Soluble dietary fibers promote metabolic benefits on body weight and glucose control. The benefits associated with an increased dietary intake of fermentable fibres are in part due to the way in which our bacteria use them to control levels of intestinal glucose. Foods with modest concentrations of dietary fiber have also demonstrated excellent binding capacity with with heavy metal ions which support evidence that blending fruits and vegetables will clearly exceed the capacity of any juice to assist in the elimination of these metals from the body.
The study appearing in the British Medical Journal and appearing online in Havard School of Public Health investigated how individual fruits and fruit juice affected glucose.
They estimated substitution effects of individual fruits for fruit juice in relation to risk of type 2 diabetes and found that a greater consumption of specific whole fruits, particularly blueberries, grapes, and apples, was significantly associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, whereas greater consumption of fruit juice was associated with a higher risk.
Fiber slows down the release of glucose into your blood stream, preventing blood sugar (glucose) spikes. While people with pre-diabetes and diabetes should be especially cautious if they opt for juice over a smoothie, everyone would benefit from a slow steady raise in blood glucose.
A mass of animal and human data has linked increased fibre intake to metabolic benefits including weight loss, and the prevention of obesity and type 2 diabetes. However, the mechanisms behind these potential benefits have, until now, remained a mystery.
Writing in Cell, a French research team led by Gilles Mithieux investigated whether these positive metabolic effects were related to the capacity of the intestine to produce glucose (known as intestinal gluconeogenesis – IGN) by giving rats and mice a variety of diets enriched with fermentable fibres or propionate or butyrate – which are short chain fatty produced by the gut when bacteria break down fibres.
They found that mice fed a fat and sugar-rich diet, but supplemented with fibres, became less fat than control mice and were also protected against the development of diabetes due to significantly increased sensitivity to insulin.
Mithieux and his team noted that the intestine is capable of producing glucose and releasing it into the blood stream between meals and at night. The production of glucose in the intestine is detected by the nerves in the walls of the portal vein (which collects the blood coming from the intestine) which in turn sends a nerve signal to the brain.
In response, the brain triggers a range of protective effects against diabetes and obesity: the sensation of hunger fades, energy expenditure at rest is enhanced and, last but not least, the liver produces less glucose, the team explained.
Fruit Juice or Blending?
Too many natural sugars from fruit without fiber to slow the digestion and absorption down will cause a spike in blood glucose. The pancreas secretes insulin to push glucose into the cells, and when the pancreas overcompensates as a result of a glucose spike, blood sugar will drop.
Overtime, if your pancreas secrets too much insulin often, your cells will stop responding, leading to a condition known as insulin resistance. Fruit juices alone won’t cause insulin resistance, but considering that most Americans eat more sugar and refined carbs than they should and not enough fiber, those juicing should ensure they consume as much fiber as they can if they overconsume refined processed foods.
In addition to the skin, which is an important source of fiber in most fruits, the pulpy part of the fruit is also a source of fiber (and other nutrients). Orange juice makes a good example of the health difference when you focus on the issue of its pulp. The white pulpy part of the orange is the primary source of its flavonoids. The juicy orange-colored sections of the orange contain most of its vitamin C. In the body, flavonoids and vitamin C often work together, and support health through their interaction. When the pulpy white part of the orange is removed in the processing of orange juice, the flavonoids in the orange are lost in the process. This loss of flavonoids is one of the many reasons for eating the orange in its whole food form (even if you only end up eating a little bit of the white pulpy part). Although many commercial products will say “pulp added” on their labels, the “pulp added” many not even be the original pulp found in the whole fruit, and it is highly unlikely to be added back in the amount removed.
Elimination of Heavy Metals
Clinical research shows that pectin helps limit disease progression in men with advanced prostate cancer. In addition to its cancer-inhibiting effects, modified citrus pectin shows promise in chelating toxic heavy metals that can be so damaging to overall health.
Pectin is a naturally occurring substance found in the cell walls of most plants and especially concentrated in the peel and pulp of citrus fruits (lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits), plums, and apples.
Compelling research suggests that pectin may help block the growth and metastasis of solid tumors such as breast, colon, and prostate cancers.
Incorporating fruits high in pectin has been shown to increase excretion of dangerous metals such as mercury, arsenic, lead, and cadmium–without removing essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, and zinc from the body.
Only dietary fiber, and more precisely cellulose has the maximum ability to reduce the retention of both lead and camdium. Many other polysaccharides have been shown to increase both lead and camdium retention.
Juices essentially have no ability to bind specific metals without some type of fiber to stick to them. Despite some nutritional benefits of juicing, eliminating the fiber renders juicing almost useless or with little to no functional use in assisting in heavy metal elimination from the body.
A cup of apple juice that you can see straight through (pulp removed) contains no measurable amount of fiber. To create this 8-ounce glass of juice, approximately 3-4 apples are needed (depending, of course, on the size and density of the apples). Each of these 3-4 apples contains about 3.75 grams of dietary fiber, for a total of about 12-15 grams of dietary fiber. Virtually all of these 12-15 grams are lost in the production of clear apple juice! These 12-15 grams of lost fiber, if added back into the juice, would fully double our average daily fiber intake and increase binding of heavy metals by a significant percentage.
Fruit juice that has been robbed of its fiber and broad range of nutrients is basically just a concentrated source of sugar that lacks the supportive nutrients to help it digest and metabolize. Fruit juice elevates blood sugar more quickly than blending, and the level of sugar that can be obtained from fruit juice is higher than the level found in whole fruit. For example, 120 calories’ worth of whole apples contains about 24 grams of sugar, while 120 calories’ worth of apple juice contains about 30 grams.
Juicing will always have its benefits of getting vitamins and minerals quickly into the body which can benefit many type of illnesses. However, if you are to pick one over the other for long-term health, blending will always be superior to juicing in maximizing nutrition and assisting in the process of eliminating heavy metals.
About the Author
Dr. Marianna Pochelli is a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine specializing in the treatment of disease through superfoods and herbal strategies. She actively promotes detoxification, colon cleansing, and a vegetarian lifestyle using living foods as a platform to health.
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