I have been puzzled about this question for many years, so maybe you can help me find the answer. I have a juicing machine that can take almost anything and turn it into a soup or a smoothie. I often throw in grapes by the clump (stems and all), whole apples and many different raw beans and peas. Am I really getting the full fiber benefits or am I losing out by the machine doing so much of the work. Have I been fooling myself and is my body really getting all that fiber?
The first thing to figure out is whether you’re using a juicing machine or a blender, since these are two very different types of machines. A juicing machine (or juicer) separates the juice from most of the insoluble fiber (cellulose, hemicellulose and lignins). The soluble fiber (pectins, gums and mucilage) will still be present in the juice after using a juicing machine. A blender does not separate anything and basically just blends everything up. When blending fruits and vegetables, the juice is a mixture of skin, seeds, stems and leaves which make up the fiber of the food. Blending will produce a thicker drink versus a much thinner and lighter drink when using a juicing machine.
You noted that your juicing machine makes great soups and smoothies which are often associated with using blenders. The easiest way to tell is by looking to see if there is any pulp left over somewhere in a container attached to the machine. If you see this container filled up with the leftover pulp, then you most likely have a juicing machine.
|Advantages of Juicing||Disadvantages of Juicing|
|Quickly absorb the nutrients||Lose benefits of insoluble fiber|
|Thinner and lighter to drink||Higher impact on insulin levels|
|Easy on the digestion process||Expensive for machine and produce|
|Advantages of Blending||Disadvantages of Blending|
|Retains all of the fiber||Slower to absorb the nutrients|
|Use 100% of the produce||Includes all seeds, stems, peel|
|Great for soups/smoothies||Heavy and thick to drink|
When juicing, you will lose the full impact of the insoluble fiber from the veggies and fruits versus eating them whole. This is because the juicer actually separates the juice from most of the insoluble fiber (not the soluble fiber). With the pulp that’s left in the juicer, you can make a soup broth from it. Put the pulp in a saucepan and covers it with pure water. After simmering it slowly for 15 minutes, remove the pulp and use the broth as a soup base.
The main disadvantage of juicing involves removing the healthy insoluble fiber from the fruits and vegetables which helps regulate blood sugar levels because the sugar from the fruits and veggies has a direct impact on your insulin levels. Since fiber reduces the glycemic load of food, the juiced drinks you consume will have a much larger insulin response which could ultimately lead to weight gain. High insulin levels have an impact on hunger levels and also the amount of body fat that can be stored. However, juicing is great for people with more delicate digestive systems and by using a juicer they usually benefit from it since it’s much easier on their systems to drink the juice without all of the fiber included.
People argue that blending will take much longer for the actual food to reach your system due to digestion. Juicing allows the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients from the fruits and vegetables to get directly into your bloodstream quickly with very little work from your digestive system. People who have issues with their digestive systems will opt for juicing over blending because they can quickly get the full nutrients from the food and since most of the insoluble fiber is removed, it will not be irritating to their stomach.
The overall volume is also a major factor when comparing juicing to blending. Unless you have a massive appetite, you simply can’t consume the amount of fruits and veggies as raw food when compared to a big glass of fresh fruit or veggie juice that was made using a juicing machine. You can easily add apples, kale leaves, cucumbers and celery into your juicer and come out with a few cups of fresh juice. Try eating the same amount of fresh veggies and fruit. You better have a serious appetite because this is a lot of food! When blending, you also have the benefit of receiving a condensed version of the raw foods but the overall volume of the liquid you will be drinking will be increased when compared to juicing. If you blended the same amount of apples, kale leaves, cucumbers and celery, you would be left with multiple glasses of thick juice to drink.
This brings up another important disadvantage of juicing, which is the overall cost involved (however the overall long-term health benefits of juicing far outweighs the cost). First off, you need to buy a quality juicing machine which could set you back anywhere from $200 to well over $1,000 for a very high-end juicer. A quality blender is much less expensive and you can pick one up for around $25-100. Eating the fruit and veggies raw is obviously the cheapest route since you do not need the help from any type of machine (just your mouth).
Once you have your brand new juicing machine, then you have to head to the grocery store and buy the produce for it which includes all of the different fresh fruits and vegetables. This can get very expensive when you think about the high price of produce these days. One power packed nutrient drink using a juicer could cost anywhere from $5-10 worth of fruits and veggies when you are all finished. If you want to save a little money on produce, try visiting your local farmers market versus buying from the big chain grocery stores. This will allow you get a much better deal on the produce while also getting fresher food while helping out your local farmers. However, even if you shop at your local farmers market, the price for produce to make your fruit or veggie juice will still be pretty expensive. Once again, even though it might be a little costly, remember that the money you spend now on drinking quality juice can save you big bucks in health care costs down the road!
So, it’s important to weigh all of the advantages and disadvantages of each type of delivery system. Whether you choose to use a blender, use a juicing machine or eat the fruits and veggies raw, you are making a step in the right direction to eat a more nutrient dense diet which will help you lose excess weight and live a healthier and happier life!