their juice, you will have no doubt heard of cold-pressed juice. If you haven't, welcome to 2016.

Cold-pressed juice is made by pressing (or 'masticating', if you prefer) fruit and vegetables. A bottle of cold-pressed juice costs around $10, which oodles of people happily pay for.

Due to the way the juice is extracted, cold-pressed juice companies claim it's healthier than regular juice you can buy from the cold section in the supermarket. But is this true, or simply hype?

Nutrient Content

"Pressing the fruit or vegetables releases the juice, whereas normal juice extraction is usually using blades. The thought process is that the blades create heat when they spin, which destroys the nutrients within the food," Kate Di Prima, accredited practising dietitian and spokeswoman for the Dietitians Association of Australia, told The Huffington Post Australia.

"The main thing that comes from juice is vitamin C and it is sensitive to both heat and light. I guess that’s where this idea of cold-pressed juice being healthier comes from, as regular juice might have marginally decreased vitamin C because of the blade’s heat."

While this difference in vitamin C may be present, there's little to no research that shows whether cold-pressing juice has a significant impact on nutrients overall, or whether it's healthier than regular cold juice.

Juice Concentration

One clear benefit of cold-pressed juice, which could make it live up to its hype, is that the juices are typically wholly made from fruit and vegetables, and are free from added sugars and preservatives.

"You’ve got so many types of juice. You've got fruit drinks, which have added sugar, but then you've got shop-bought juices which can be diluted. Whereas cold-pressed juices are less diluted," Di Prima told HuffPost Australia.

Vegetable Content

"The cold-pressed juices also tend to come with a lot of vegetables, whereas shop-bought juices are usually just fruit and miss the great benefits of vegetables, in terms of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants."

While the nutritional levels in cold-pressed juices could potentially be slightly higher, according to Di Prima, the whole debate is focusing on the wrong point. In fact, drinking juice -- whether it's cold-pressed or regular -- is not as great as we think.

"I think the bottom line is that the best thing is actually extracting the juice from the fruit yourself: that means actually eating the piece of fresh fruit," Di Prima told HuffPost Australia.

"If you eat the whole piece of fresh fruit, you’re eating the skin, flesh and possibly the seeds, so you’re getting all the fibre and the juices in a controlled portion -- you’re not getting the excess sugar from three or four pieces of fruit at one time.

"If you drink juice you’re not going to have the lovely fibre."

Without important fibre, the juice is digested more quickly in the body, meaning drinking a bottle of juice is not going to fill you up like eating an apple would.

"Fibre basically fills you up, it gives the fruit bulk, so when you're chewing on fruit it’s filling up your stomach," Di Prima said.

"Fibre is also good for keeping your gut biome going. Fibre feeds the good probiotics in your gut, whereas if you just drink the juice, you’re missing out on that fibre."

Obviously, it's entirely up to you if you want to fork out an extra few bucks for cold-pressed juice. It might improve some nutrient levels, but how much, nobody can yet say. If vegetable content is something you look for, then cold-pressed juice might be the way to go.

"I wouldn’t advise one over the other, but if you are going to have one, just make sure it’s small. You only needs two servings of fruit a day," Di Prima said.

Contrary to what people might think, juice of any kind is not calorie free, so having a few juices a day, added on top of your usual meals, can lead to a higher overall energy intake.

"Be careful not to have too much as they can increase your kilojoules and sugar content," Di Prima said.

"Have smaller portion sizes if you’re having a juice. Maybe have it as a morning or afternoon snack, or in conjunction with your lunch, but have a smaller lunch."

If you're buying cold-pressed juice as a quick fix to unhealthy eating patterns, Di Prima said it's not the right way to go about it.

"We’re getting caught up in the nutrient density and hype surrounding some of these juices. If you go back to basic core foods, that’s what I would want," Di Prima said.

"Go for the piece of fresh fruit -- it’s straight from the tree, minimally processed and still in its absolute natural form."

And those juice cleanses you hear people raving about?

"Many people go on these restrictive diets to break the relationship they have with food," Di Prima said.

"When you’re on a juice cleanse, you are cutting out whole food groups and there’s no protein in there, and the body can start breaking down its own protein.

"When people say to me they want to detox and cleanse their body, I say give up coffee, alcohol, chocolate. Go for just absolute natural, clean foods and drink plenty of water -- that’s going to cleanse your body more than a juice cleanse."

And if you really want some cold-pressed juice but can't stand the price tag, try making your own at home. That's right, buy some oranges and use your old-fashioned citrus juicer. It's fresh, cheap and so, so good.

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