Consumption of fruits and vegetables in the United States declined by 7 percent during the past 5 years, according to a 2015 study by Produce for Better Health Foundation, which is a public-health organization. Today, only about 1 in 10 Americans eats the federal dietary recommended daily servings of 1-1/2–2 cups of fruit and 2–3 cups of vegetables, according to a 2015 report by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We’re concerned about Americans’ poor fruit-and-vegetable diet, considering that 10 nutrition and dietetics experts tell us that consumption of fruits and vegetables helps to control cholesterol and decreases a person’s risk of diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
These trends are marketing gold for manufacturers of juice extractors, which often cite the statistics to promote their products. We found 25 manufacturers and online juicing proponents that claim that extracted juice is a fast and easy way to boost your immune system, remove toxins from your body, reduce your risk of cancer, aid digestion and generally help you to feel healthier.
However, experts tell us that no scientific evidence exists to prove that extracted juices are as healthy as are the juices that you get from eating whole fruits and vegetables. In fact, experts tell us that extracted juices are less healthful than are whole fruits and vegetables, because juice extractors remove nutritious fiber.
“Most of the claims that are out there don’t have any science behind them,” says Kristen Gradney, who is the director of nutrition and metabolic services at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center and a spokesperson for Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which is an organization of nutrition professionals. “Juicing is not going to be a cure-all, but what I find is that people get excited about juicing, and then they start to consume more fruits and vegetables than they ever did before.”
Although extracted juice includes most of the minerals, nutrients and vitamins that are found in whole fruits and vegetables, whole fruits and vegetables also contain insoluble fiber, which typically is lost during juicing. Juicing advocates and manufacturers say juicing is an easier way for your body to process nutrients, because your digestive system doesn’t have to expend energy to break down insoluble fiber. That isn’t true. Furthermore, experts tell us that insoluble fiber helps to regulate your bowel system, lowers cholesterol and aids immune function.
The Connected Juicer
Experts say extracted fruit juice also is packed with excessive amounts of fructose.
“If you’re juicing vegetables, you can go to town and drink as much as you want,” Gradney says, “but you can easily drink too much fruit juice.”
Most juice extractors include at least a 20-ounce container, and we found that manufacturers constantly are tweaking their products to extract more juice than ever before. However, Gradney and other nutritionists recommend that you drink no more than 4 ounces, which is a single serving, of fruit juice at a time. Four ounces of fruit juice can raise your blood sugar by at least 15 points, Gradney says. A 15-point spike can pose a serious problem if you have diabetes or other problems with processing sugar, she says.
THE LATEST CLAIMS. Manufacturers tweak their products in different ways to produce more juice, depending on the type of juice extractor.
Centrifugal juice extractors, which use centrifugal force to shred and then pull juice from the pulp, now spin as fast as 22,000 revolutions per minute (rpm), compared with a maximum of 13,000 rpm before. Almost all models (starting at $70) now have a maximum speed of at least 12,500 rpm. You’d have had to pay at least $200 to get a centrifugal juice extractor that was that fast in 2011.