Juice Shots: What’s All the Buzz About?

Eli Brecher Nutritionist Juice Shots

Eli Brecher Nutritionist Juice Shots

Juice shots are everywhere these days. If you’ve been into Pret or many similar chains, you will have seen the surge in juice shots in the grab-and-go section, as well as on supermarket shelves.

But are there any real benefits to juice shots?

Juice shots may boast all sorts of shiny health claims, from assisting with weight loss to supporting the immune system and combatting inflammation. This is supposedly done by delivering concentrated nutrients directly to your body, without having to go through the process of chewing and digesting a meal. Despite these claims, there have not been any significant clinical studies to demonstrate that these shots offer any of the benefits stated, and they may even have adverse effects, such as worsening heartburn (ginger shots) and damaging tooth enamel (apple cider vinegar shots).

What’s the difference between juice shots, regular juice and smoothies?

Unlike smoothies, both juices and juice shots have their fibre extracted in the juicing process – fibre is key for our gut health and blood sugar regulation, among other health benefits. Regular juices may be watered down or mixed with other sweeter fruits to make them more palatable, such as apple or orange juice, which increases the sugar content. Juice shots tend to contain more concentrated sources of the key ingredient, but it is important to note the other ingredients in the shot. For example, Pret’s “ginger shot” is in fact 75% apple juice and only 25% ginger!

Can one shot of juice make any difference to your health?

A juice shot may contain some nutritious vegetables like spinach, celery or carrots, which can provide you with a dose of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and potentially leave you feeling “energised” for a couple of hours, but one shot will not make a difference to your long-term health.

Having said that, certain ingredients in juice shots may offer health benefits when consumed at high doses and on a regular basis. For example, while the active ingredient in turmeric, called curcumin, has been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect when administered at high doses, a shot of turmeric juice is unlikely to have this effect.

What’s more, turmeric is not particularly bioavailable – meaning it’s not easily absorbed when taken alone. Certain adjustments can lead to turmeric being better absorbed (and having a more potent effect), such as combining it with a pinch of black pepper as well as a source of healthy fat such as olive oil. While I’m not suggesting these additions should be added to a juice shot, when you think of more traditional uses of turmeric (in curries and stews), this is an easy way to boost the amount you absorb.

In summary…

I personally wouldn’t recommend that people go out of their way and spend £3 or so on a juice shot, if they are chasing the health claims that they believe these juice shots offer. However, if you enjoy the taste and aren’t phased by the often hefty price tag for such a tiny shot, then by all means go for it – just don’t expect to the pounds to fall off as a result!

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