Nutribullet Review: Food For Sport takes a look at the Nutribullet, the “nutrition extractor” taking over kitchens country wide.
What exactly is the Nutribullet?
It is described as a nutrition extractor, juicer-cum-blender with a supercharged 600W motor. It is able to break down fibrous foods due to it’s blade design and the resulting “cyclonic” flow of any chosen ingredients inside the cup. It also has a mill attachment that can be used for even the toughest super-foods such as nuts and seeds (or coffee beans!). The marketing draw card is that it “unlocks” hard to break down nutrients increasing absorption. This may be plausible for some rare items like flaxseed but for me this is not the biggest ace in the pack.
This honour goes to two other worthy characters:
It is lightning fast. Vegetables, nuts, fruit with skins and pips do not stand a chance. 20 or 30 seconds and you are ready to go – perfect for that quick morning rush. In fact the one thing you need to avoid is keeping the motor running for longer than 45 seconds and risk seizing it.
This rapid solution does mean that is is easy to get in more great nutritional foods that you may otherwise overlook. So while it may not “unlock” hidden nutrients it does expose you to often skipped ones. A few extra portions of vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds that are easily blended together ALONG WITH THEIR FIBER is an undeniable benefit.
This could be number 1 on many lists (and is mine anyway). So many juicers and extractors take the joy out of consumption by back breaking and toothbrush requiring hard labour cleaning. This is a rinse and a light clean and you are done.
There are a couple of other very useful characteristics of the Nutribullet too. There are 2 different cup sizes as well as screw on handles and lids that means you can take your cup on-the-go. The size of the base is also nice and compact allowing you to keep it at an easy-to-reach distance on your shelf; not gathering dust behind mixers and whisks and sieves at the back of your pantry!
There must be a down side and there is. One is technical and I have a couple nutritional issues too.
The technical issue is that you cannot put anything hot into the cup before blending. The high velocity environment does not allow air to escape so blending under heat may be explosive! Having a browse through their international site I see there are two other models of Nutribullet. One step up from our local version is an even better motor and larger cups. The top-of-the-range version can heat while you blend for making soups and sauces and also comes with an even larger cup for double servings. I will keep an eye out for these hitting our shores, hopefully soon.
The nutritional issues are found in their recipe book which can be easily overlooked by ignoring them and adjusting to your own personal goals.
Nutritional issue #1: “Never eat protein and starch together”. Seriously? I have struggled to find their research supporting this view and can’t think of any situation I would adopt this strategy unless avoiding starch altogether. This must be why they never include protein in their recipes (beyond nuts and seeds) and something I work around by including yoghurt, milk, egg whites or a protein supplement like whey or casein. This can make the Nutribullet option a meal replacement for athletes or weight loss clients who I often try to increase protein intake with.
Nutritional issue #2: “50% fruit, 50% veg plus boosts”. (Boosts are nuts and seeds etc.). While this is not an entirely poor message I would suggest playing around with the 50% fruit according to your goals. Depending on your choice of fruit this may result in a carbohydrate intake of 40-60 grams. For an athlete post workout this is great. For someone about to go and sit at a desk, not so much. Considering protein is negligible and fiber content may vary the glycemic response could be quite large and the calorie contribution of one or two of these servings per day also significant.
There are a few other interesting comments and motivations in their recipe book that we can take with a marketer’s pinch of salt but not worth worrying about. At the end of the day it is a super piece of equipment that works extremely well and is easy to clean. It is a great tool for your kitchen that will help you and your family increase your fruit and veg intake, possibly nuts and seeds too, and any diet that has these foods at their core is a great start.
Click on the image below for my own winter booster of spinach, guava and oats. Packed with fiber (10 g!), vitamin C, nitrates and omega 3.
Edit: I am happy to announce a special offer to any Cape Town readers for the month of June