Smoothies vs. Juicing
The Changing Tides of Eating Trends
Eating patterns in humans are always changing and lately there has been a gradual shift. Good news is, it’s a healthy one. We are getting rid of junk food obsession and finally switching back to natural foods- fruits and vegetables. There are a lot of reasons behind this revival but obesity plays a major role. And we all know that obesity always comes coupled with other morbidities.
Owing to this lack of fitness, fruits and vegetables have been getting a lot of limelight lately. The reason is that vegetables and fruits give you resistance against deadly diseases like stroke and Alzheimer’s. Research proves that increasing the intake of vegetables and fruits, ensures a reduction in risk of stroke and heart attacks (1). Luckily, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Fruits and vegetables take care of everything ranging from detox of your body to weight loss (2) (3).
There has been a lot of discussion on how to get the most out of fruits and vegetables and two most common ways include smoothies and juicing. Both of these are widely used to get instant nutrition boost but more than often people tend to confuse them as equals. While both of them have their own benefits, they are entirely different (from machines that prepare them to their nutrition value!). So, this article will shed light on the comparison between juicing and smoothies.
Differences between Juicing and Smoothies
Juicing is a simple process of extracting out nutrients and water from whole food and leaving the pulp behind. A juicer machine is used, which peels off the pulpy part and squeezes out the water part from fruits and vegetables. In a nutshell, juicing extracts out all the nutrients from fruits and vegetables in a liquid form for you to gulp on. It’s a convenient and fast way of getting recommended daily amount of minerals and vitamins from fruits and vegetables.
Smoothies are like a whole different story. To start from, they are prepared in a blender instead of a juicer machine. You just put the whole food (fruits or vegetables) in the blender, add a base (yogurt or dairy cream) and blend the ingredients to form a thick mixture. This mixture is no ordinary one. It conserves pulp and all the nutrients found in fruits or vegetable. Conserved pulp acts as a huge source of fiber. So, smoothies are “juices with fiber included” and that too with a nutritious base like yogurt or milk.
Smoothies vs. Juicing: Which One is better?
There’s no one-word answer to this question.Smoothies and juices both have different sets of merits and demerits. So, instead of ditching one completely, it is recommended to incorporate both into your routine.
Let’s talk about juicing first.
Pros of juicing:
The whole idea of juicing is based on giving your eating routine a whirl of excitement. Eating raw vegetables and fruits has its own benefits but let’s be honest, it gets boring with time. You need to devise some innovative ways to incorporate whole foods into your life and juicing serves that purpose. And on top of everything, it’s healthier.
It Goes Easy on Your Gut– Since juice is a liquid, your digestive system gets some rest from churning and getting nutrients out of the food. Juices assimilate into your bloodstream quickly and there’s no delay in the release of nutrients. So, if you need an instant kick of energy, juicing is for you.
Juices Give a Boost to Your Nutrient Intake- Let’s get realistic here; you can’t eat so much of raw fruits or vegetables at once. The reason is because your gut needs to work to digest this much quantity and your brain doesn’t allow you to eat more than your gut’s capacity. So, there’s a limit to the amount of nutrients you take at once. But juicing lets you increase your intake. You can gulp down a lot of liquid at once. For instance, you can’t eat more than one or two apples at a time, but when you juice it, you need 3-4 apples at least to make one glass of juice. That means one glass of juice can give you nutrients of four apples as compared to one apple eaten in raw form. So, you can do the math with your whole food consumption.
Juices Help Your Choosy Nature- This helps a lot in case of fruits and vegetables that taste bland. Or there can be simply those that you don’t like to eat. You can extract juices out of such foods and add a pinch of salt and pepper to give it flavor. This flavored liquid is much easier to gulp then eating a tasteless fruit or vegetable. This means juices make many foods consumable for you which your otherwise choosy nature throws out of the window.
Cons of juicing:
Before you get all awed by juicing, there’s something you need to know.
