Friday, 23 February 2018

Supplements: can you get everything you need with a balanced diet? - by Dr Nina Bailey BSc, MSc, PhD, RNutr

This Sunday's blog is written by Dr Nina Bailey from Igennus. Nina is a leading expert in marine fatty acids and their role in health and disease. Here she discusses supplements and if they are absolutely necessary for maintaining your health and preventing disease.

Headlines like this constantly pop up on social media and can leave many of us confused and unsure about the pros and cons of supplementation.  As with many of the headlines we read, the complete ‘story’ is rarely told, the ‘facts’ often distorted or, in some cases (depending on the author/source), can be simply untrue.  As with most things in life, there are two sides to every story.  We are often told that supplements (omega-3, multivitamins, minerals and so on) are simply a waste of money, and as a nutrition scientist I both agree and disagreewith this statement.

I do agree that not all supplements are formulated for efficacy (and hence will not be effective) and that there will of course be some individuals who, because of their diet and lifestyle or current health situation (note that I don’t say ‘choices’, which I will expand on later!), don’t need to supplement. Mostly, I disagree because we cannot make sweeping statements that appear to apply to the whole of the population!  We are all unique, and the nutrient requirements of one person will differ quite significantly from the next depending on their general lifestyle, their working habits, activity levels and sleep status. Do they drink regularly? Do they smoke? Are they under stress at work or home?  The simple fact is that no two people are the same, or lead the same life, and so of course there will be individuals who require additional nutrients or micronutrients at certain points or stages in their lives.  If the products they take are expertly formulated to deliver safe, viable doses, in forms that are known to be both bioavailable and effective, then the health benefits are unquestionable.   What we often hear from so-called ‘experts’, however, is that a balanced diet allows us to obtain the nutrients we need so avoids the need for supplements!

Just eat food!

So, can we really get all the nutrients we need from our diet? Absolutely!  We should indeed be able to sustain ourselves with the nutrients we require for everyday function via the food we choose to eat!  But wait, before we actually ditch our pot of multivitamins and minerals or fish oil supplement, let’s just take a moment to look at what is considered to be a balanced diet and, importantly, some of the factors that may (or may not) influence our ability to maintain a nutrient-rich variety of foods.

A diet that promotes health and prevents disease is one that contains an abundance of natural, unprocessed, seasonal, organic, fresh whole plant foods; a broad range of wild, grass-fed or pastured organic animal proteins; plus an array of ‘good’ fats.  If this is your diet (and has been for decades), then thumbs up to you, as it’s highly likely that your vitamin and mineral levels, along with your omega-3s, are nicely optimised.  But wait: you work long hours in the city, commute an hour each way, you find time to work out twice weekly yet survive on less than 7 hours sleep at night!  Okay, so now we need to look again, as it’s highly likely that some aspects of your life may be exerting a high level of emotional and physical stress on certain metabolic pathways (not even to mention the impact of likely unavoidable factors such as pollution).  With stress there is inflammation and with inflammation we are at a higher risk of developing poor health.  You may (or may not) feel generally ‘healthy’ (so you get a bit tired at times and perhaps get the odd cold, but nothing more than that)  but the inner workings may (invisibly) disagree.

It may not be that you are nutrient deficient per se, but you may need more nutrient[s] than someone eating a similar diet but who has less of an inflammation-encouraging stress burden than you do! The key thing to take on board here is that we and our life situations are all different and so are our nutrient requirements. This way of thinking is the focus of personalised nutrition, which concentrates on the individual rather than the population as a whole, whose standard guidelines tell us that we should all be consuming ‘X’ amount of vitamins or ‘Y’ amount of calcium, regardless of age, sex, activity levels or even stress!  Eating more nutrient-rich foods may be the answer on an individual basis or, alternatively, we could move to supplementation.  But here is the crux of the matter, because taking a poorly formulated supplement may well cause your body more harm than good.   Unless your product is formulated using carefully selected, highly bioavailable, body-ready nutrients in doses that aim to support (not overload) the numerous metabolic and cellular processes that occur on a continuous basis, then you may as well not bother.

