When Jose Canseco’s book “Juiced” hit the shelves in 2005, it rocked the baseball world with its tales of the illegal use of performance-enhancing drugs like steroids. Juicing is never good in sports, and it can be just as unhealthy for your diet. For example, drinking filtered kale juice instead of eating whole leaves robs you of glucose-controlling, gut-loving fiber. And bottled “veggie juices” may contain more water, fructose and artificial ingredients than anything found in the natural vegetable.
But smoothies and straight juices can be a healthy way to eat more veggies — depending on how you juice things up. That’s the conclusion of a new study. Researchers used three different at-home methods to liquefy organic and non-organic cauliflower, kale, turnips, radishes, beetroots and carrots of various colors and then measured the resulting levels of phytonutrients and antioxidants.
It turns out that blenders, high-speed centrifugal juicers and low-speed extractors produce different levels of health-promoting nutrients because of the different ways they expose vegetables’ inner tissues to oxygen, light and heat, and how they release enzymes they contain.
Overall, the best bet for maximum nutrition resulted from low-speed juicing. In contrast, using the blender resulted in the lowest overall nutrient content, but it did deliver the highest fiber content and therefore the best blood sugar control. So if you’re thinking about juicing, consider using one of the “low-speed juice extractors,” unless blood sugar control is your overriding concern. For that, we say stick with whole veggies most of the time, using the blender only when necessary.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer Emeritus at Cleveland Clinic.