I have been juicing for coming on five years. I love the surge of energy it provides me, but also how it alkalizes the body, improves digestion, and infuses my blood with active enzymes, and living nourishment.
Yes. I said living.
So here we go:
Does it make a difference if our juice is pasteurized or not?
I want to open the juice debate to my readers because clearly there is quite a fuss about pasteurizing juice and heating vegetables.
- Pasteurizing does not affect the juice’s nutrients.
- Others say pasteurizing juice destroys the nutrients.
- Then there are the folks that will never be satisfied until there is full on scientific evidence to demonstrate that pasteurization does reduce and eliminate the benefits of juicing.
The juice debate seems to really upset people—as if a personal insult to suggest that pasteurized juice is just not as beneficial as raw, unpasteurized juices. While I have not come across any specific study that has proved one point or the other, this is my take on the topic from a logical standpoint.
Raw, unpasteurized juice is far superior to juices that have been pasteurized… (and I am not comparing it to juices with added sugars and such).
- Many inorganic, non-local food items are irradiated, or exposed to extremely high-frequency gamma rays, for a very short period of time. I explained irradiation in a previous article but here is a little recap:
“The irradiation process is so powerful— it is capable of deeply penetrating into the food it zaps and altering the cell-structure of the food.
Irradiation has been legal in the United States for over 35 years, and is used to kill insects, bacteria, and parasites. It is also used to alter the natural life cycle of plants, for instance, causing fruit to be delayed in ripening, or preventing certain foods from sprouting.
“Just as radiation therapy has been shown to deplete vitamin B12 and vitamin D in cancer subjects, so has food irradiation been shown to deplete B vitamins as well as fat soluble vitamins like A and E in irradiated food” (Staying Healthy with Nutrition, Haas, pg 479).
A few things to point out here about Irradiation:
1. Irradiation is used to kill insects, bacteria, and parasites—
Logic says: Good! But how do we know it is selective in this killing frenzy?
2. Irradiation is used to alter the natural life cycle of plants, for instance, causing fruit to be delayed in ripening.
Logic says: When we swallow a pill, we alter something naturally occurring in the body. When we do this, there is ALWAYS something else that we are going to alter—whether we notice it immediately, or not. It is like taking medicine for daily headaches and ending up with an ulcer, or stomach problems later. Just because we cannot put our finger on it ASAP, does not mean that a side effect does not exist. Delaying a natural life cycle? Not natural. Does it have its benefits? Sure! Does it have its side effects? … …
3. Irradiation can prevent sprouting.
Logic says: Once again—another natural process altered. A food sprouts because it is living! Natural Law allows living foods to sprout so that it can go forth and bare fruit (a.k.a. multiply!) A dead, unused food does not give back to the land in the same way living foods can. Experiment: Try sprouting a raw sunflower seed. Try sprouting a roasted, or “un-raw” sunflower seed. Which one sprouts?
4. Irradiation has also been shown to deplete vitamin B12, D, and fat-soluble vitamins A and E.
Logic says: Irradiation has been shown to deplete vitamins. Period.
So now we jump back to juice, and whether there is any affect on the juice after pasteurization.
Knowing what we know about irradiation, a fruit or vegetable that is not organically grown, is likely first irradiated. If it is to be then juiced, and pasteurized, it is to be rapidly heated to high temperatures during the pasteurization process.
Louis Pasteur invented pasteurization in 1864 to kill off potential pathogens in dairy products. It was a brilliant idea as far as being able to mass market products and create shelf stability, but once again, if heating a delicate item can kill off bad bacteria, how can we expect it not to alter other benefits of the delicate liquid juice?
**Side Note: There are two common types of Pasteurization techniques: Pasteurization and Flash Pasteurization. Although “Flash Pasteurization” sounds savvier, this method uses higher temperatures than traditional pasteurization and only requires about 15 seconds to get the job done, where traditional pasteurization requires 30 minutes. Read more here.**
Back to the Juice:
Why do I call juice delicate? The indigestible plant cellulose in fruits and vegetables help provide stability and protection to the fruit or vegetable. During the juicing process, the water is separated from the fibers and we are left with a liquid containing: sugar, H2O, and nutrients (vitamins, minerals, active enzymes). After separation, the fruit is exposed to oxygen and nutrients are depleted due to a process called oxidation.
What is oxidation?
When a fruit or vegetable is exposed to oxygen, chemical compounds and the cell structure of the food break down. (You know oxidation is taking place when a bitten apple starts to brown).
In other words, oxidation is like driving a new car off the lot. As soon as you make your way out of the dealership, your shiny new Lexus immediately decreases in price.
So, regardless of organic or inorganic, irradiation or not, once a fruit or vegetable is exposed to oxygen it starts to lose nutritional value. This does not mean that juicing is unbeneficial.
Think back to your car scenario, you just paid big bucks for a new car. When taken care of, the car is still going to be worth something “nice” a few years down the road. (Read: drink your juice immediately after juicing, or keep in a cool place (or freeze) until ready to consume). Get into a fender bender? Drive cross-country and really rack up the mileage? Logic tells you—the car won’t be worth as much.
Therefore it is beyond me that we can truly question the viability of nutrients in a fresh liquid that has been potentially irradiated prior to juicing, and then heated up to lengthen shelf-life and kill off micro-organisms. Additionally, I would not be surprised if there is never a study to show this. Who would pay for it? Big Companies with Big Money pay to show what benefits them. Who would benefit from this study? Who would it hurt?
As for steaming veggies? Yes… nutrients will be depleted. Yes, active enzymes will be diminished. But a fibrous broccoli is NOT as delicate as a liquid juice because it still contains a more stable cell structure.
Please join the debate: What are your thoughts on juicing and pasteurization?
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