Juicing has become an increasingly popular way to get more fruits and vegetables into your diet. When you juice produce, you extract the liquid and leave behind the fiber or “pulp.” This allows you to consume a concentrated dose of vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds. But is discarding the pulp a good idea? There are pros and cons to consider when deciding whether or not to include pulp in your juice.
Pros of Juicing with Pulp
Here are some potential benefits of juicing with pulp:
- Higher fiber intake: Fruit and vegetable pulp contains soluble and insoluble fiber. Getting adequate fiber promotes digestive health and may help reduce cholesterol levels.
- Increased feelings of fullness: The fiber in pulp can help make you feel fuller compared to drinking juice without pulp. This may prevent overeating and promote weight maintenance.
- Additional nutrients: Though juice contains many nutrients, pulp provides additional vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds like antioxidants.
- Slower sugar absorption: The fiber in pulp helps slow the absorption of sugars from fruit into your bloodstream, preventing energy spikes and crashes.
- Less waste: Leaving pulp in your juice reduces how much waste you generate from juicing.
Cons of Juicing with Pulp
Here are some downsides that may come with leaving pulp in juice:
- Gritty texture: For some, the fibrous texture of pulp is unappealing or unpleasant to drink.
- Faster spoilage: The pulp hastens separation of the juice and decreases its shelf life due to the breakdown of fiber.
- Decreased absorption of certain nutrients: The fiber may hamper the absorption of carotenoids like beta carotene into your bloodstream.
- Potential intestinal issues: Large amounts of juice pulp may cause bloating, gas, or diarrhea in sensitive individuals.
- Difficulty juicing: Certain juicers have more difficulty effectively juicing produce with pulp. Carrot or beet pulp can jam some centrifugal juicers.
Nutritional Profile of Pulp
To decide if you want to include pulp or not, it helps to know its nutritional value. Below are the nutrients found in 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of vegetable and fruit pulp:
|Nutrient||Vegetable Pulp||Fruit Pulp|
|Vitamin C (mg)||18||3.6|
As you can see, pulp provides a significant amount of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Vegetable pulp tends to be lower in sugar and higher in many other nutrients than fruit pulp.
Fiber Content of Common Juices
Here is how much extra fiber you’ll get by including pulp in a typical 8 oz (240 ml) serving of these juices:
|Juice||Fiber with Pulp||Fiber without Pulp|
|Orange juice||2 grams||0.5 grams|
|Apple juice||1.5 grams||0.5 grams|
|Carrot juice||3 grams||1 gram|
|Tomato juice||2 grams||1 gram|
|Beet juice||2.5 grams||0.5 grams|
As you can see, the pulp can provide a significant fiber boost to your glass of juice. Over the course of a day, those grams of fiber can really add up.
Tips for Juicing with Pulp
Here are some tips if you want to enjoy the benefits of juicing with pulp:
- Use a slow juicer – They extract juice gently and retain more pulp than centrifugal models.
- Alternate no-pulp and with-pulp days – To prevent digestive issues but still get some fiber.
- Start with low-fiber produce – Try apples, grapes, watermelon, citrus fruits before pulpy veggies.
- Drink juice promptly – To limit separation and enjoy the fresh taste with pulp.
- Add pulp back – If your juicer removes pulp, you can stir some back into your cup of juice.
- Use pulp in baking – Add dried pulp to muffins, breads, energy bars for extra nutrition.
- Mix juices with pulp – Combine produce like apples and carrots to balance texture and nutrients.
Potential Downsides of Juicing Without Pulp
Here are some drawbacks that may come with only drinking juice without the pulp:
- Lower fiber intake – Lacking pulp removes most of the fiber naturally present.
- Lower satiety – Juice is less filling without the bulk of fiber to help fill your stomach.
- Blood sugar spikes – The natural fiber is removed that would slow sugar absorption.
- Less produce-derived nutrients – Many nutrients are concentrated in the skin and pulp.
- Higher calorie intake – It’s easier to over-consume juice without the pulp taking up volume.
- More waste – All the discarded pulp adds to your food waste footprint.
While the liquid juice still provides vital vitamins and minerals, removing the pulp takes away key components of produce like fiber, plant protein, and antioxidants.
Should You Strain Out Pulp from Vegetable Juice?
With vegetable juices like carrot, beet, celery, or greens-based juice there are a couple considerations regarding pulp:
- Vegetable pulp is very nutritious – It provides extra antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
- Texture can be thick -Vegetable pulp can make juice gritty or thick, especially from cruciferous veggies.
- May impact absorption – The fiber in veggies may block carotenoid absorption if pulp included.
- Can oxidize faster – The pulp may make vegetable juice go bad quicker compared to no pulp.
For vegetable juicing, it may be best to alternate between juicing with and without the pulp. Keep the pulp in sometimes to get the extra nutrition. Other times, strain it out if the texture bothers you or you want to increase the bioavailability of antioxidants like beta-carotene in carrots.
Should You Strain Out Pulp from Fruit Juice?
With fruit juices, pulp adds nutritional benefits but there are also drawbacks to consider:
- Pulp increases fiber – Which aids digestion and satisfies hunger.
- May cause digestive issues – Excess fruit pulp can irritate bowels in some people.
- Slower nutrient absorption – The fiber may hamper uptake of some nutrients.
- Faster oxidation – Pulp speeds separation and spoilage.
- Higher sugar content – Fruit pulp adds more overall sugar compared to vegetables.
For fruit juices, you may want to remove some or all of the pulp if: you have intestinal sensitivities, want maximum nutrient absorption, or are watching your sugar intake. Otherwise, keeping some or all of the pulp provides extra fiber, plant compounds, and texture.
Should You Buy Juice with or without Pulp?
When purchasing bottled juice, you’ll typically find both pulp-free and with-pulp varieties. Here’s a comparison:
|With Pulp||Without Pulp|
Juice with pulp offers more fiber and micronutrients, but has a shorter shelf life. Pulp-free juice is smoother and lasts longer unrefrigerated. In general, juice with pulp is more nutritious while pulp-free may be more palatable.
While the debate over pulp in juice continues, the prevailing evidence seems to suggest keeping some or all of the pulp is optimal for nutrition. Though the texture and mouthfeel might take some getting used to, pulp provides extra fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants with fewer calories than the juice alone. Plus, you reduce food waste.
That being said, there are some individual factors like digestive issues, ingredient tolerances, and juicing methods that may favor straining out pulp. As with most nutrition advice, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. The decision to include pulp comes down to your personal preferences, goals, and needs.
Experiment with pulp in moderation to see how your body responds. Try alternating between juicing with and without pulp for a balance of benefits. Any juice, with our without pulp, can be a healthy way to add more servings of fruits and veggies into your diet.