Let us look back to headlines published by the Daily Mail in 2016, where it stated that calcium supplements ‘dramatically increase risk of heart attacks’ but without clarifying that it is the type of calcium that was the issue. Given that the majority of calcium supplements contain calcium in the carbonate form (aka limestone) it is actually not surprising that this form of calcium builds up in the arteries (rock is terribly hard to digest and absorb…).   In addition, supplements are not foods, and should not [in terms of how we ‘dose’] be treated as such, yet consumption guidance on many calcium supplements means that individuals are taking  a large dose, all at once, that the body is simply unable to process.    In contrast, taking naturally-derived calcium [such as algae-sourced, pre-digested] over the day as a split-dose will lead to calcium accumulation within the bones (where you need it) and not the arteries, with significant benefits to bone mineral density, which is generally the purpose of taking a calcium supplement. (Kaats et al., 2011)

So what is the perfect diet?

This is a subject close to my heart and while the jury is out on defining a recognised, validated diet that meets the requirements of the whole population (simply because it is unlikely to exist), you can read about how to optimise your diet to give you the best possible nutrient-dense ingredients to reduce the risk of chronic disease here.    It’s also recognised by experts in nutrition that it’s not about how much of a food we eat, but more about focusing on the quality of the foods we consume. For example, it’s well established that food budgets can lower the nutritional adequacy of an individual’s diet.  Indeed, people’s food choice and diet variety of foods integral to a healthy diet (i.e. fruit, vegetables, fish) can be perceived as a luxury, with healthier alternatives (organic, grass-fed and so on) to common foods often carrying a price premium, making them essentially unachievable for some.  While many of us may wish to follow a perceived nutrient-rich, balanced diet, various economic ‘barriers’ can be influential on our dietary choices.  It is, for example, estimated that half of the weekly income is needed for a person on income support to eat a healthy diet, while the considerably higher cost of therapeutic diets places an even greater burden on older people with limited incomes. (Conklin et al., 2013) Thus I highlight the importance of my earlier comment about an individual’s diet and lifestyle situation rather than their diet and lifestyle choice as it is well established that socio-economic factors will influence how well a person will, or can, eat. (Maguire & Monsivais 2015) The assumption that we are all (or could be) consuming a balanced diet is therefore not feasible and supplementation may well be a convenient (and more affordable) option for many.  What is clear is that while we are consistently reminded of the benefits of a balanced diet, the figures for diet-related chronic diseases would suggest that the majority of us are non-compliant!

Diet related disease

In 2006-07, poor-diet-related ill health cost the NHS in the UK £5.8 billion, (Scarborough et al., 2011) and 10 years on, that figure has undoubtedly continued to grow.  Diabetes and obesity are key diseases that lead to other diet-related chronic diseases and it is well accepted that nutritional strategies that focus on the prevention of obesity and diabetes can reduce the prevalence of other major chronic diseases. In addition, cancer, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, kidney disease, digestive disease, and mental illness are consequences as well as causes of other diet-related chronic diseases.  All diseases have multifactorial causes, and most result from decreased antioxidant status, increased inflammatory status, impaired carbohydrate/lipid/one-carbon metabolism, impaired functioning of neurons and DNA transcription, hypertension, and/or modified gut flora. (Fardet & Boirie 2013)  Thus, it can be said that increasing antioxidant status, decreasing inflammation and/or supporting the complex systems that influence health via diet (and/or supplementation) can only aid in reducing disease risk.

Some studies suggest that supplements like vitamins and antioxidant can be harmful, so are supplements actually safe?

