We consider some angles that might alter the way you see juice.

By Chris Malloy
January 28, 2020

In recent years, juicers have grown a visible—if not slightly garish—health halo. Many have begun to view them as magical machines; as devices that with little more than fruits and vegetables can bring both flavorful drinking and bodily health within reach. And why not? There are plenty of worse things we could be consuming than cold-pressed produce. But when you consider the juicer and what it does, especially in comparison to a high-performance blender, another story might start to emerge. Here, four reasons why a blender will give you a lot more bang for your buck than a juicer. 

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Juice is high in sugar and low in fiber. Smoothies are not.

First, it helps to confront the juicer’s promise of nutrition. You’re feeding carrots, kale, and apples into your machine, right? And aren’t turmeric, ginger, cayenne, and other flavorings common in juice good for you? Sure, but a juicer extracts liquid from fruit and vegetables, leaving a mash of nutrient-packed solids to be discarded. Regardless of what foods you use, the remaining liquids that collect—the juice—is going to be high in sugar. And exactly zero grams of the fruit's heart-healthy fiber will remain. On the other hand, when you toss fruits and veggies into a blender, the blade pulverizes the entire piece of produce. The result? You'll end up actually drinking all the vitamins, minerals, and fiber that your ingredients have to offer. 

Food waste is a (serious) thing.

Second, there is one corollary of this idea. When you are left with food solids to be discarded, you are by nature being wasteful. Food waste is a big problem in the United States, with some 30 to 40 percent of our food supply discarded, amounting to more than a billion pounds per year. Juicers contribute to this waste, leaving you with plenty of pulp that likely ends up in the garbage. When you blend ingredients rather than juice them, you aren't left with heaps of wasted produce (because you're actually drinking them!). And I don't know about you, but when I find a little chunk of banana or strawberry in my smoothie, my heart sings. 

Cost is a big consideration.

Third, the concept of food costs comes to mind. Juice requires more produce than you might expect. Produce isn’t cheap, especially if you’re buying from a farmers' market. Think about how much sugar and what small level of fullness you are getting for the price when you invest in juice. True, other iterations of fruits and vegetables (like bowls and salads) might be similarly situated in terms of price-per-calorie, but they don’t come with the hefty degree of rich solid waste—something that makes investing in quality produce hard to justify from a budgeting standpoint. When paying for produce, it makes financial sense to use as much of that produce as you can.

Another item to note: juicers themselves can be expensive. Many cost hundreds of dollars. Blenders can too, but there are a lot more models available that won't compromise performance for a lower price tag

Cleaning can be a nightmare. 

Speaking of pricey, juicers are expensive in time. They are extremely difficult and time-consuming to clean. Once you’ve made even just one glass of juice, the insides of your machine will be coated with a fine slurry of plant particles. The sticky leftovers get harder to clean the longer you let them sit. Simply put, maintaining juicers takes time. To clean a blender, all you have to do is fill it with water and a couple drops of dish soap and give it a whirl—voila. 

So there you have it, folks. There are better ways than juicing to improve the flavor of raw fruits and vegetables, ways that make more environmental and financial sense. For one, the smoothie. If you want to drink your fruits and vegetables, your spices and powders, your yogurt and peanut butter, consider the blender. The drink that results will be thicker, but that’s the point: you will be consuming valuable plant solids rather than discarding them. In doing so, you will be better honoring the planet, farmers, and ingredients themselves.

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This isn’t to say that juicers have zero value. For people who might not otherwise consume fruits and vegetables, juicers might be just what they need. Also, juicers can serve some interesting purposes adjacent to simply drinking them. For example, they can fuel some interesting cocktail and punch possibilities.

But for day-to-day consumption, consider looking beyond the juicer. Consider blending (or cooking!) those fruits and vegetables, working that kale or kiwi into salads or even grilling them, or eating them raw and ripe. Their fiber-packed solids have the feel-good value that many seek when they look to juicers in the first place. Plus, you’ll be reducing waste, cutting down on mess, and connecting with your food in a smarter, deeper way.

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