Stay away from Green Juicers?

9/5/14

One of the saddest things for me is watching people doing something they think is good for them that is actually harmful. In my ever-exasperated quest for natural health, I have gone through that myself many times. I wonder if that applies to the Green Life/Star/Power/Elite line of juicers. I’m no expert, so I’m opening the conversation to find out.

For two years, I juiced regularly with a Green Life juicer. I’m not aware of better juicer on the market — except for one thing. According to Tribest, the manufacturer, “the juice passes through a powerful magnetic field as it is being extracted.” This field is created by magnets put into the grinding gears (see image above). Why? “The magnets create a focused magnetic field that rearranges clusters of water so that it can latch on to more the valuable vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients and extract it into your juice” (Tribest).

A home vegetable juicer is, of course, a fairly modern invention. As such, some consider regular juicing unnatural and therefore unhealthy. One argument from a raw food perspective is that cooking actually alters food more than juicing does. After all, the machine is just cutting and squeezing — or at least, so it seems. But what if the machine is also exposing your food to “a powerful magnetic field?”

A magnetic field is an electro-magnetic field, aka, an EMF. Do you avoid EMFs? This EMF does not extend outside of the machine, so it’s of no danger to the operator. Note that I did measure the field strength outside my GL 2000 and got 21 Gauss. This is seven times the level you’d want to spend very long standing next to. Magnetic fields drop off quickly with distance, however, and we generally don’t juice for very long, so I’m not very concerned about that.

What does concern me is that electro-magnetic fields are generated by electro-magnetic radiation. In other words, this juice is purposefully irradiated. Do you avoid irradiated food? If so, would you use a juicer that purposefully irradiates your food? It’s why I quit using it. I’m amazed that no one else, as far as I can find online, has addressed the issue. I wrote Tribest about it and they never answered. I called and left a message and they never called back.

Just how powerful is this magnetic field? 2600 Gauss (see quote below). Let’s assume that figure is accurate. It is generally believed that prolonged human exposure to magnetic fields in excess of three milliGauss can be harmful. This is 867,000 times that amount. Granted, it is only momentary, but even Tribest touts it as being enough to change the molecular structure of the juice. That’s the whole point:

At the core of each rotating gear is a series of in-line magnets that produce a focused magnetic field of 2600 gauss through which the juice flows during the juicing process. As it flows through the focused field,the water molecules in the juice are broken up allowing the atoms to recombine with other minerals such as calcium, potassium, sodium and magnesium into new molecular structures. This magnetic process therefore extracts a greater percentage of mineral nutrients from the produce during juice extraction and is instrumental in keeping those minerals in a suspended colloidal form the body can use for a longer length of time.

Tribest

These high-tech gears also purposefully generate far-infrared radiation. This may or may not be harmless, but it too is said to have a significant effect:

Green Power places a specially formulated bioceramic material around the in-line magnets at the core of each twin-gear. The Bioceramic compound uses the mechanical energy from the turning of the twin-gears to generate far infrared waves that penetrate the water within the juice. Since water naturally resonates at this frequency, the water molecules not only receive the far infrared energy, but also radiate it, thus further stabilizing the fragile structure of the juice.

Tribest

Here are a couple more quotes about this:

When the twin gears are properly aligned, the two series of magnets produce a focused magnetic field of 2600 gauss in the 4/1000 inch clearance between the twin gears. As juice flows through this focused magnetic field, water molecules clustered within the juice are opened, which allows them to latch onto minerals. This magnetic process aids in extracting a greater percentage of mineral nutrients from the produce during the juicing process and is instrumental in keeping those minerals in a suspended colloidal form that the body can use for a longer period of time.

Tribest

The magnets create a focused magnetic field that rearranges clusters of water so that it can latch on to more the valuable vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients and extract it into your juice. The bioceramic material inside the Twin Gears utilize the kinetic energy of the turning gears to emit far-infrared – the wavelength at which water and all organic material naturally oscillates. This has a stabilizing effect on your juice by delaying oxidation and allows your extracted juice to remain fresher longer.

Tribest

From the company’s Winter 2010 catalog (also quoted here):

To better explain how the water molecule clusters open up and recombine, look at the cluster shape below.

diagram1

Each of the spheres in the cluster represents a water molecule. At the very center core of this cluster is space. That space could be occupied with a mineral, a speck of pesticide residue, a particle of impurity, or it could be vacant – we do not know. As this water cluster passes through the magnetic field, it is opened up, releasing whatever is in the interior. It may also be broken up into two smaller water clusters, each with a specific magnetic “draw” of its own.

diagram2

Minerals in the produce you are juicing can now attach onto the water molecule cluster, forming a new mineral enriched molecular structure. Since, opposite poles attract, you can begin to see how more and different minerals now have an opportunity for molecular restructuring into the juice.

diagram3

This independent page quotes a few other relevant passages from the manufacturer and others.  His take on this:

The manufacturers… appear to have no scientific studies supporting their claims.

Moving juice through a magnetic field might improve it. Alternatively it might degrade it. Most likely it will do practically nothing at all. Until some scientific studies are performed it seems unlikely whether anyone will know for sure…

Unfortunately, the current use of magnets in juicers appears to be based on ignorance and mumbo jumbo.

Well, we can only hope that they do nothing! From Tribest’s FAQs:

Q. That 2600 gauss – is it harmful?

A. Not at all. Our earth operates in a natural magnetic field. Medicine uses magnetic fields for diagnostics (MRI), and in healing broken bones. You are probably referring to electromagnetic frequencies (EMF). Recently, Green Power tested the four leading types of juicers for elecromagnetic field emissions*. Green Power’s emissions were less than 1/2 of the next lowest juicer – only 21 milliGauss

The first part of this answer is not a fair comparison. The earth’s magnetic field strength ranges from 0.25 to 0.65 Gauss. That is four to ten thousand times less than 2600 Gauss. For comparison, an MRI is 2,000 to 30,000 Gauss (see here and here). Granted, that’s direct exposure, not food exposure. But do you want to be exposing your food to that amount of radiation, long enough time to supposedly measurably change its molecular structure?

Irradiating food with magnetic fields is one way to kill microorganisms. How does the strength required for that compare? It takes only 25 to 100 milliseconds of at least two tesla (20,000 gauss) to kill microorganisms (FDA, citing Hofmann, 1985, “Deactivation of microorganisms by an oscillating magnetic field”). The juicer’s field is a tenth that strength, but the food surely takes at least a second to pass through the gears; that’s ten to forty times as long. If length of exposure is equivalent to field strength, then the total exposure is the same.

To add insult to injury, one author claims that:

Magnets were not introduced to improve the quality of juice at all.Twin gear juicer gears are precisely machined and very close-fitting. Magnets with a mutually repulsive force were originally included to stop the gears sticking and clashing together.

Tribest says only their juicers employ these technologies (this page says the Samson line also does since it’s from the same creator). There are highly-rated juicers out there that are the same price or cheaper, particularly the Omega line. They may not be, by some measures, as efficient, but if they do not employ magnets (not to mention far infrared), they may be a healthier choice. If anyone knows better, I’d be happy to stand corrected.