When used appropriately, yes, supplements are safe.  What is ‘appropriately’ I hear you ask?  When we read negative headlines it’s always worth looking at the source of the information behind them.  What is clear from many dietary intervention studies is that many nutrients work synergistically and that when given in very high doses, there is indeed a potential for them to cause problems by disrupting nutrient pathways.  Nutrients are not drugs, and should not be treated as such in research trials.  The antioxidant vitamin E, for example, is a popular antioxidant that has been associated with a reduced risk of cancer, yet a study published in 2011 found that the risk of prostate cancer actually increased among the men taking vitamin E compared to the men taking a placebo.  Scary stuff and you could easily think that this therefore makes vitamin E supplementation a bad idea for everyone – right?  Not so!  Let’s look more closely at some of the facts in this case.    Firstly, the trial used a synthetic vitamin E, a mixture of eight a-tocopherol stereoisomers in equal amounts (stereoisomers are molecules that have the same molecular formula but their atoms have a different arrangement).  Only one of these stereoisomers, (12.5% of the total mixture), was RRR- or d-a-tocopherol, the natural form.  A number of studies have shown significant differences between natural-source and synthetic vitamin E.  They have also shown that natural-source vitamin E is more efficiently used by the body than its synthetic counterpart and that the body has a preference for natural-source vitamin E over synthetic vitamin E.  (Burton et al., 1998) Had this trial used naturally-derived vitamin E the outcome may well have been very different.  Indeed, other trials have reported that both dietary and supplemental (as natural α-tocopherol) vitamin E are not only inversely associated with prostate cancer risk (high levels/high intake offer protection) but may also contribute to improved prostate cancer survival in those men with the disease. (Watters et al., 2009)
Secondly, when we give high doses of a single antioxidant such as vitamin E to an individual who may already be low in antioxidants, this can have the potential to cause vitamin E to become a pro-oxidant with the capacity to increase inflammation and therefore have health-negative outcomes; it is useful, therefore, to understand how antioxidants actually ‘work’ and the factors that influence their actions.  Antioxidants act to stabilise free radicals usually by donating an electron, hydrogen or other chemical group that, essentially, calms the free radical down and stops it going on the rampage.  However, depleted antioxidants have the capacity to become pro-oxidants thereby ‘switching teams’ to become free radicals themselves unless another antioxidant (such as CoQ10, lipoic acid or vitamin C) steps in to donate one of its electrons, thus converting vitamin E back from a pro-oxidant to an antioxidant.  So – numerous antioxidants act together, essentially working as a tag team to keep the body free from free radicals;  however, if someone hasn’t been eating their veggies, they may be low in antioxidants and so dumping a high-dose vitamin E into the mix may cause a rise in the pro-oxidant version.  Therefore rather than supplementing with single antioxidants, it is more effective to supplement with a mix so they have the capacity to recycle each other.  The antioxidant story is a complex subject that was recently clarified by fellow nutritionist Sophie Tully and you can read more about the pros and cons of taking antioxidant supplements and how to optimise the benefits for you rather than the population on a general level here.

Choosing the right supplement

It’s a minefield out there! For a consumer, the variety of supplements in health shops, online, or even in supermarkets can be overwhelming. I’m going to use my own experience of involvement in­­­­­ supplement formulation to illustrate the importance of awareness of the choices to be made in doing so:  the focus is to ensure the efficacy and safety of formulas. Uptake and retention of nutrients is optimised by taking measures to overcome bioavailability issues, by using only the most effective ‘body-ready’ forms, or pre-methylated forms of vitamins and minerals.  We incorporate a slow release matrix into our tablets and we actively encourage split-dosing to ensure all-day coverage. We also do not believe in overloading the body with excessive ‘mega’ doses that the body does not need or simply cannot absorb in one dose. The majority of water-soluble nutrients are simply not needed in mega-amounts for an effect and can (such as in the case of folic acid) come with undesired contraindications.  Sometimes the body will simply excrete any excess it does not need or cannot absorb in one dose. For example, with nutrients such as B12 and vitamin C, absorption is far better when the nutrient is delivered at smaller doses at a sustained rate because the transport systems responsible for their uptake quickly become saturated.  This means that as the dose increases, the absorption rate decreases and the majority of the nutrient will simply pass though the body unabsorbed – this is wasteful and financially unacceptable.  In addition, we use vitamin B12 as methylcobalamin(rather than the cheaper poorly absorbed cyanocobalamin form) for enhanced uptake. We use Quatrefolic® which is the body-ready form of folate, as [6S]-5-methyltetrahydrofolate, while most standard supplements contain synthetic folic acid. Incidentally, the article I am responding to referred to the use of folic acid as desirable during pregnancy; I would point out that folic acid is now being updated to folate by many supplement manufacturers because of issues around impaired folic acid metabolism and the role this plays in the development of neural tube defects (such as spina bifida).   We also choose the active form of riboflavin, riboflavin-5-phosphate.  Similarly, vitamin B6 is pyridoxal-5-phosphate, the only form of B6 with cofactor activity.    Taking such important considerations as bioavailability and dose frequency into account, safe supplements are formulated with the aim of delivering unprecedented yet cost-effective health benefits – otherwise what is the point?


Supplements may not be for everyone, but if we base the argument for not supplementing on the utopian notion that we can obtain all the vitamins and minerals we need from a balanced diet, then it’s highly likely that the majority of us would benefit from a micronutrient top-up!  In addition, given the growing burden that dietary-related chronic diseases are having on our NHS system, it is evident that nutrient deficiencies (= increased nutrient demands) are rife.  It is also evident that with an increasing market, not all supplements will be equal in terms of safety and efficacy and that purchasing from a reputable healthcare company with a team of experienced, and highly qualified nutrition scientists (who are also practising nutrition practitioners) behind the development of their products will ensure that you are in the safest hands possible when choosing products aimed at optimising health. If you’re interested, here is the link to The Independent’s article What vitamins should I take, which prompted this article.


