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Juicy question of the week: do you need a juicer?

Three glasses of fruit juice

Juicers and jug blenders are becoming big business, partly thanks to an American documentary charting the weight-loss of a man who lived on juice alone. But can juicers and jug blenders live up to the hype?

We’re forever being told that we all need to have our five-a-day of fruit and veg. Well, I don’t know about you, but I often find this tricky in an average day.

However, juices and smoothies seem to be a great way to bump up your fruit and veg intake.

And the idea seems to be catching on, as more people take to picking up a daily juice drink from the local café or making their own at home.

Shop-bought or homemade?

You may have heard of the show Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead in which Joe Cross, an average guy from America, tries to get healthy and lose weight by going on a 60 day plant-based diet. No junk food, just juices.

And what has Joe used to help his juice diet? The Sage by Heston Blumenthal Nutri Juicer Pro, which we recently reviewed to see if it it’s really worth its £299 price tag.

Although you can get cheaper juicers and jug blenders, there is a debate as to whether you should make juices and smoothies yourself, or buy them ready made. At least when you make your own juices or smoothies, you can choose the fruit and veg that goes into them. Ultimately, making your own could save you a lot of money.

Weighing up the options

So which type should you get? Before working on juicers I had no idea that there were two main types: masticating juicers and centrifugal juicers. Centrifugal juicers, like the Sage juicer, extract juice by spinning it rapidly in a sieve containing sharp teeth.

Masticating juicers on the other hand make juice by crushing the fruit and veg, therefore keeping more of the nutrients. Therefore, these types of juicers are often preferred by those wanting to juice for health reasons, but they can be more expensive.

And juicers aren’t the only option – there are jug blenders too. These are especially good if you want to make smoothies and soups. Some versatile models can even make dips and crush ice, perfect for a party.

So are you tempted to buy a juicer or jug blender? Do you prefer to buy juices at the local supermarket? Or do you think it’s all just a fad?

Which of the following do you use to make juices / smoothies?

None of the above (33%, 67 Votes)

Juicer (21%, 42 Votes)

Jug blender (20%, 41 Votes)

Hand-held blender (10%, 20 Votes)

Manual fruit press / juicer (9%, 18 Votes)

Food processor (7%, 14 Votes)

Total Voters: 185

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I currently have the Philips HR1861 Whole Fruit Juicer (£60 Amazon), I bought this in April of this year to follow Jason Vale 5lbs in 5 days plan.

For me it worked and I lost 11lbs in the space of 5 days by drinking nothing but 100% fruit & veg juices.

Since then I have been juicing everyday and am currently looking forwarded to starting Jason Vale 7lbs in 7 days plan on July 13th.

The reason why i bought the juicer from Amazon is that if i didn’t really use it i could of sent it back for a refund. But am very happy and am so glad I found out of these plans & thanks to these plans I am over 5 stone lighter than I was 3 months ago 🙂

Well congratulations!

If making your own juices provides you with the focus and motivation to stick to a diet plan that works for you, it’s money well spent.

I’m not an expert in nutrition but perhaps your diet could lack protein, fats, and various vitamins – particularly those in the B group and vitamin D in the winter months when there is little exposure to sun. Have a look at the information about vegetarian and vegan diets on the NHS choices website. The general advice is to consult a GP before embarking on a diet because some diets can be harmful to health because they do not provide adequate nutrition.

Lee, there is a documentary on Channel 5, Wednesday night at 8.00pm covering the story of Joe Cross who travelled across the US in 60 days, sticking to a diet of vegetable and fruit juice. He loses seven stone along the way. You should find this interesting viewing.

Oh cool. Thanks for that. I will check it out 🙂

Mark h says:
15 August 2013

[This comment has been removed for breaking our guidelines. Thanks, mods.]

Wow, thanks for that. What a cruel thing to say!

Isn’t it just as effective to eat the raw materials you would put into a juicer? Or does the process add something – aiding digestion for example?
I wonder what the down side is of living on fruit and veg for 60 days. Our bodies need other foods, don’t they, to be healthy? So many diets have been brandished about and shown to be less than healthy.

For me Malcolm, I do not like veg. This is why juices are perfect for me. One of my fave juices is one with 2 Golden Delicious Apples 1 large handful Spinach 1 large handful Kale ½ Lemon (wax free with the skin on) ½ stick Celery, ¼ medium Cucumber 2 cm (1 inch) chunk Broccoli Stem ½ medium Avocado 1 small handful Ice Cubes.

