Juicing has become an increasingly popular way to get more fruits and vegetables into your diet. When you juice fruits and veggies, you remove the fiber and are left with the nutrient-dense juice. Some juicers separate the pulp from the juice, while others keep the pulp in the juice. So should you remove the pulp from your juices? There are pros and cons to consider.
Pros of Removing the Pulp
Here are some of the benefits of removing the pulp from juices:
- Smoother, thinner texture – Pulp-free juices have a thinner, smoother mouthfeel that some people prefer over thick, pulpy juices.
- Easier to drink – For some people, a pulpy juice can be harder to drink or uncomfortable to swallow. Removing the pulp makes the juice easier to consume.
- Longer lasting – Juices without pulp tend to last a bit longer in the fridge before separating or spoiling.
- More palatable – Some find the grainy texture of pulp unappealing. Pulp removal improves the drinkability for those who dislike pulpy juices.
- Less fiber – Eliminating the pulp removes some of the fiber, which may be preferable for those with digestive issues who cannot tolerate high-fiber foods.
- Filters nutrients – The pulp may contain compounds that can inhibit nutrient absorption, so removing it may increase the bioavailability of the juices’ nutrients.
Overall, pulp-free juices have a smoother mouthfeel and may be more enjoyable for some to drink. The removal of fiber and potential anti-nutrients in the pulp can also allow for increased nutrient absorption.
Cons of Removing the Pulp
However, there are also some downsides to consider when you remove the pulp from juices:
- Loss of fiber – Fiber is an important nutrient with many health benefits. Removing it decreases the fiber content of the juice.
- Loss of nutrients – While the pulp may contain anti-nutrients, it also has beneficial vitamins, minerals, plant compounds, and antioxidants. You miss out on some of these nutrients without the pulp.
- Less filling – The fiber in the pulp helps make the juice more satiating. Pulp-free juice may be less filling.
- Not natural – Some argue that removing the pulp makes the juice less natural and further processed.
- Increased sugar – With less fiber and more rapid absorption, the natural sugars in the juice may cause more of a blood sugar spike.
- Waste – The discarded pulp creates more food waste.
So if you remove the pulp, you do lose fiber, nutrients, and some of the natural fullness factor. The pulp also adds texture and visual appeal. From a sustainability standpoint, discarding all that pulp does generate more food waste.
A Balanced Perspective
Given the pros and cons on both sides, a balanced perspective may be best. Here are some things to consider:
- Try both – Make some juices with the pulp and some without to see which you prefer. The texture and taste can vary quite a bit.
- Blend – Alternate between juicing and blending your produce. Blending retains all the pulp and fiber.
- Use sparingly – Remove the pulp occasionally if you really want a smoother juice, but not for all your juices.
- Find low-fiber produce – Stick to juicing produce that is lower in fiber like citrus fruits and apples rather than pulpy veggies and fruits.
- Dilute if needed – If a pulpy juice is too thick, dilute it with water or juice with less pulp.
- Use the pulp – Add some of the pulp back into the juice or use it in other recipes like smoothies or baked goods.
Taking a balanced approach allows you to get the benefits of pulp-free juices sometimes while still getting all the nutrition in pulp most of the time. Use your judgment to decide when you want to remove the pulp.
Fiber Content of Popular Juicing Fruits and Vegetables
To decide if you want to remove the pulp or not, it can help to know the fiber content of juicing produce. Here is a table comparing the fiber in grams (g) per 100g of some popular fruits and vegetables for juicing:
|Fruit or Vegetable
|Fiber (g per 100g)
As you can see, fruits like citrus and apples have a moderate amount of fiber at around 2-3 grams per 100 grams. Berries are lower at around 1 gram per 100 grams. Vegetables have more variance – leafy greens like kale and spinach are high at 3-4 grams, while cucumbers and tomatoes are low at 0.5-1 gram of fiber.
Using this fiber content guide, you may decide to remove the pulp if juicing greens like kale or vegetables like carrots or beets that have over 2 grams of fiber per 100 grams. For lower fiber fruits like berries or melons, you may opt to keep the pulp since it’s a minimal amount.
Nutrients Lost by Removing the Pulp
In addition to fiber, removing the pulp also causes you to miss out on some vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant compounds found in the pulp:
- Vitamin C – Found in the pulp and peels of citrus fruits and in the skins of apples and other fruits.
- Vitamin E – Abundant in the pulp of green leafy veggies like spinach and kale.
- Antioxidants – The pulp contains carotenoids like beta-carotene and lycopene which have antioxidant properties.
- Potassium – A mineral found in fruit and vegetable pulp that supports heart health and fluid balance.
- Magnesium – Found in chlorophyll-containing pulp; key for bone, muscle, and nerve function.