Burton GW, Traber MG, Acuff RV, Walters DN, Kayden H, Hughes L, Ingold KU. Human plasma and tissue alpha-tocopherol concentrations in response to supplementation with deuterated natural and synthetic vitamin E.
Am J Clin Nutr. 1998 Apr;67(4):669-84.
Conklin AI, Maguire ER, Monsivais P. Economic determinants of diet in older adults: systematic review. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2013 Sep;67(9):721-7
Fardet A, Boirie Y. Associations between diet-related diseases and impaired physiological mechanisms: a holistic approach based on meta-analyses to identify targets for preventive nutrition. Nutr Rev. 2013 Oct;71(10):643-56.
Maguire ER, Monsivais P. Socio-economic dietary inequalities in UK adults: an updated picture of key food groups and nutrients from national surveillance data. Br J Nutr. 2015 Jan 14;113(1):181-9.

Scarborough P, Bhatnagar P, Wickramasinghe KK, Allender S, Foster C, Rayner M. The economic burden of ill health due to diet, physical inactivity, smoking, alcohol and obesity in the UK: an update to 2006-07 NHS costs. J Public Health (Oxf). 2011 Dec;33(4):527-35.
Watters JL, Gail MH, Weinstein SJ, Virtamo J, Albanes D. Associations between alpha-tocopherol, beta-carotene, and retinol and prostate cancer survival. Cancer Res. 2009 May 1;69(9):3833-41.

Friday, 16 February 2018

How to Choose a Juicer, According to Science - by Jen Reviews

Jen from Jen Reviews shares her useful guide on how to choose a juicer, according to science...and there are 12 factors to consider.

While most people use a blender or a food processor to get by making fresh juices, using a juicer can have its own advantages. A professional juicer is much easier and faster to use and produces delicious juice servings that look to good to put down.
If you have a very old juicer to, it’s very inconvenient and difficult to use. That’s why you should consider upgrading. It’s not worth exhausting both time and energy with a juicer that is unable to smoothly juice greens and fruits without making a big of a mess.
You want something that does an excellent job at juicing practically any fruit and vegetable. There is a wide collection of juicing machines that you can buy on a budget, but if you’re willing to invest long-term looking for high-end machines is most fitting. You want something that produces a pleasant glass of fresh health juice, while maximizing the ingredients’ nutrients and taste.

Here are the key factors you need to consider when choosing a juicer.

1. Determine The Type You Want To Use

If you plan on buying a juicer right away, then you need to be well-aware of the kind of juicers available on the market. Finding the best juicer involves careful comparison between a centrifugal, masticating, and a citrus juicer. (1,2)
So which one will it be?

Centrifugal juicer: Being the most popular and common type of juicer, a centrifugal juicer comes with easy-to-use features. It is also an affordable pick for many common households. The reason why most people opt for a centrifugal juicer is because it functions a lot like a blender.
The juicing mechanism of a centrifugal juicer is that it spins really fast, causing a center of rotation, to apply sufficient force on the vegetables and fruits. Many types of centrifugal juicers spin powerfully at not less than 15,000 RPM.
However, this feature makes the juicer noisier with a shorter juice life span. So you need to consume to juice immediately after preparing it in a centrifugal juicer for the fresh and nutritious taste.
Masticating juicer: A masticating juicer boasts of more advanced and durable features. It uses a slower and more efficient juicing mechanism to help absorb all the right nutrients without compromising on freshness and flavor. If you’re a serious health freak, buying a masticating juicer will do you good.
It uses a low RPM count to juice all types of fruits, veggies, and other greens. It relies on chopping and squeezing the greens which takes up less power and noise. The gentle crushing and extracting of the fruits and vegetables retains more fresh juice than centrifugal juicers.
However, masticating juicers are more expensive than centrifugal juicers.
Citrus juicer: Unlike a masticating and centrifugal juicer, a citrus juicer is a manual press juicer. It is only used to juice limes, oranges, lemon, and grapefruits. They’re the most affordable ones on the market due to its limited usability.
This juicer applies pressure on the fruit to release the juice in an attached container located right under the fruit. The part which exerts pressure on the fruit looks like a small, but sturdy cone-like device. It squeezes the juice equally from all sides of the fruit, which needs to be cut in half before placing on the citrus juicer.
If you have many citrus fruits to juice, using a manual citrus juicer saves a lot of time! It helps you prepare fresh lemonades, orange drinks, and other recipes without breaking a sweat.