I would never in my life eat all that in one meal time, let alone a week. So the fact I have it all in one drink is perfect for me.

Sounds good Lee – what other foods are in your proposed diet?

For this next one I am starting on the 13th is for the first 3 days: Lemons – wax free if possible » Limes » 3 ripe avocados » 35 apples – not Granny Smiths, they just don’t juice well » 3 medium pineapples » 2 ½ cucumbers » Carrots » 4 sticks of celery » 1 head of broccoli » 1 raw beetroot » 1 courgette » A stem of fresh ginger » 200g natural unsweetened organic yoghurt. 1 bag of watercress » 1 bag of kale » 1 bag of spinach » 1 bag of parsley » 1 bag of alfalfa sprouts. 1 bulb of fresh fennel – optional, to make fresh tea » A few sprigs of fresh mint – optional, to make fresh tea » 3 good pinches of cinnamon » 1 banana » Ice cubes.

Then day 4-7 is: Lemons – wax free if possible » Limes » 2 ripe avocados » 39 apples – not Granny Smiths » 4 medium/ large pineapples » 3 cucumbers » 1 carrot » sticks of celery. A head of broccoli » 1 raw beetroot » 1 courgette » A stem of fresh ginger » 450/ 500g natural organic yoghurt » 1 small bottle of cinnamon powder » 1 bag of watercress » 1 bag of kale » 1 bag of spinach » 1 bag of parsley » 1 bag of alfalfa sprouts – found in any good health shop » 1 bulb of fresh fennel – optional, to make fresh tea » A few sprigs of fresh mint – optional, to make fresh tea.

Must admit. I do cheat as I do have 1 cup of Yorkshire Tea on a evening while watching TV. But I’m happy with that one little cheat.

I’ve read your postings on here; and feel quite inspired. I’ve never dieted successfully due to willpower, but think I will get a juicer and give it a go; and try some of the recipe / combinations you detail in the postings. I don’t know what the cruel comment was, I hope it didn’t effect you, just stick to what you’re doing – 5 stone in 3 months is brilliant, well done, I can only dream….. but will be having a go.

Juicing isn’t just about losing weight, it’s essentially to do with nutrition as liquid foods are more easily absorbed and assimilated. This is not to say we do not need the whole food as the cellulose is needed in wholefoods to ensure proper bowel movements and peristalsis.
I use the the Angel 7500, a bit on the expensive side but well worth it with a good guarantee and which uses twin gears; this minimizes heat and preserves the nutrients which simultaneously extracts the max’ amount of nutrition, preventing oxidation. Oxidation is a problem with centrifugal juicers.
Juices at the supermarket sometimes pasteurized which destroys much of the nutrition.
Shop bought is largely inferior nutritionally unless freshly extracted.

Before you could buy a decent smoothie in a supermarket, I used to make my own in a Kenwood juicer which now sits at the back of the cupboard.

I came to the conclusion that I just couldn’t compete economically with the commercial product, by the time I had bought all the fruit, carried it home, peeled and diced it, then extracted the juice that would oxidise in little more time than it took to clear up the resultant mess.

And if you consider all the energy and waste that goes into transporting a couple of mangos, passion fruits, apples, etc., to your local shop, so you can have juice on draught, I’m sure it’s got to more environmentally friendly to buy a litre of ready-made smoothie and let the factory handle the raw materials in bulk, thus reducing the weight and volume that needs to be shipped to the end consumer by around 50%.

Freshly squeezed juices may be better nutritionally, but anyone eating a balanced diet is unlikely to be short of essential vitamins. And if that is of major concern, it would be better still to eat the whole fruit or vegetable.

I endorse the comments made by Em. For most of us, eating whole fruit and veg is the best answer, though if using a juicer makes it more palatable or you would avoid it otherwise, as Lee suggests, then that makes sense.

Suggesting that one kind of juicer is better than another on a nutritional basis sounds like marketing hype. It would be interesting to see independent evidence of this.

It is very easy to consume a lot of sugar by drinking a lot of fruit juice. Some sugar is not going to do any harm but it is worth keeping an eye on consumption, as suggested in official guidelines.

Pasteurisation does spoil the taste of fruit juice, but I would like to see independent evidence that it “destroys much of the nutrition”. Bear in mind that most of us have a diet that provides more than adequate essential nutrients.

