In “Juicing Removes More Than Just Fiber”, Dr. Michael Greger throws a wrench into the ongoing ‘Juicing versus Blending’ debate. While, both can contribute to a healthy lifestyle, research is leaning towards blending as the victor. One of the main arguments against juicing is the fact that extracting juice from fruits and vegetables removes the plant fiber in the process. Adding weight to this argument, research shows that plant fiber is even more important than the well-established benefits to gastrointestinal health as well as managing blood sugar, weight and cholesterol. Fiber, it turns out, is a polyphenol carrier.
When we consume most fibers, they are digested by the bacteria in our gut. Once digested, fiber then ferments in the colon, generating short chain fatty acids (acetate, propionate, and butyrate) and gases [1, 2]. These short chain fatty acids have numerous health benefits, including inhibiting the growth of bad bacteria and increasing mineral absorption. One of these short chain fatty acids, butyrate, serves as a major fuel for our coloncytes, the cells that line our colon and has anti-carcinogenic as well as anti-inflammatory properties [ 3,4,5]. Clearly, butyrate plays a major role in supporting the colon as well as overall health.
Foods that are rich in fermentable fibers include oats and barley, as well as the fruits and vegetables frequently used in juicing . But, juicing removes the plant fiber, as well as the potential for short chain fatty acids and their associated health benefits. According to Greger, juicing may lose something more from fruits and vegetables; polyphenols
Polyphenols are a group of chemicals found in many fruits, vegetables, and other plants, such as walnuts, olives and tea leaves. Classified as antioxidants, polyphenols quench free radicals, protecting the body’s cells and tissues from damage. Polyphenols have also been found to possess a variety of other potential health benefits, including cancer prevention and reducing the risk of heart disease.
Interestingly, the majority of plant polyphenols may be considered ‘non-extactable plant polyphenols’ (NEPPs). In other words, these polyphenols are fused to the fiber [6, 7]. When consumed in their whole plant or blended state, these NEPPs travel through our digestive tract, then into the colon, where they are digested by friendly flora, and subsequently, produce SCFAs. However, when juiced, these valuable compounds are removed with the fiber. Food for thought.
Which do you prefer —juicing or blending?
 Wong, Julia M.; de Souza, Russell; Kendall, Cyril W.; Emam, Azadeh; Jenkins, David J. (2006). “Colonic Health: Fermentation and Short Chain Fatty Acids”. Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology 40 (3): 235–243. doi:10.1097/00004836-200603000-00015. PMID 16633129.
 Lupton JR. Microbial degradation products influence colon cancer risk: the butyrate controversy. J Nutr. 2004;134(2):479-482. (PubMed)
 L Bravo, R Abia, F saura-Calixto. Poyphenols as Dietary Fiber Associated Compounds. Comparative Study on in Vivo and in Vitro Properties. J. Agric. Food Chem., 1994, 42 (7), pp 1481-1487.
 S Arranz, J M Silván, F Saura-Calixto. Nonextractable polyphenols, usually ignored, are the major part of dietary polyphenols; A study on the Spanish diet. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2010 Nov;54(11):1946-58.