2. Horizontal Or Vertical Juicer - Which Is It?

Now that you know the basic types of juicers on the market, think about convenience. Do you want a slow or multiple-speed juicer? Slow juicers vary not in type, but in size.
If deciding a type for you is getting difficult, you can always prefer buying a slow juicer with either a horizontal or a vertical design. That is, if you have a compact kitchen with very limited counter space.
Here’s what you need to know about a horizontal and a vertical juicer.
Horizontal juicers: Horizontal slow juicers were the first ones to get picked up from the shelves years ago. Consumers kept coming back to it because of its easy-to-use and affordable features.
The best part about using a horizontal juicer is that it doubles as a food processor too, in most models. The fruits and vegetables remain dry and fresh after juicing. Plus, cleaning a horizontal juicer takes less time than vertical ones.
Vertical juicers: Vertical slow juicers do a good job at preserving the natural enzymes of the fruits and vegetables. And they come in variegated designs and styles to suit kitchen décor. The juicing mechanism of a vertical juicer is gravity-fed, which makes the process effortless and faster.
Vertical juicers come with wider feeding chutes than horizontal juicers, which is both cost-effective and time-saving. The only drawback to using a vertical juicer is that it’s more expensive and difficult to track down than horizontal juicers.

3. Is It Easy To Clean?

Juicers are not like other food processing appliances. They retain all the natural enzymes and micronutrients of the veggies and fruits. It chops, squeezes, and pushes the veggies to the brink to release every ounce of juice from it. So when you’re using something this powerful and precise, cleaning it thoroughly is essential.
You need to be able to clean every part of the juicer such as the pulp ejection bin, filter screens, and other components. So the best thing to do is find a juicer that’s dishwasher friendly, right? I mean, that’s the only way to reduce build-up and stickiness, which can gradually cause damage and molds.
When buying a new juicer, make sure the parts are not too difficult to clean. If there’s a longer cleaning time, there’s a possibility that you’ll treat using it in the first place. Nobody likes tough cleaning, so buying a user-friendly juicer is important.
If it’s dishwasher safe: You must read the back instructions of the juicer carefully. You shouldn’t place a part that doesn’t belong in a dishwasher. It’s not surprising that a juicer consists of certain parts that are dishwasher safe and some are not.
Generally, the removable parts of a juicer are dishwasher safe. While the bulky ones don’t withstand mechanical washing. You need to hand wash them to keep their warranty and increase shelf-life.
If it’s hand-washable only: Hand washing a juicer takes time and effort. Especially when you’re using the juicer several times a day. It’s always advisable to soak all the removable parts in warm water until you use it again. Only after the last juicing should you use soap to clean all the parts of a juicer. (3)

4. Does It Have A High Yield?

When you compare a centrifugal juicer to a masticating juicer, you will know that the latter one is more efficient at extracting fresh juice than the former. (4)
Depending on your drinking habits, you can pick between a centrifugal and a masticating juicer. If you want a small amount of yield, that is a single glass produce, buying a centrifugal juicer is imperative. Using a masticating juicer for a larger produce has its own health benefits.
A centrifugal juicer pushes the veggies and fruits in a fast-spinning basket. This basket comes with a grated bottom that helps shred and spin the entire produce. The final result is the juice following through the mesh filter and in the pitcher. The remaining, unused pulp is transferred into a separate basket.
The fast-spinning juicing mechanism produces plenty of oxidation which means most of the natural enzymes and micronutrients are destroyed. So it’s always advisable to drink the juice fresh when it’s prepared in a centrifugal juicer. For this reason, centrifugal juicers offer less yield than masticating juicers.
On the other hand, a masticating juicer uses slow speeds to break down micronutrients. This is because a masticating juicer is a single-speed juicer that releases the gently squeezed juice into a screen. With less oxidation (because of the slow-spinning speed) and better nutrient extraction, their yield is much higher and healthier to consume.