Hi Wavechange,
In comparing one type of juicer to another, centrifugal juicers use internal blades to extract the juice, and they spin up to 30,000 revs per minute. This pumps air through the produce, incurring premature oxidization. The blades shred fruit and vegetables into tiny particles exposing them to air, which compromises their nutrient value.
On the other hand, cold-press juicers or masticating juicers, squeeze the max’ amount of juice from the produce without creating any heat whilst minimizing oxidation. There is independent research that shows a cold press juicer retains double the nutrients to its centrifugal counterparts. I’ll try and find some of that.

Pasteurization includes flash, steam or irradiation of foods, and can affect the nutrients. Irradiation (exposure to extremely high-frequency gamma rays) seems to have the most effects, as it depletes vitamin B12, D, and fat-soluble vitamins A and E. (Staying Healthy with Nutrition, Haas, pg 479).

Francis M. Pottenger, Jr., “A Fresh Look at Milk”; article first appeared in Mr. Kenan’s report in the “History of Randleigh Farm.” This reprint is undated, but an article by J. F. Wischhusen and N. O. Gunderson, “The Nutritional Approach to the Prevention of Disease,” Science Counselor, September 1950, refers to the book, William R. Kenan, Jr., The History of Randleigh Farm, 4th ed. (Lockport, NY: Lee Foundation, 1942).
Broadsion, “Hear Ye—MothersP’p. 12.
Linda Clark, Stay Young Longer (New York: Pyramid Books, 1971), p. 194; also see “Abstracts on the Effect of Pasteurization on the Nutritional Value of Milk,” Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research, Reprint #7.
Krauss, W. E., Erb, J.H. and Washburn, R. G., Studies on the nutritive value of milk II. The effect of pasteurization on some of the nutritive properties of milk,” Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin 518, page 11, January, 1933.

There are many more studies as well.

One type of juicer produces juice containing double the nutrients? It seems extremely unlikely that all of the nutrients could be affected in the same way, and some such as minerals will not be affected. As I say, it’s marketing hype.

Pasteurisation does indeed decrease the amounts of SOME nutrients, but so does cooking. It’s best to eat raw fruit and vegetables if they are palatable. Pasteurisation and cooking have important roles in making food safe to eat. Commercial fruit juice is pasteurised to increase its shelf life. It’s not relevant to our discussion, but pasteurisation is regarded as vital in ensuring that milk is safe to drink.

I agree with some of what you say, but masticating juicers are known to preserve more of the nutrients whilst extracting the max’ amount of juice. I’ve had two centrifugal juicers over the years and they tend to leave a very wet pulp, whereas the masticating kind tend to leave a very dry pulp: the more juice extracted, the more nutrients also from the same quantity of produce. Not really marketing hype as you call it.
The most efficient juicer is the The Norwalk Hydraulic Press Juicer which is reported to produce 50-100% more juice than any other juicer, from the same amount of produce: Invented by Dr. Norman Walker (January 4, 1886 – June 6, 1985) who became known as the leading expert in the field of raw juice therapy when he opened the Norwalk Laboratories of Health Research in 1910. His research in the benefits of raw vegetable and fruit juices prompted him to begin production of this hydraulic press juicer, still manufactured today.

Indeed it is best to eat raw fruits and vegetables, but this takes considerable digestive energy as opposed to eating the juice which allows the nutrients to be more easily absorbed and assimilated.
Whatever our take on pasteurization, many people have received huge benefit from raw juices (such as myself) and that would include many people who consume raw milk with no ill effects.

I think we will have to agree to differ on this. Most people are able to absorb and assimilate nutrients from food. Individuals with certain medical conditions may not be, in which case juicing can be beneficial.

Would you prefer bread etc. made from wholemeal flour or the more popular white bread made from processed cereals, where a substantial amount of certain nutrients and much of the fibre has been removed? For most people, processed foods are a poorer choice, even though they make what is left easier to assimilate. Perhaps it would be worth thinking of your juicer as a machine to make processed food. 🙁

The website on milk ignores the small but serious risk of consuming unpasteurised milk. In the same way that smoking does not mean that you will suffer respiratory problems or cancer, raw milk will not mean that you will become ill. Both just increase the risk. I’m sure Liz will be happier if we stick to the topic rather than discuss pasteurisation of milk.

