Ask a Nutritionist: Juicing Vs Blending

Gut Stuff Reader:

What’s the difference between a juicer and a blender, and which is better for your microbiome and good health?

Jeanette Answers:

Both are used to make drinks with vegetables, spices such as ginger and turmeric, and fruits. 

For example, with juicers you take a piece of whole carrot, ginger, apple and press them against a blade which presses the juice out of them into one compartment, and separates the fibre into another compartment for the bin. The drink you end up with tends to be quite liquid, without bits. The drink can be quite highly-concentrated in fructose (the natural sugar in fruit and vegetables) and too much sugar wherever it comes from isn’t necessarily a good thing.  It can be difficult to lose weight when you are consuming a lot of sugar whether from fruit juice, or cola because sugar spikes the hormone insulin, which is a fat storage hormone. FAT STORAGE – i.e. fat driver! Although your microbiome (gut bacteria) will gladly feed on the colours (the polyphenols) in the drink, it won’t be as powerful a tonic for your microbiome and weight control as if you were to blend your veg and fruit, to retain the powerful fibre in the drink… 

With a powerful blender (e.g. Nutribullet, NutriNinja, Vitamix – there are lots out there), you place, e.g., your carrot, ginger, and apple in pieces into the jug above an engine, and you add water, or ice to the jug with the veg and fruit, put the lid on, and blitz all the ingredients till they have broken down smoothly into the drink. You usually need to drink the drink quite quickly before the contents separate. The consistency is a bit thick because the fibre remains in the drink, rather than being separated off, like in a juicer. You can make it more pleasant to drink by adding more water or ice and mixing them in. Gut bacteria love to feast on fibre, as well as colour (see above), to make them thrive, and therefore give you all the benefits of them – from less inflammation in the body (e.g. nasty skin issues), improve your mood, and balance your hunger hormones so you know when you are full, and when you are really hungry which can help with weight loss. 

No advice in this column is designed to override any by your medical doctor and should not be relied on as a substitute for specialist dietary advice. If you have any concerns about your health, visit your general practitioner, or medical consultant. 

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