5. Consider The Speed Settings

There are single-gear juicers, such as masticating juicers, horizontal, and vertical slow juicers, and there are multiple-speed ones, such as centrifugal juicers.
The speed settings on a standard centrifugal juicer varies from 3,000 to 15,000 RPM. So buying a centrifugal juicer for faster yields is essential. Whereas, single-gear juicers come with a single speed varying from 40 to 160 RPM. The extreme difference in speed setting between a slow and centrifugal juicer says a lot of about energy efficiency. (5)
An appliance that uses more power to perform takes up more electric energy. So a centrifugal juicer working at 15,000 RPM takes a lot more power usage than a single-speed juicer at 160 RPM.
The amount of power wattages on a centrifugal juicer shouldn’t have to determine its speed. It goes the other way around. If you buy a 3,000 RPM juicer, it can have a higher power usage than a 10,000 RPM juicer. What you need to do is check each specification based on your preferences.
If you’re buying a juicer with more than two RPM settings, it takes up more electrical power than using only a 15,000 RPM centrifugal juicer. A standard juicer uses up 85 to 1000 watts per hour depending on the duration and motor performance. (6)

6. Check The Noise Levels

The typical noise level of a juicer is between 81 to 88 decibels, more than that of an air purifier but still bearable. Anything more than this mark can seem too noisy and disturbing. People often confuse power ratings with sound ratings of a kitchen appliance. For checking the noise levels of any kitchen appliance, it’s important to look at the dBA rating of a model.
Lots of juicers are tested under normal conditions, that is close to open windows and in spacious rooms. This hinders the entire process of measuring the sound levels of any appliance since it’s subjective to each consumer.
If you buy a juicer with the lowest possible sound rating, using it in a compact kitchen won’t give you a headache. However, if you want quieter sound levels, using a juicer in an open space can be a good idea. Noise and environment go hand-in-hand to determine the sound level of any juicer.
When using a centrifugal juicer, the high-power settings produce more noise. On the other hand, using a masticating juicer at slower speeds produce less noise than multiple-speed juicers. The major difference here is that centrifugal juicers take less time to juice than masticating. So, as noisy as it may be, the juicing time on a centrifugal juicer is faster than any other juicer.
Hence, determining the sound level based on these factors is imperative.

7. Don’t Forget To Compare The Prices

The solid build, speed, and ease of use of a juicer might determine its price. A commercial juicer that is able to withstand years to use is generally more expensive to buy. But you can base your budget depending on the different types of juicers available on the market.
Manual juicers: Manual juicers are the least expensive ones on the market. They’re usually hand-held juicers that apply force to extract the juice from certain types of fruits, not vegetables. A standard manual juicer, a commercial one, falls between the range of $8 to $200.
Centrifugal juicers: Most consumers are familiar with a centrifugal juicer because of its basic features and affordable price. The cheapest centrifugal juicer costs about $150 up to $300 for mid-range models with a few advanced features and add-ons. The most premium price for an intelligent centrifugal juicer would be up to $2000.
Masticating juicers: The cost of a masticating juicer surpasses centrifugal models. But the cheapest range is between $200 to $400 for a commercial masticating juicer.
Citrus juicers: These are either manual or electric juicers ranging from $5 up to $150. Citrus juicers aren’t as versatile as other models, which makes them more affordable and easy to track down.

8. How Versatile Is It?

If you prefer juicing all sorts of vegetables and fruits, knowing how versatile your juicer is is important. Buying a centrifugal juicer over a masticating limits your veggie and fruits intake. However, a centrifugal juicer offers quick and simple juicing, a lot less complicated than masticating models.
Considering the versatility of a juicer is all a matter of personal preference. There are plenty juicers out there that offer appropriate juicing options for beginners as well as serious health enthusiasts.
Centrifugal juicer: Centrifugal juicers are less versatile than masticating juicers. They pulverize the fruit and vegetables against a fast-spinning cutting blade. This limits the types of food you put inside the chute. So juicing leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, and other herbs is not possible.
A centrifugal juicer is suitable for basic veggies and fruits since it accepts big-sized pieces. It even delivers juice faster than other models.
Cold press juicers: Cold press juicers are also known as masticating juicers. They work in the opposite direction of centrifugal juicers, that is at slower speeds and better micronutrients and enzyme absorption.
Because the juicer gently squeezes and compresses the fruits and vegetables, adding leafy greens, herbs, and sprouts is possible. It even offers a higher juice yield which lasts for as long as 72 hours.
Speaking of such versatility, you can also use a masticating juicer for processing butter, milk, ice cream, etc. Despite the higher cost and set up, using a masticating juicer for its functionality is quite tempting, if you ask me.

