Juicer vs. Blender: And the Winner Is…

Our advice might alter the way you see juice.

In recent years, juicers have grown a visible—if not slightly garish—health halo. Many have begun to view them as magical machines that turn the idea of "eating your vegetables" into a healthy and pleasurable endeavor. And why not? There are plenty of worse things we could be consuming than cold-pressed produce. But compare the juicer to a high-performance blender, and another story emerges. Here are four reasons why a blender will give you a lot more bang for your buck.

Juice is high in sugar and low in fiber.

Consider 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 natural seasonings 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 drinking all the vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Food waste is a (serious) thing.

Discarding pulp is wasteful, and food waste is a big problem in the United States. Some 30 to 40 percent of our food supply is discarded per year, amounting to more than a billion pounds. 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.

Produce isn't cheap, and you have to invest in a lot of it for one glass of juice. Pricey bowls and salads are another expensive way to get your daily fruits and veggies, but at least they're not wasteful. The discarded solid waste from juicing 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.

And juicers themselves can be expensive. Many cost hundreds of dollars. Blenders aren't all cheap, 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 can cost you a lot of time, because they can be tedious to clean. After making 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. To clean a blender, simply fill it with water, add a couple of drops of dish soap, and give it a whirl.

Bottom line: If you want to drink your fruits, veggies, spices, powders, yogurt, and peanut butter, consider the blender. The resulting drink will be thicker, but that's the point: You will be consuming valuable plant solids rather than discarding them. And you will be honoring the planet, farmers, and ingredients themselves. The smoothie just makes more environmental and financial sense.

This isn't to say that juicers have zero value. Consuming fruits and vegetables–whatever method you use–is always better than eating, say, doughnuts. Also, juicers can fuel some interesting cocktail and punch possibilities.

But for day-to-day consumption, look beyond the juicer. Consider blending (or cooking!) those fruits and vegetables, working them into salads, grilling them, or eating them raw and ripe. Their fiber-packed solids actually have the feel-good value that many seek from juicers in the first place.

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