Cold Pressed Juice: A Big Pile of Pulp?
It can be $12 per bottle. It’s an estimated $100 million yearly market. It shrinks piles of pulpy produce into one supposedly nutritional dose. It’s the juice craze.
Juice first hit the market as a diet trend that promised a drinkable shortcut to slimness. Recently, cold-pressed juice proprietors and their illuminati have shifted focus towards health, marketing their goods as bottled elixirs for wholesome do-gooders and fitness junkies who are hard-pressed on time for nutrition. But of late, some experts suggest these benefits are overestimated, and that any nutritional benefits come with environmental drawbacks.
Shall we call it pulp fiction?
While the there's no clear consensus from the scientific community, here’s a rundown on hot topics surrounding cold-pressed juice:
No Pulp? No Fiber.
When produce is pressed, juice is pulled from its pulpy origins. Leftover pulp is often tossed, but along with it goes fiber. Nutritionists stress that fiber has its merits: it clears cholesterol, keeps digestion regular, and, to the chagrin of dieters, staves food cravings.
A Spoonful of Sugar
Popular cold-pressed juices can have sugar content upwards of 40 grams per bottle. By comparison, one serving of Coke (which is currently experiencing its own nutrition debates) has 44 grams. The dietary concern? Juice might just be another overly sweet beverage, allowing a dose of sugar right into the bloodstream.
Vitamins, Sort Of
Most juices boast the benefits of vitamins. While the scientific community has yet to agree on the ability to fully digest vitamins through juice, one debate surrounds those which are specifically fat-soluble. Vitamin A, for example, cannot be absorbed without fat. The typical fat content of juice? Zilch.
Nutritional Intake: Worth the Impact?
Undoubted is the fact that juice production can be resource-greedy. Cold-pressed juice stays cold, requiring energy through hefty refrigeration. Clunky plastic bottles are often destined for landfills (Americans only recycle about 30% of our recyclable waste stream). Good, useful pulp becomes food-waste, often heading to landfills as well, and as the market expands, these impacts expand with it.
Of course, not all cold-pressed juice is unsustainable and void of nutrition. With more time and research, those nutritional benefits might be substantiated. Beyond overall wellness, many juice companies also consider their environmental and social impacts: many use the most recyclable bottles available in order to extend shelf-life and reduce impact, and the best producers employ aggressive composting practices, giving leftover pulp an afterlife.
The point? Juice consciously. While the science of this matter awaits consensus, how can you get romaine, apples, kale, ginger, spinach, cucumber, celery, lemon and parsley all at once?
In one word: salad.