Juices are High in Sugar- Juicing is not recommended for diabetics because juices are often high in sugar. They cause a spike in blood sugar, causing restlessness to your pancreas which is responsible for the insulin secretion. This disturbance in sugar level is dangerous for diabetics but does no good to non-diabetics as well. Research suggests that drinking fruit juices raises the risk of diabetes by eight percent (4). Other than that, it negatively impacts those trying hard to incorporate healthy foods into their diet schedule to shed extra pounds because keeping sugar level under control is crucial for controlling weight.
You Lose a lot of Nutrients with Juicing- Juicing sets you back. It doesn’t allow you to reap all the benefits of fruits and vegetables. Of course, this seems like a contrast considering all the benefits of juicing cited above but it’s true. Yes, juices make it easier to get maximum nutrients out but there’s something tricky about them that people often forget. That skin you take off vegetables and fruits while juicing isn’t plastic. It’s natural and comes from the same plant. So, it has tons of nutrients but juicing doesn’t let you extract them.
Many fruits contain antioxidants in their skin. Other vegetables have phytonutrients hidden in their peels. Apple skin alone contains a bunch of antioxidants that combat aging and other morbidities (5). Same is true for many other fruits and vegetables but juicing deprives you of these benefits while you stay happy in notion that juices are giving you so much. Even if you don’t take off the skin and juice the fruit as such, the quality of nutrients does not remain the same.
You Lose Fiber with Juicing- There’s a reason juice is not so heavy and you can drink plenty of it. It has no fiber! All the pulp that goes wasted while juicing is what makes your weight loss program effective. Fiber gives you satiety and reduces your caloric intake (6). But with juicing, you get no fiber and your hunger boosts up, completely ruining your weight loss routine.
Fiber Present in Smoothies and its Importance
The importance of fiber is not a secret for food enthusiasts. It’s discussed widely at weight loss forums and anyone who is trying to lose extra pound should be familiar with the concept of taking fiber. While juicing deprives you of fiber, smoothies enrich your life with it. Blending whole fruits and vegetables in blender keeps the pulp intact. This pulp is nothing but fiber and it has countless benefits for your body.
Fiber is a form of carbohydrates that doesn’t get digested. Even though your gut can’t digest it, it needs it for proper functioning (7).
Soluble fiber dissolves in water and helps your body in lowering glucose levels. Blueberries and apples are rich sources of soluble fiber and you can make a healthy smoothie out of them to get a high dose of soluble fiber.
Insoluble fiber doesn’t get dissolved in water and helps in nutrient movement in your gut. It absorbs water and gives bulk to your food. This ensures proper digestion. Since it doesn’t breakdown into sugar, despite being a carbohydrate; it helps you in keeping sugar level under control and losing weight. Green smoothies act as a great source of insoluble fiber.
Apart from weight loss, fiber helps in combating heart problems. Research has shown the effectiveness of fiber in reducing the risk of coronary heart disease in both males and females (8). It helps in lowering sugar level in your blood; so decreased consumption of fiber increases the risk of diabetes type 2 (9, 10). Fiber maintains your digestion, keeps your gut moving and help in alleviating constipation. It also reduces chances of colon cancer (11).
Considering juices as an active source of sugar and lacking fiber, you miss out all these amazing benefits while drinking them. However, smoothies ensure maximum fiber intake and all the tremendous benefits that fiber offers to your body.
Smoothies Have More Benefits to Offer
A healthy punch of fiber is just one side of the benefits of smoothies. You will be surprised to know that a simple glass of fruit or kale smoothie can do for your body, what juice never can.
A Whole Package- Smoothies offer a whole package of nutrients which juices can’t. The concept that smoothies are “juices with fiber included” should be extended to “juices with fiber included and sugar excluded”. Now, that is a whole package of health and vitality. They also preserve skin of whole foods which ensures maximum nutrient conservation. When your body gets all the minerals and vitamins from juices, along with fiber and peel nutrients and that too without paying heavy cost of sugar, why would you settle for anything less?
Time Friendly– Smoothies are time friendly and easy to make. Just pour everything into the blender and whirl it, your delicious healthy snack gets ready in no time. Juicing in contrast, takes a lot of time. You need to peel fruits and vegetables and then put them into the juicer. To make one glass, a lot of fruits are required which means a lot of time consumption. So, smoothies not only perk you up biologically but also in the matter of time.