- B Vitamins – Important for energy; found in the skins/peels and pulp of many fruits and vegetables.
The specific nutrients lost depends on the produce you juice. But in general, peels, skins, and pulp contain a concentrated source of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber that supports health in many ways.
Should You Strain Out Vegetable Juice Pulp?
For vegetable juices, the pulp contains much of the beneficial fiber, nutrients and plant compounds. However, the texture and earthier taste of vegetable pulp may not appeal to everyone. Here are some tips if you want to remove some or all of the vegetable pulp:
- Use a smoothie instead – Blending retains all the pulp and may be easier to drink than a thick, pulpy veggie juice.
- Juice mild veggies – Stick to lower pulp options like cucumbers, tomatoes or red peppers.
- Mix with fruit – Balance out vegetable juices with lower fiber fruits like apple, lemon, or pineapple.
- Dilute with water – Add water to thin out a thick veggie juice.
- Use cheesecloth or nut milk bag – This gently strains out some of the pulp for a smoother texture.
You can also consider adding some of the strained vegetable pulp back into soups, stews, or baked goods to take advantage of the fiber and nutrients. Overall though, try not to remove all the pulp from veggie juices too frequently since the pulp is highly nutritious.
Is Fruit Juice Better With or Without Pulp?
For fruit juices, it can go either way depending on your goals and preferences:
Juice with pulp may be preferable if you want:
- Higher fiber
- Increased nutrients
- More natural
- Added texture
- Improved satiety
Juice without pulp may be preferable if you want:
- Smoother mouthfeel
- Easier to drink
- Less fiber
- Potentially increased nutrient absorption
- Longer lasting
One tip is to aim for a middle ground – juice fruits like berries, pineapple, or grape with the pulp, since they have less to begin with. But occasionally strain out the pulp from high fiber fruits like apples or citrus if you want a smoother texture.
Should You Remove Pulp for Juice Cleanses?
Juice cleanses involve drinking vegetable and fruit juices exclusively for a set period of time. Some opt to strain out the pulp to make the juices easier to consume in larger quantities throughout the day.
However, pulp provides important staying power from fiber, sustains energy levels with nutrients, and promotes fullness with plant compounds like pectin. Removing it may lead to energy crashes and increased hunger.
If doing a juice cleanse, here are some tips:
- Use smoothies instead of juices or blend juices to retain pulp and fiber.
- When juicing, keep at least some of the pulp, especially from veggie juices.
- If removing pulp, be sure to consume fiber from other foods before and after the cleanse.
- Drink pulp/fiber supplements like psyllium or acacia powder during the cleanse.
This ensures you still get adequate fiber, nutrients, and plant compounds while doing a juice cleanse. Removing all pulp may not provide the satiation you need to sustain a juice fast.
How Juicers Extract Pulp
The amount of pulp that remains in your juice will depend on the type of juicer you use:
- Centrifugal juicers – Spinning blades shred produce then strain pulp through mesh sieve. Minimal pulp remains.
- Masticating juicers – Use an auger to crush produce and press out juice. Some pulp stays in.
- Triturating juicers – Twin gears fully crush produce, keeping more pulp. Highest yield.
- Citrus presses – Designed for citrus fruits; separate pulp and only extract juice.
- Blender – Acts as both a juicer and blender; all pulp is retained.
The juicer extractor method also impacts nutrient retention, exposure to oxygen, and beneficial enzymes. So the amount of pulp is just one factor to consider when choosing a juicer. Know your priorities and pick the juicer that aligns with the texture and nutrition you want.
Potential Downsides of Excess Pulp
While pulp provides benefits, too much may also have some disadvantages:
- Grainy, unpleasant texture
- Difficulty swallowing or digesting
- Rapid spoilage
- Decreased absorption of nutrients
- Gastrointestinal issues in sensitive individuals
High pulp juices may also be ill-advised for those without a gallbladder who struggle to digest fat from the pulp. Additionally, some compounds in fruit and vegetable peels, seeds, and skins may potentially hinder nutrient absorption, so removing some pulp could be beneficial in that regard.
Overall, there are pros and cons to removing the pulp when juicing fruits and vegetables. Pulp provides important fiber and nutrients, but also contains anti-nutrients and can create textural issues.
In general, juices with at least some pulp are recommended most of the time. But occasional use of pulp-removing filtration can create variety and allow you to enjoy the benefits of a smoother juice some of the time. Try to find the right balance for your individual needs and preferences.
Aim to get produce into your diet in a variety of forms – juice with and without pulp, along with blended smoothies and whole, unjuiced fruits and veggies. This ensures you get maximum nutrition and the benefits of fiber while still enjoying the convenience of juices. Drink your juices fresh and rotate the produce you use for a range of nutrients.