Juicing fruit and vegetables can leave a lot of pulp. The Which? website has some sensible advice: “Don’t forget to make the most of fruit pulp – it needn’t be wasted. Pulp is often of nutritional value and is a good source of fibre. It can be used to thicken soups, sauces or minces, or in baking.”

I can’t help feeling that by eating fruit and vegetables without juicing them is a whole lot simpler.

Yes indeed Wavechange, most people are able to absorb and assimilate nutrients from wholefoods, but I think you are missing the point of juicing. The juice contains all of the nutrients in an easily assimilated form, and that includes phytonutrients as well as enzymes, vitamins and minerals, without having the burden of solid food that saps digestive energy; this will free this energy into other bodily tasks such as detoxing and healing which occurs within the nutritional cycle, but just accelerates this process.
I know that your comments are typifying the conventional viewpoint and I understand that, but it is not easy to dismiss the work of Dr Norman Walker and others who have used juicing to regain their health, over and above what they would have achieved by diet alone.
I suggest you try living from juices only for a few days to a week and allow the benefits speak for themselves. Try organic carrot juice with the juice of celery and cruciferous vegetables, and then alternate that with orange and apple juice together are common favorites.

Confusing the juice of fruits and vegetables, is not quite the same as the processed foods of denatured white bread.

I do agree with you about the leftover pulp, as it has a multitude of good uses.

I seem to be in a reasonable state of health for someone approaching 62, certainly much better than some of my friends of similar age. I would prefer just let my body have a good workout digesting solid food.

“I seem to be in a reasonable state of health for someone approaching 62, certainly much better than some of my friends of similar age. I would prefer just let my body have a good workout digesting solid food”.

You are two years my senior, and glad to hear you are in a relative state of good health as compared with some of your peers, and of course it is your privilege to ” let my body have a good workout digesting solid food”, which is all well and good, but the subject matter is: “do we need a juicer”? and I just highlighted some very good reasons why many believe they are a very good investment, for weightloss and health.

It does concern me that some weight loss diets are based on eating only fruit and vegetable diets. Irrespective of whether these provide an adequate supply of essential nutrients, I expect they are lacking in dietary fibre, which can result in lower bowel problems.

I can see that juicers could be very helpful for anyone who struggles to swallow solid food. Pharangeal pouch, for example, is fairly common in the elderly. They could also be worth trying with children who are not keen to eat fruit and vegetables. I’ll skip the juice because I think of it as processed food.

Not too sure where you received your info’ from Wavechange, but fruits and vegetables have a very high fiber content, and greatly aid in being “regular”.
Enjoy your Sunday.

It depends what you are consuming. If you eat the pulp, that’s great. If you just drink juice, it might not be. The Which? article mentions that the pulp is a good source of fibre.
Enjoy your juice.

I enjoy the taste of foods (and juice). So mango, celery, Cox’s, Comice, peach, raw carrot (I won’t go on) are all individually enjoyable for their taste. Why mix them all together in a mush and lose this? Surely, if you need or want juice, it would be more enjoyable to prepare individual juices, or blend a couple that complement each other, rather than some of the complicated cocktails given earlier. Eating can be (and should be) a pleasurable experience as well as necessary.
I’m not sure how a glass of fermented juiced grapes would go with a juice meal.

” it would be more enjoyable to prepare individual juices, or blend a couple that complement each other, ”

I agree 100% and that’s what people do.

I hate cooking and eating veg. The fact I can juice 3-4 items into a glass, add ice and drink it is perfect. I wish someone told me about this years ago.

Like Malcolm, I enjoy the taste of food, and the texture of different foods is part of the pleasure of eating. I can understand why we feed babies pureed food and see why it can be useful for people who are ill or very old, but not for me, thanks.

Preparing a fresh fruit salad takes time but adds to the pleasure, and the different tastes and textures make it enjoyable to eat. In the same way, nuts that have to be extricated from their shells are more enjoyable to me than a packet of shelled nuts.

