Smoothies vs Juicing: What is the Difference?”

There has been documentaries and websites claiming juicing will cure all of your ailments, while others swear by blending smoothies. What are the facts?

One benefit of juicing is that you can consume multiple servings of fruits and vegetables at one time. It can take up to 8-10 fruits and vegetables just to fill one cup of juice. In theory, this is great because you may be someone who does not eat many fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. With juicing, you are taking the insoluble fiber (pulp) out of the produce, making the vitamins and minerals more easily absorbable. With that being said, your body has a threshold of how much nutrients it can absorb at one time. For example, some people’s bodies cannot even absorb 1000 mg of vitamin C at one sitting. This is why when you take supplements, you take them in divided doses to get the most out of nutrient absorption. What happens to the vitamins you don’t absorb? You secrete them in your urine or stool later in the day.

Although a large dose of vitamins might sound ideal, this large load of fruits and vegetables also comes along with a large dose of concentrated carbohydrates. Something that we already have too much of in the American diet. Carbohydrates are not all bad; although when isolated in large doses by themselves, without the blunting effect of protein and fats, blood sugar levels can increase dramatically. Over time these large blood sugar spikes lead to inflammation in the body and can contribute to the pathogenesis of diabetes and heart disease. In layman’s terms, you are basically just drinking sugar.

How do smoothies differ? When blending smoothies you are able to eat the whole fruit, including the beneficial insoluble fiber. Most patients who come into our clinic are not getting even half the amount of fiber that they should be consuming on a daily basis. One of the best sources of fiber is raw fruits and vegetables. With this being said, if you are using juicing as your sole source of fruit and vegetable intake, you probably will not be consuming an adequate amount of fiber for prevention of high cholesterol and colon cancer. Adequate fiber intake also helps facilitate weight loss and regular bowel movements.

A balanced smoothie can also help with blood sugar control. You will be sticking with a more appropriate portion size of fruit at one sitting because you can usually only fit about a half to one cup of fruit into an 8 oz smoothie. You can also pair the carbohydrates found in the fruit with a protein powder and a healthy fat source (coconut oil, avocado or nut butter). The other macronutrients, along with the fiber that naturally occurs in fruit will help keep your blood sugars tighter, while still getting good nutrients from the fruit and vegetables in the smoothie.

In conclusion, in most situations a smoothie is a better choice than a glass of fresh-pressed juice. If must juice, stick to all green non-starchy vegetables and pair your juice with a meal to balance out the concentrated nutrients.