9. Consider Ease Of Use

The basics of juicing are spelled out just right, but what about the juicer itself? How do you know whether the juicer is easy to use and effective? Or will it give you trouble once you bring it home and use it for the first time?
Buying a juicer isn’t enough, considering how easy it is to use is also very important. There are many differences between using a centrifugal and masticating juicer. From pulp ejection systems to locking mechanism, and so forth. If you pay attention to such details before you buy it, you won’t face any problems using it in the future. (7)
Pulp ejection system: With every juicer, after the juicing method stops, you will have to deal with the fibrous pulp of various fruits. If you consider buying a juicer without a pulp ejection system, it can make cleaning slightly difficult.
A pulp ejection system that makes the juicer unique and easy to handle. Especially when you use it several times a day. It’s like a filtration system that gets rid of all the bad, left-over stuff so you don’t have to deal with it first-hand.
There are many types of pulp ejection systems, but the most common one removes the left-over pulp while juicing. So you can keep a small container right in front of the pulp ejecting hole. So all the pulp is neatly collected without causing clogs or molds inside the juicer.
The other type holds the left-over pulp inside the juicer in a tiny pulp collection bin. This is suitable for people who have to work with limited counter space.
Juice collector: Considering how much space you want for juice collection is a matter of personal preference. If you make juices for the whole family, considering a bigger juice collector is ideal.
On the other hand, if you plan on juicing only one or two glasses for a day, buying a built-in juice collector is enough. It saves both counter space and money. Modern juicers come with custom-built juice collectors, if you plan on self-serving your juice produce at once.
Feeder tube: The feeder tube is from where you will put the fruits and vegetables for juicing. The size of a feeder tube determines how much you can insert inside the juicer for juicing. The larger the feeder tube, the more fruits and vegetables you can add.
It also depends on the type of juicer you ultimately choose. Some commercial juicers come with feeders that come right off for better fruits and vegetables insertion. That’s very similar to blenders.
On the other hand, some feeders allow you to press fruits down into the juicer to grind them before the juicing process begins. This saves time, on your part, to physically chop each fruit and vegetable before juicing.

10. Does It Come With A Warranty?

If your juicer doesn’t come with a promising warranty, don’t buy it. With a proper warranty you can report factory defects which might have remained hidden in the store. Lack of proper warranty is often the case with ineffective brands and weak models.
When you consider buying a higher-priced juicer, you will notice a whopping warranty benefit. Some commercial, high-end juicers come with 10 to 15 years of warranty on build as well as performance. But if you want to use your juicer for not more than 5 years, buying a mid-range model that offers a limited-period warranty is effective.
Consider the warranty as a guarantee, by the manufacturer, of the juicer you’re buying. While some offer 1 year limited warranty, other brands give away long-term warranties with insurances that cover most of the repairs and replacement.
Some models also come with a solid warranty of the motor for up to 10 years. The same applies to a warranty on main parts of a juicer. (8)

11. Do You Need A Twin-Gear Juicer?

If buying a masticating or a centrifugal juicer isn’t suitable, consider buying a twin-gear one. It’s also referred to as a triturating juicer. This juicer grinds, rubs, crushes, or pounds the veggies and fruits to produce finer particles. This extracts all the juice, enzymes, and nutrients from the fruit and vegetables.
Like the name suggests, it rotates inwards, crushing and grinding the extracts. You can select either a 40 to 80 RPM gear setting or an 80 to 160 RPM gear setting. All types of veggies work with a twin-gear juicer. Plus, it’s known to come with additional tools and attachments for better usability.
Here are some pros and cons of using a twin-gear juicer:
Advantages of a twin-gear juicer:
  • It’s more silent than other types of juicers.
  • The juice can be stored in a refrigerator for up to 36 hours.
  • It offers low-speed juicing mechanism which retains micronutrients and natural enzymes.
  • It eliminates excessive oxidization.
  • The cutting blade produces very little foam.
Disadvantages of a twin-gear juicer:
  • It’s fairly priced, but is more expensive than centrifugal juicers.
  • Not suitable for beginners.
  • It is a heavy-duty appliance.
  • The feeding chute or feeder tube is comparatively smaller.