Ensures Variety- Smoothies let you do experiments with whole foods. You can mix various vegetables and fruits and make smoothies out of them. Or you can simply put different types of fruits and enjoy a different taste every day. They also let you cherish variety of nutrients. You don’t get bored and it becomes easy to incorporate them into your routine.
Dose of Probiotics- This perk is exclusive to smoothies. You can never enjoy it with juices, no matter how innovative you get. It involves a healthy dose of probiotics. When you blend vegetables or fruits, you need a liquid medium. Yogurt provides that liquid medium. But along with that, yogurt provides something else too. It gives you a healthy punch of probiotics which are basically useful microbes in your gut. They maintain your digestion and perk up your body functioning. Research shows they are often involved in alleviating digestive and liver diseases (12). For a healthy amount of proteins and low calories, you can also use Greek yogurt. Don’t use sweetened or flavored yogurt as it adds extra sugar content.
Slower Digestion- Smoothies are a whole food; so they take more time to get digested as compared to juices. Juices easily assimilate into your blood but they don’t help in a steady nutrient release. As a result, you feel hungry after a few hours and your intake increases. However, smoothies are capable of steady nutrient release and induce satiety. That’s why, smoothies are perfect workout companions. So, unlike juices, they keep you energized for a longer time. Fiber content also increases fullness and comes handy in weight loss.
The Dilemma of Detoxification
Along with changing eating trends, another phenomenon is getting popular- the phenomenon of detoxifying your body with herbs and other whole foods. This means we are getting more careful about our bodies than ever. This is because of the ever-increasing pollution in our surroundings. Even the food you take is contaminated with lots of chemicals and all of them eventually get accumulated into your body.
Detoxification means getting rid of impurities and toxins stored in your body. Your liver and kidneys perform this function naturally but it’s good to give them a kick-start every now and then to take off the burden. Detox also helps in weight loss and improvement in the general well-being of your body. Usually, detox is done by consuming foods which bind to toxins and help them in passing out of your body. It involves restricting caloric intake and increasing detox foods. But there is no scientific evidence available that supports the effectiveness of this method. Moreover, reducing caloric intake can be harmful in more than one ways.
Detox with Smoothies
There’s another approach, a healthier one that can help in detox: detoxing with smoothies. This is another perk that you only get to cherish with smoothies. Juices don’t help you in detoxing your body. So, if you ever wonder how to detox, instead of reducing caloric intake, you can brainstorm a little and create different smoothies by using ingredients from a large variety of fruits and vegetables. Incorporate these smoothies in your daily life and they will detox your body while you are having your routine lunch.
You can use some of these ingredients to make detox smoothies:
Green Smoothies– These smoothies are particularly effective for their detoxing abilities. Green vegetables like spinach and kale make best green smoothies. They provide your body with fiber which binds with the accumulated toxins and extracts them out of your body. Phytonutrients present in such vegetables help you in getting a refreshing feel. They prevent bloating and improve your vitality.
Cranberries- You can also use cranberries to make a detox smoothie because they help in boosting your immunity. They have tons of flavonoids which help in combat aging.
Apple- An apple smoothie can also be used for detox. Apple contains pectin that binds with toxins and gets them out of your system. Pectin is also used to alleviate diarrhea worldwide (13). It also helps in combating diabetes type 2.
Fennel- Fennel is not only special for its licorice flavor but also for its detox properties. It has diuretic properties which help in boosting up kidney function (14). This means fennel is capable of ushering fluids out of your body. This property makes it an effective vegetable for a detox smoothie because it ensures maximum toxins excretion along with urine.
Ginger– Ginger is highly effective in alleviating liver and gastrointestinal distress (15). Both these systems are involved in detoxing your body. So, the addition of ginger in your smoothies will help you in giving your body a detox punch. You can add a piece of ginger in spinach or kale smoothies because they taste great with it.
You can use any fruit or vegetable like lemons, lime, water-melon, arugula, and avocado etc. Making these fruit smoothies give you a punch of antioxidants and help in effective detox.
What would you choose to drink now? Smoothies have an upper hand, but the choice is yours!