So in answer to the original question of: “do you need a juicer”, then your view then would be it is probably not.
However, in answer to Malcolms comment as to: “why mix them all together in a mush and lose this”? doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. A glass of raw organic carrot juice by itself brings out the full flavor of the vegetable, and even a mixture of orange with apple juice is a taste to behold.
Also when we eat a meal of mixed foods, we do not eat them in isolation one by one, but as a mixture as well, where all of the flavors are combined into a “mush”.
This leads into the question as to whether these remarks are from people who have actually tried juicing or not? The proof is in the pudding as it were.

chrisb1, I do agree with your comment about juices; I was simply looking at Lee’s first recipe above and assumed it was a single cocktail. However, I don’t agree about “mixed food meals”. I eat an individual part – meat, vegetable, yorkshire pudding and gravy or whatever, on its own and savour the individual flavour. Stews, casseroles and mixed seaford for example should consist of complementery flavours and not too many that blend well together, just as selected juices will as you say. I do occasionally drink juice, but bought not made and I’m sure I’m missing out. Bit like making home-made soup which my son does.

Thank you Malcolm, I agree with you too.

Lisa, I’m not surprised that you gave up on juicing after buying a cheap version, and as you have said, but todays modern juicers are quick and easy to clean with few moving parts; the twin gears version is very efficient at extracting the max’ juice and nutrition. I buy my own produce wholesale and have an agreement with my local supplier to provide the amount I need at just above “cost” so relatively cheap.
The benefits are amazing such as increased energy, mental clarity and have never slept so well either. I suppose if we value our health, that little bit of extra effort can be well worthwhile.
Juicing doesn’t have to be bad for your teeth either as green juices mixed with carrot juice have little sugar content.
I would be more concerned with my Vitamin D status re dental caries than anything else.

I bought a really cheap juicer ages ago, but got bored with it fairly quickly after spending ages in the kitchen chopping and preparing the ingredients (and then cleaning up!).

I just thought I could stick fruit in get a delicious glass of juice. And it seemed to take a lot of fruit and veg to get enough juice (although after working on juicers, I suspect this maybe due to the rubbish juicer and low juice yield).

Anyway, I used it for about a week I think and then it spent the rest of it’s life in my Dad’s loft before being given away.

Some of thm more fancy models appeal now, the ones with the big chute, so there’s no need to spend ages peeling and chopping, but they cost a bit more than I’d be willing to spend, and I don’t really have any space in the kitchen.

What I also didn’t think about it that the juice comes out at room temp, so it really needs blending with some ice meaning more things to wash up. I guess you could just stick the juice in a glass with some ice, but then it takes a little while to cool down.

I do like making fresh orange juice though, my food processor comes with a citrus juicer, that’s quite enjoyable (still arrives at room temp though), and I do like making smoothies in the jug blender part of my food processor, and I can add some ice cubes too, so it’s nice and cool and I can drink it straight away.

Not sure I’d last on a juice diet though, and I don’t think my dentist would be too pleased. 🙂

Re’ Juicing and Juicers……………….

Channel 5 are airing the UK Premier of ‘Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead’ with Joe Cross this Wednesday 10th July.

100 pounds overweight, loaded up on steroids and suffering from a debilitating autoimmune disease, Joe Cross is at the end of his rope and the end of his hope. In the mirror he saw a 310lb man whose gut was bigger than a beach ball and a path laid out before him that wouldn’t end well- with one foot already in the grave, the other wasn’t far behind. FAT, SICK & NEARLY DEAD is an inspiring film that chronicles Joe’s personal mission to regain his health. With doctors and conventional medicines unable to help long-term, Joe turns to the only option left, the body’s ability to heal itself. He trades in the junk food and hits the road with juicer and generator in tow, vowing only to drink fresh fruit and vegetable juice for the next 60 days.

The results were amazing!

I found that cleaning up after the Phillips centrifugal very messy, and spent a lot of time trying to make meals using up the remains, as my “waste not want not” background kicked in. Also oxidization quickly changed the flavour, which meant you couldnt store it.

As a keen supporter of the Ideal Home Exhibition, We brought many new products, one being an American liquidiser, the name escapes me as it was around the mid 70’s It ground egg shells to pulp in the jug with the rest of the fruit and veg, yes we fell for it, but it blended a whisky sour to perfection. Soups, coleslaw, bread crumbs all done in a second. This was brilliant and used it for 18 years before I dropped the glass jug.
Another piece of equipment purchased in the eighties was a Bamix, We still use it constantly, I never did get it to make a creamy desert out of a cup of coffee. I would like the new faster version, but the old one is still useable. this is probably one of my most used gadgets although we no longer make juice but do make soups, milk shakes, pate and batter,also rescued lumpy gravy.
We had a mechanical lemon/orange squeezer, which worked great but now we do not drink juice.