In a trial of juicing vs smoothies, smoothies come out ahead. If it were a horse race, it is smoothies by a couple of lengths. But juicing runs a good race.
Juicing vs Smoothies – What’s the Difference
In a nutshell, the difference between blending and juicing is that juicing removes almost all fibrous material and leaves only the liquid squeezed out of the fruits and vegetables used. On the other hand, but blending retains it all.
We have summarized the pros and cons of juicing vs smoothies below. But let’s expand on the main differences here.
Juicing mostly eliminates the fiber in food but smoothies retain it. But eliminating fiber is a problem.
- Fiber is not only necessary to provide the bulk for a healthy bowel movement. It is also necessary for a healthy gut.
- The good bacteria in our gut feeds on this fiber and throws off anti-inflammatories that are good for our immune system, and help to fight cancer.
- Besides, many of the phytochemicals (plant-based nutrients) in our food are attached to the food fibers.
- Fiber helps control blood sugar.
What should we conclude from this?
- The juicing process will indeed retain soluble fiber.
- And it is also true that juice is a more concentrated product that allows the nutrients to enter the bloodstream more rapidly. However, this can result in a fast sugar spike, especially in the case of juiced fruits.
So, if you are a juicer, our suggestion is to concentrate your juicing efforts on low sugar vegetable produce.
It’s an unfortunate fact about juicing that all that good and nutritious fiber and pulp that gets removed just goes to waste. Although we suppose you can put it in your composter. But this may or may not be a concern. After all, we do peel potatoes and, pound for pound, there are more nutrients in the potato skin than in the rest of it.
The fibrous skin and pulp of fruits and vegetables that the smoothie retains are vitamin and packed. But the juicing process removes and essentially wastes all this material.
So, our suggestion is that, if you like to juice, concentrate on the especially dense and fibrous vegetable produce. These contain valuable nutrients but the blender can’t handle them.
It is much easier to control calories with a juicer than a blender. This is because with a blender, unless you pay close attention, it’s easy to slip in calorie enhancers like ice cream and chocolate.
With our suggestion that you use the juicer just for the dense and fibrous fruits and vegetables a blender can’t handle, it is very easy to maintain calorie control.
Unless you are careful, both juicing and blending can deliver high levels of sugar. But the effect is more pronounced with juicing fruits. This is because the sugar is delivered to the bloodstream very fast without the benefit of a fiber cushion.
Just by way of illustration, there are commercially produced juices that contain almost as much sugar as a soda. However, you can find unacceptable levels of sugar in store-bought smoothies too.
Again, for juicing, we recommend that you stay with the fruits and vegetables that a blender can’t handle.
One criticism of blending is that the high-speed blades cause heat and oxidation, which damage the phytonutrients in the fruit and vegetables being blended.
Now, while this is true, we believe the effect to be insignificant. This is because oxidation takes time. After all, how long does it take for an apple slice to turn brown from oxidation?
We would say the same for heat. It’s true that when we cook food, some nutritional value is lost. But it’s a real stretch to say that the blender has the same heating effect as a microwave oven
In any case, as to oxidation, manufacturers are meeting this challenge with vacuum blenders
Some people advocate the juice “cleanse.” This is a way to lose weight quickly and “detox” the body.
While this can create a big calorie deficit with a consequent loss in weight, it is not sustainable and results in loss of muscle mass as well as fat. And what you normally get is the diet rebound or yo-yo effect. So you are back to square one.
As to the “detox” part, this is mostly a myth. The human body is designed to detoxify or cleanse itself, mostly with the liver.
Juicers are difficult and time-consuming to use and clean when compared to blenders.
Juicers take up more space than blenders.
Generally, juicers are more expensive than blenders. And your blender is more versatile, having uses beyond smoothie making.
Juicing vs smoothies pros and cons
Since, for the most part, a smoothie is a blend of whole foods, including their pulp and fiber, all nutrients are preserved intact. (With some reservations regarding oxidation we discuss elsewhere.)
Also, the blender blades give us “pre-chewed” food. When we chew food in the usual way, our teeth and saliva break it down and send it on its way to our digestive system. But blending the food breaks it down much more thoroughly than our teeth can.
It is easy to mix and match a wide variety of nutritious ingredients. And there must be thousands of different smoothie recipes out there. Here are some examples:
- If you want to boost the protein content, you can just add a protein powder, a yogurt, or a pulse, such as lentils or black beans.
- To boost healthy fat content, you can add in some almond butter, avocado, or chia.
- And you can add in more esoteric items like cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, cacao, and matcha.
Reduced sugar spikes
Since fiber is retained in the smoothie, sugar absorption is slowed. Although sugar is a concern in both smoothies and juices.
In most cases, unlike juicing, you are using the whole of the food item. There is no waste.
Smoothies are filling and this can help with a weight loss program.
A smoothie can be a fast meal replacement on the go if you are pressed for time. Although we would not recommend this as a routine.
- Smoothie prep is easy because you are cutting and handling mostly soft food items.
- Cleanup is a relative breeze.
- You can batch make your smoothies ahead of time.
- You can freeze your smoothies. Juices are best consumed in just a day or so.
- Blending is faster than juicing.
- You can use your blender to make more than smoothies.
- Blenders take up less space than juicers.
Blenders generally cost less than juicers.
Easy to overload the calories
Putting lots of produce into a smoothie and then drinking it along with a regular meal is a sure-fire way to overeat if you are not careful. So you put on weight, when you thought you were doing yourself some good.
It is easy to include excessive sugar, especially if you use sweetening items.
Because you need to add lots of liquid to make a smoothie, you are excluding nutrients
No hard or super fibrous fruits and vegetables
Most blenders are unable to process hard or very fibrous produce, such as carrots, broccoli, and nuts.
The blending process causes oxidation and the loss of some nutritional value. However, vacuum blenders mostly overcome this objection.
Blenders are noisier than juicers.
Juices contain high amounts of minerals, vitamins, and other micronutrients. They are more nutrient-dense than smoothies.
For someone on the go, the nutrient concentration of a juice can deliver all the fruit and vegetable nutrition in a relatively small quantity of liquid.
Faster absorption of nutrients
Because there is no fiber barrier, nutrients are absorbed by the digestive system faster.
All produce capable
A cold press juicer can process all the vegetable and fruit produce, including the hard and fibrous items that a blender generally cannot.
The cold press process involves minimal loss of nutritional value through oxidation of the food.
The juicing process eliminates insoluble fiber, which in itself is an important nutrition because it is essential for gut health.
Prone to sugar spiking
Partly as a result of fiber elimination, the juicing of fruit and high sugar content vegetables (like beets and carrots) can lead to sugar spikes because of rapid absorption.
If you are juicing as well as eating regular meals, you may be taking in more carbs than you think.
No enhancements or add-ins
Unlike the smoothie process, there is no opportunity to enhance the end product by blending anything into the juice.
Juicers do not handle soft fruit and vegetables well. So if you use avocados, leafy greens, and bananas, you will get a lot of waste.
It takes a lot more produce to make a glass of juice than a smoothie.
Inconvenient prep and clean up
Juicer prep and cleanup takes more time and effort than a blender.
Juicers take up more space in your kitchen than blenders.
Juicers are generally more expensive than blenders.
Conclusion on Juicing vs Smoothies
If you have the luxury of space, a fat wallet, and time, juicers are great and we don’t knock them. A juicer definitely has its place among kitchen appliances.
But in a head-to-head comparison, and if one had to choose one or the other, we believe that the smoothie and its blender come out ahead.