First, a primer. The old juicers that turn orange halves into orange juice are citrus juicers. Modern juicers extract the juice from produce and leave behind what’s known as pulp. A high-performance blender—think Vitamix—blends whatever it contains. It does not separate juice from pulp. Technically, it’s not a juicer, although Vitamix fanatics use it to make nutrient-rich drinks. (Some people strain the mix before drinking.)
Kotanides turns to a juicer when she wants something light and a blender when she wants more of a meal. She also adds almond milk to the blended drink, making it a smoothie.
Proponents maintain that a juicer creates a cleaner, more beneficial product—without the pulp, your system can better absorb their nutrients. However, there’s no scientific proof. “We don’t have a lot of evidence-based research on juicing,” Barr says.
People with certain conditions, such as diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome, may fare well on a low-fiber diet. Juice extractors give them a way to gain the nutrients without irritating their stomachs.
Yet most people benefit from the fiber that is in raw produce. “If someone is relying only on juices for their fruits and vegetables, that’s a negative,” Snider says. “Juice in the morning, and have some kind of vegetable during the day.”
To take advantage of the pulp, Barr adds it to soup. You can also use it to make muffins, breads, stews and casseroles.
To put fiber back into the juice itself, Barr adds flaxseed to the beverage before drinking it. Flaxseed contains Omega-3 essential fatty acids, fiber and lignans, which contain plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities. Barr and Kotanides like chia seeds, which also add protein to the mix.