12. Will You Be Juicing Wheatgrass?

Finding something that breaks down wheatgrass is similar to finding Waldo. You need the right set of skills, in this case features, to win. The two most important features in a wheatgrass juicer are slow speed and powerful operation. So it’s sort of a combination of a masticating and a centrifugal juicer.
There are plenty of juicers that are willing to extract every drop from the hard fibers of wheatgrass. Using a manual juicer, on the other hand, might seem a bit challenging. But it’s the most convenient way to juice wheatgrass. Any other juicer might clog up or start lagging in the middle of the process.
The price of a standard manual juicer is somewhere between $20 to $50. A manual wheatgrass juicer comes with a stainless steel construction, a long feeder tube, and a rotating handle.
Electric wheatgrass juicers offer less heat build-up and higher juice yields that are well-suited. They also feature automatic pulp ejectors to reduce clogging and dryness. Juicing wheatgrass won’t be difficult anymore, unless you use the wrong juicer that doesn’t strain every bit of wheatgrass juice after completion. 

Why Juicing?

With a good juicer by your side, you can reap the benefits of juicing; better than buying packaged drinks from the grocery store. Understanding why juicing is so important will make your case stronger when choosing the right juicer.
Buying the best juicer can make nutrient absorption in the body more effective than normal chewing of the same fruits and vegetables. Not only that, you can combine different kinds of fruits and vegetables that you normally wouldn’t consume in a single plate. So without juicing, you’d miss out on the consumption of many nutritious fruits and vegetables such as kale, beet, berries, grapefruit, and pineapple. (10,11)
Buying the wrong kind of juicer, without any consideration, can have its own disadvantages:
Heat build-up: If you use the wrong kind of juicer, especially on that’s high-powered, it can lead to heat build-up inside the juice collector. The natural enzymes and nutrients present in fruits and vegetables get destroyed when heated. Even a slight increase in juice temperature than normal can have a negative effect on the food products.
Oxidization: This is when the natural enzymes and nutrients present in various fruits and vegetables get torn because of too much oxygen exposure. The oxygen particles have a negative effect on the nutrients which can reduce its potency and freshness.
A lot goes into making good juice- exposure to a certain amount of oxygen, heat, and foaming. But juice extraction is only possible when done right. Otherwise it can have destructive effects on the human body.
For example, according to one report, enzyme loss in the body due to a poor juicer can lead to serious health concerns. Proteins, a common enzyme present in most fruits and vegetables, when digested, is broken down into amino acids which your body needs for energy production and a stronger immune system.
This report also demonstrates how just enough heat and oxidization can improve enzyme-absorption in a high-quality juicer. Juicers that invites too much oxygen or air into the juicing method are not fit for proper standards. That said, the cutting blades or speed of the motor do not directly have an effect on juice enzyme extraction. In fact, too much air exposure can cause foaming, which leads to oxidization.
Thus several aspects of a juicer such as the feeding tube, juice collector, cutting blade, and motor speed come into play when producing enzyme-rich juice. Studies have also suggested that a good juicer can reduce bacterial contamination and eliminate air that keep the micronutrients and natural enzymes stable and healthy. (12)

That’s A Wrap!

If you’ve come this far, it means you’re ready to buy a new juicer right away. Putting in some serious thought to your juicer needs saves you from making expensive mistakes. Just in case you didn’t follow through, this is how you can compare different models of juicers on the market. 
  • If you don’t know which type of juicer to get, considering the vegetables and fruits you will be juicing is important. If you will be juicing softer fruit and vegetables, buying a masticating juicer is essential. It’s good for juicing leafy greens and producing high yields at slower speeds.
  • Using a centrifugal juice for hard fruits and vegetables is the most effective juicing method at a valuable price.
  • If you have plenty of time on your hands, look for a masticating juicer. The slow speed and powerful churning extracts maximum juice without destroying micronutrients and other natural enzymes. On the other hand, using a centrifugal juicer does the job incredibly fast!
  • Considering a wider feeder tube to avoid chopping and slicing the fruits and vegetables yourself is ideal. You can insert whole carrots, apples, and other hard items without worrying about clogging.
  • If you’re a traveler, consider buying a more portable juicer like a vertical or a manual juicer for maximum convenience. So it doesn’t weigh down your backpack.
  • If you’re juicing for the entire family, buying a horizontal juicer with a bigger juice collector and pulp ejection system is important. It reduces cleaning time and you get a powerful motor to run for years.
  • Ensure some parts of the juicer are dishwasher-safe to reduce cleaning time. Especially when you plan on using the juicer several times a day.