How nutritious are homemade juices?

Putting this here, because it’s about food, but if mods think it should go in GQ or MPSIMS, go ahead and move it; I wasn’t really sure where to put is.

I’ll try to keep the story medium-length.

We got a juicer as a wedding gift. For the longest time, we didn’t use it very much-- mainly to juice some vegetables, and then add the juice, as well as the pulverized pulp to stew, with seasonings, rather than use commercial broth, or mixes.

When my son was a baby, we made some juices for him, which we then strained and watered them down, and added a little vanilla breakfast drink mix, and a little formula (I breastfed, but we kept formula in the house for emergencies, because he could get suddenly VERY hungry when he was alone with his father, and we sent some to his preschool for snack time, when he was 11 months old), and called it a toddler smoothie. He was really thin, and on a weight-gain diet. Since bottled juice for infants and toddlers had, like 8% vitamin C, and sometimes marginal vitamin A, we figured our smoothies had to be better.

We also sometimes made our own baby food with pulverized cast-off in the juicer, along with baby cereal, formula, or something like applesauce or mashed banana.

The pandemic got us using it again, though.

Because we are watching money carefully, we really don’t want to throw away anything, even vegetables and fruit that have gotten overripe, bruised, or just past their optimal time for usage, and won’t work as a side dish, or in salad. We’ve served these in the past with noodles and seasoning, and in stews, and we still are, but lately, we’ve been juicing them.

The results of almost every combo we come up with tastes pretty good. If one doesn’t turn out so good, we can usually mix it with Feta, tofu, or tahini, and some seasonings, and come up with a spread for pita.

I’ve been trying to Google the nutritional value of juice vs. whole fruits and vegetables. Common sense suggests it’s got to be better than commercial juices, but not as good as eating whole fruits and veggies-- but bear in mind, this is how we get rid of stuff we’d other wise throw out.

Homemade juice had some fiber in it, since we don’t strain it. Not as much as whole food, but way more than store bought juice, and way more vitamins, since we don’t lose vitamins to Pasteurizing. Or to travel time. Or to concentrating and rehydrating.

Does anyone know about the nutritional value of homemade juice vs. whole fruits and veggies? or know where I can look it up? The boychik will eat anything that is fruit these days, including eating home-grown tomatoes like apples, and he likes to snack on veggies he can eat raw, but he won’t eat a cooked vegetable if it can’t be drowned in cheese sauce or ketchup, or stir-fried with rice in peanut sauce.

He will, however, drink homemade veggie juices. Loves them-- particularly like the mixed fruit and veggie one. If something has half an apple, and 1/4 of an orange, or a little pineapple in it, I can load it with kale, asparagus, and orange squash as well.

Well, I think I got the idea across, so I’ll stop, except to reiterate my actual question: Does anyone know what the actual nutritional value of these juices are?

FWIW, I rarely sweeten them, but if I do, it’s with a little Stevia, or a few drops of a sugar-free drink mix.

Most fruit juices are pretty nutritionally empty. The calories come from sugar, and the trace minerals and vitamins they do contain are generally not ones that most people are deficient in.

Most vegetable juices are a bit better. Their calories come mainly from sugar but also and more importantly, complex carbohydrates, and they do have some fiber, both soluble and insoluble, but nowhere near the amount you’d get from eating the unjuiced vegetables. Their vitamins and minerals are also not ones we’re generally deficient in.

There’s a lot of stuff out there about how the micronutrients/phytonutrients etc. “support the immune system” and cleanse one of “free radicals” but the evidence behind those claims is weak at best.

Precise nutritional values will be hard to come by on home-juiced products as they’ll vary by the products used and the overall water content. For commercial products, you’ll get some data off the label. But the caloric content in any case is almost completely from carbs, unless you’re juicing avocados.

Really, it’s far far better nutritionally to consume the fruit/vegetable rather than juice it.

Even so, fruit/vegetable juice is better than sugared soda. I do love me some spicy hot V-8. Despite its salt content. Or maybe because of it.

I always learn something from your posts. Good stuff!

The whole post is very interesting and informative, thank you very much, but the concept of “soluble fiber” confuses me, perhaps you can elaborate: How or in which sense is something dissolved (in a liquid, I suppose) fibrous? Is the word “fiber” leading me astray?

What @Qadgop_the_Mercotan said, plus Vitamin C dissipates fairly quickly once a fruit is juiced. So your homemade juice might be better than store-bought if consumed quickly after juicing.

The “juice” our machine produces is pretty thick, and like I said, it tends to be a way of using stuff we might otherwise throw out. Maybe I’ll keep using them as soup starters & tea or coffee sweeteners, mostly.

Yes, if consuming it as juice is the object. If using it for broth is, then no.

Both soluble and insoluble dietary fibers are natural polymers. One such is cellulose, which also makes up a lot of macroscopic, non-dietary, natural fibers, but for dietary purposes the relevant property is that it consists of microscopic fibers. Potatoes for instance have a 2% fiber content, but I wouldn’t call them fibrous.

@Pardel-Lux Fiber just means “thread or filament”. It can be vegetable matter, animal tissue, plastic or other textiles, or even minerals.

As for dietary fiber, well:

There are 2 different types of fiber – soluble and insoluble. Both are important for health, digestion, and preventing diseases.

  • Soluble fiber attracts water and turns to gel during digestion. This slows digestion. Soluble fiber is found in oat bran, barley, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, peas, and some fruits and vegetables. It is also found in psyllium, a common fiber supplement. Some types of soluble fiber may help lower risk of heart disease.
  • Insoluble fiber is found in foods such as wheat bran, vegetables, and whole grains. It adds bulk to the stool and appears to help food pass more quickly through the stomach and intestines.

It seems when it is dissolved it not actually a fiber in the common usage, OK. A gel makes sense, long(ish) molecules too. I had the misconception that fibers were related to the stringy bits of vegetables that get stuck between your teeth, thanks for clearing that up!