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Is cold-pressed juice better than normal juice?

Juicing fruits and vegetables has become an increasingly popular way for people to increase their intake of nutrients. While traditional juicing methods use heat and spinning blades to extract the juice, cold-pressed juicing relies solely on mechanical pressing to squeeze out the liquid. Proponents of cold-pressed juice claim it is superior nutritionally compared to regular juices.

In this article, we’ll take a detailed look at cold-pressed juice and how it compares to normal juice in terms of nutrition, taste, cost, and more.

What is cold-pressed juice?

Cold-pressed juice is made using a high-pressure processing method that extracts juice from fruits and vegetables without exposing them to heat. This is done using a hydraulic press, which squeezes produce at thousands of pounds of pressure to rupture cell walls and release the juice inside. The process generates minimal heat, preserving more of the nutrients compared to traditional juicing methods.

After pressing, the juice is usually bottled immediately to prevent oxidation and nutrient loss. Cold-pressed juices typically need to be consumed within 3-5 days since they don’t contain any preservatives.

How cold-pressed juice compares to normal juice

Here’s a breakdown of how cold-pressed juice stacks up against regular juice:

Nutrient content

Advocates claim that cold-pressed juice retains more vitamins, minerals, and enzymes compared to juice made with heat or high-speed blending. This is because heat and oxygen can damage or deactivate these nutrients.

Studies comparing nutrient levels have found mixed results:

  • One study found cold-pressed orange juice had over 30% higher vitamin C and carotenoid levels.
  • Another study detected higher antioxidant capacity in cold-pressed pomegranate juice.
  • However, other analyses have found no major differences in vitamin C or antioxidant content between cold-pressed and conventionally produced juices.

Overall, cold-pressed juice may potentially retain more heat-sensitive nutrients. However, the extent of this benefit can vary based on factors like produce type, juicing method, and storage time.

Fiber content

Since juicing extracts the liquid contents of produce, the insoluble fiber is removed in the process. Soluble fiber remains in the extracted juice.

Both cold-pressed and normal juicing will result in low fiber juices compared to whole fruits and vegetables. One study found cold-pressed juices contained only 0.1–0.8 grams of fiber per 100 ml serving.

Enzyme content

Enzymes are proteins that facilitate chemical reactions in the body. They can be damaged by heat, so cold-pressed juices may contain more active enzymes.

Research has observed higher levels of the enzymes polyphenol oxidase and peroxidase in cold-pressed juices compared to heat-treated juices. Enzymes may help promote digestion, but more research is needed on their role in juice.

Phytochemical content

Phytochemicals are compounds produced by plants that may have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and other health benefits in humans. Common phytochemicals in fruits and veggies include flavonoids, carotenoids, and glucosinolates.

Limited evidence suggests cold-pressed juices may retain higher levels of certain phytochemicals like carotenoids. However, effects seem to vary significantly based on the specific fruit or vegetable used.

Shelf life

Due to a lack of preservatives or heat pasteurization, cold-pressed juices have a shorter shelf life of around 3–5 days when refrigerated. Normal juices can last 1–2 weeks thanks to added preservatives and heat treatment.

Oxidation

Exposure to heat, light, and air can degrade nutrients in juice through oxidation. Cold-pressed juices oxidize more slowly compared to hot-pressed juices, potentially preserving nutrients for longer.

However, cold-pressed juices in clear glass bottles are still vulnerable to nutrient damage from light exposure. Storing them in opaque bottles or Tetra Pak cartons can help block light.

Taste

Cold-pressed juices are typically lower in acidity and have a thicker, more viscous mouthfeel compared to normal juices. They also often retain subtle flavors from essential oils and plant material that can get destroyed by heat.

For example, cold-pressed lemon juice tends to taste milder and less sour than hot-processed lemon juice. Overall, cold-pressed juice has a fresher, more natural flavor for many people.

Cost

Due to high-pressure processing requirements and lower yields, cold-pressed juice tends to be significantly more expensive than regular juice. A 16 oz bottle of cold-pressed juice typically costs $7-12, while the same amount of normal juice may only cost $3-4.

Nutrition

Here’s a nutrition comparison between 16 oz of cold-pressed juice and regular orange juice:

Nutrient Cold-pressed orange juice Regular orange juice
Calories 179 179
Sugar 36 g 36 g
Vitamin C 124 mg (138% DV) 124 mg (138% DV)
Folate 53 mcg (13% DV) 53 mcg (13% DV)
Potassium 496 mg (11% DV) 496 mg (11% DV)

Aside from minor variability in certain heat-sensitive vitamins, the overall nutritional value of cold-pressed and normal juice is largely the same.

Pros and cons of cold-pressed juice

Here are some of the key advantages and disadvantages of cold-pressed juice compared to regular juice:

Potential benefits

  • May contain slightly higher levels of some heat-sensitive vitamins
  • Enhanced enzyme content
  • Nutrients may be better preserved
  • Subtle, fresher flavor

Potential downsides

  • Much more expensive than regular juice
  • Very low in fiber
  • Not scientifically proven to be more nutritious
  • Short shelf life

Is cold-pressed juice worth it?

Based on the current evidence, cold-pressed juice doesn’t seem to offer definitive nutritional advantages over regular juice to justify the much higher cost for most people.

The differences in vitamin, enzyme, and phytochemical content between the two are relatively small and unlikely to impact health in a major way. Both types of juice are low in fiber and lack the complete nutritional benefits of whole fruits and vegetables.

That said, cold-pressed juice does have a fresher, more natural taste that some people prefer. The process may also result in modest nutrient preservation, especially of certain heat-liable compounds. So for those who truly enjoy the flavor, cold-pressed juice may be a tasty indulgence.

Overall, juice should be seen as a supplemental source of nutrients at best. It’s healthier and more cost effective to meet your daily produce needs mainly through eating whole fruits and veggies.

The bottom line

Cold-pressed juice retains more enzymes and may have slightly higher levels of some vitamins compared to regular juice. However, the differences are relatively small. There’s no strong evidence that drinking cold-pressed juice is vastly nutritionally superior to normal juice.

At the end of the day, juice lacks fiber and some nutrients compared to whole produce. So while cold-pressed varieties may be somewhat fresher and more natural tasting, they shouldn’t be viewed as a magic bullet beverage. Eating a balanced diet focused on whole foods remains the healthiest approach.