Juicing has become an increasingly popular way to get more fruits and vegetables into your diet. When you juice fruits and veggies, the edible pulp is left behind in the juicer. This pulp contains fiber and other nutrients, but some people choose to throw it away.
Eating juicing pulp can help you get extra nutrition from your produce. But is it actually healthy? Here’s a detailed look at the nutritional benefits and downsides of consuming juicing pulp.
Nutritional Benefits of Juicing Pulp
Juice pulp is nutritious because it contains parts of the fruits and vegetables that juicing removes. This includes:
- Dietary fiber
- Healthy fats
- Vitamins and minerals
One of the biggest benefits of eating juicing pulp is the fiber content. Juicers remove the juice and leave behind the fiber-rich pulp.
Fiber is an important nutrient that most people don’t get enough of. It helps promote digestive health and may lower cholesterol levels, control blood sugar, and aid weight management.
Just 1 cup (222 grams) of pulp from juicing carrots, celery, ginger, lemon, and apple provides over 7 grams of fiber. That’s up to 28% of the daily recommended intake.
Juicing pulp also contains small amounts of protein, especially from veggies like spinach, kale, broccoli, and peas. Protein is necessary for building and repairing tissues and muscles.
You won’t get large amounts of protein from juicing pulp, but every bit counts. One cup (222 grams) of mixed fruit and vegetable pulp provides around 2–3 grams of protein.
Juice pulp from avocados, coconuts, and olives contain beneficial fats. These unsaturated fats may promote heart health when eaten in moderation.
Vitamins and Minerals
Juicing pulp is rich in vitamins and minerals like:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin K
These vitamins and minerals support immune function, bone health, metabolism, and cellular function. You’ll get a greater variety and higher dose from eating the pulp than only drinking the juice.
Phytochemicals are compounds found naturally in plants that may provide health benefits. Research shows they have antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects.
Phytochemicals tend to be highest in the skins and seeds of produce. Since juicing removes the juice and leaves the pulp, the pulp is a great source of these beneficial plant compounds.
Antioxidants are substances that help neutralize harmful free radicals and reduce oxidative stress in your cells. Oxidative stress has been linked to chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
Fruit and vegetable peels are particularly high in antioxidants. Eating the nutrient-dense pulp left over from juicing gives you an antioxidant boost.
Potential Downsides of Eating Juicing Pulp
While juicing pulp is nutritious, there are some potential downsides to consider:
- May impact blood sugar
- Contains antinutrients
- High in pesticide residue
- Harbors harmful bacteria
Impact on Blood Sugar
Since juice pulp contains fiber but no free sugars, you may assume it has little effect on blood sugar. However, pulp retains properties of the fruit or veggie it came from.
For example, watermelon and carrot pulp are higher in sugar and may spike blood sugar levels more than greens like spinach or kale.
One study found that eating watermelon pulp increased blood sugar and insulin levels similarly to whole watermelon. Still, the pulp’s fiber may help slow absorption and blunt blood sugar spikes.
Antinutrients are compounds found in plant foods that may interfere with nutrient absorption. Common antinutrients include:
- Phytic acid
Legumes, grains, nuts, seeds, and certain veggies are high in antinutrients. Juicing pulp from spinach, beetroots, almonds, and chia seeds has more antinutrients than the juice itself.
While antinutrients can impair mineral absorption, they also have antioxidant effects that may benefit health.
Higher in Pesticide Residue
Since juicing pulp contains the peel and skin of produce, it may be higher in pesticide residue if the fruits and veggies are conventionally grown. Pesticides are chemicals used in commercial farming to protect crops from pests.
Washing produce thoroughly before juicing can help remove some pesticides. However, peeling non-organic produce may further reduce trace pesticides.
May Harbor Harmful Bacteria
Juicing pulp isn’t pasteurized or treated to kill bacteria like juice is. Harmful bacteria like salmonella, E. coli, and listeria are much more likely to be found in pulp than juice.
People with compromised immune systems should take extra care with consuming juicing pulp due to this risk.
Tips for Eating Juicing Pulp
Here are some tips for safely consuming juicing pulp:
- Wash produce thoroughly before juicing.
- Only keep fresh pulp 1–2 days in the fridge.
- Freeze pulp in batches for later use.
- Cook pulp to reduce bacteria before eating.
- Add lemon juice to pulp to prevent browning.
- Mix pulp into smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, soups, or baked goods.
- Dehydrate into snacks like fruit rolls, granola bars, or veggie chips.
Nutrition Comparison of Juice vs Pulp
To get an idea of how eating pulp boosts nutrition, here’s a comparison of nutrients in 8 ounces (240 ml) of juice vs 1 cup (240 grams) of pulp from juicing carrots, celery, lemon, ginger, and apples:
|Nutrient||Juice (8 ounces)||Pulp (1 cup)|
|Protein||2 grams||3 grams|
|Carbs||26 grams||42 grams|
|Fiber||1 gram||7 grams|
|Vitamin A||138% DV||261% DV|
|Vitamin C||24% DV||39% DV|
|Potassium||16% DV||28% DV|
As you can see, pulp contains more fiber, vitamins, minerals, and overall nutrition than juice alone. The fiber in pulp also helps slow sugar absorption, allowing for steadier energy levels.
Should You Eat Juicing Pulp?
For most people, eating fresh juicing pulp is safe and provides an extra boost of nutrition. People with diabetes or gut issues may want to limit pulp intake until they know how it affects their blood sugar or digestion.
Here are some of the key benefits of consuming juicing pulp:
- Good source of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds
- Allows you to get the most nutrition from produce
- Counts towards recommended daily fruit/veggie intake
- Provides filling fiber that may aid weight loss
- Reduces food waste from juicing
Potential drawbacks to keep in mind include:
- May spike blood sugar in some people
- Contains antinutrients that can inhibit mineral absorption
- Has higher pesticide residue if made with conventionally grown produce
- Raw pulp harbors more bacteria than pasteurized juice
Overall, juicing pulp is low in calories and high in the good stuff. Adding it to your diet provides extra nutrition from fruits and veggies.
However, people with health conditions like diabetes or kidney stones may want to limit or avoid consumption until they know how it affects them personally.
Healthy Ways to Use Juicing Pulp
Here are some healthy and creative ways to use up your juicing pulp:
Mix a spoonful of fresh or frozen pulp into your smoothies for extra fiber, vitamins, and thickness.
Stir pulp into overnight oats to add fiber, vitamins, and natural sweetness. Apple, mango, and berry pulp work great.
Combine pulp with nuts, oats, nut butter, and protein powder then roll into bite-size protein balls.
Add a cup of pulp to your pancake batter for a fiber and nutrition boost.
Mix in pulp when baking muffins, breads, and other baked goods for added moisture and nutrients.
Stir fresh or frozen pulp into soups for extra body and a nutritional boost.
Mix pulp into eggs before scrambling for colorful, nutritious eggs.
Blend pulp with yogurt and freeze into homemade popsicles for a healthy summer snack.
Dehydrate pulp into chewy, sweet fruit leathers. Kids love these.
Bind granola, nuts, oats, and dried fruit together with pulp to make fiber-rich granola bars.
Dehydrate beet, carrot, sweet potato, or other veggie pulp into crispy veggie chips.
Don’t throw all that juicing pulp away! With plenty of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds, pulp can be a nutritious addition to your diet.
Just be mindful of sugar content, antinutrients, and bacteria risk if you have any health conditions. For most people, consuming fresh juicing pulp is safe when prepared properly.
You can blend pulp into just about anything for extra nutrition. Getting creative with preparations allows you to get the most out of your produce.