© 2013 Kathryn Weber
Juicing is a hot trend among nutrition advocates. It’s often looked on as an easy way to get more fruit, vegetables and fiber into your diet — breaking them down into an easy-to-consume drink. Whether you’ve turned to juicing to get finicky children to eat vegetables flavored with fruit — a popular ploy for parents — as a body cleanse, a way to lose weight, or simply for better nutrition, it helps to pick the right juicer.
Today’s juicers can liquefy even the knottiest vegetables, transforming them into a smooth, drinkable liquid. The most common juicers fall into two main categories: fast and slow. Each type offers distinct advantages and benefits, so it’s helpful to know what each has to offer.
Juice or pulp?
One of the biggest distinctions among juicers is the type of juice they provide. For instance, centrifugal, or fast, juicers liquefy fruits and vegetables, separating the juice from the pulp. These juices are the thinnest. One drawback of a fast juice extractor is the noise, which can be significant. They also don’t handle greens, such as kale, wheatgrass and spinach, as well as the slow, masticating style of juicer.
But if fiber and pulp are what you want, a slow juicer is preferred for its fiber benefits, such as fullness and hunger satiety. This type of juicer has a slow, grinding action that completely pulverizes a fruit or vegetable, including the peel, stems and seeds. The masticating type is preferred by health advocate and dedicated juicer, Cheryl Castillo, of San Antonio, Texas (bodybyfengshui.com), who attributes juicing to helping her lose weight.
“Juicing definitely helps with dieting,” Castillo says. “I find I have more energy during the day and it helps curb my appetite so I’m not as likely to overeat at night.” Castillo also recommends juices using vegetables and low sugar fruits, such as granny smith apples and grapefruit.
“It’s easy to fall into the diet trap that fruit is healthy, but if juices contain too much fruit, it’s still a lot of sugar which isn’t necessarily healthy or helpful for weight loss,” Castillo says. She adds that using a recipe with balanced flavors is the best way to start because some mixtures are not always palatable to the uninitiated.
Which type of juicer does Castillo prefer?
She began with an inexpensive fast juicer, and when she found she liked juicing, she moved up to a slow juicer.
“Fast juicers are great when you’re in a hurry and want juice quickly, but you need to drink it then,” she notes. Slow juicers, she says, handle greens well, use more of the vegetables and fruits, make less pulp, and the juice can be stored longer, up to 72 hours, which is helpful if you want to save juice to drink later in the day. Your need for speed may prompt your decision.
Price may also influence your choice. Popular juicer brands don’t come cheap, priced from $50 to $700 or more. A good quality juicer will be an investment, with average prices in the $200-$400 range.