If you – like us – love to drink your food, there are generally two ways to go about it: juicing vs smothies. You’ve probably already tried both and most likely, liked them both. They’re both great methods of drinking your raw, fresh nutrition and each has their own perks and drawbacks.
And although the whole juicing vs smoothies debate can rage fierce with supporters on each side, please remember that these two methods aren’t mutually exclusive at all – getting your nutrition through both is much more holistic than sticking to just one option.
Used together, fresh juices and smoothies sort of balance each other out, with one filling in the blanks that the other one misses. By taking advantage of both, you can get the best of all worlds. Win win. Here’s how.
Juicing vs Smoothies: The Fundamental Difference
Juicing and blending are a lot alike. They both take fruits, vegetables, herbs and turn them into a delicious combination of goodness that’s great for your body.
But there are some fundamental differences that give each one its unique benefits. Here are the biggest ones you should know about.
Juicers extract while blenders only deconstruct. Duh, you say. But this is a key difference.
A juicer extracts liquid nutrition from vegetables and fruits and leaves the fiber behind. Blenders, on the other hand, deconstruct the produce – without leaving anything out. This absence of the bulky fiber is the main difference between juices and smoothies.
For juices, the lack of fiber makes it incredibly easy to consume huge amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables in one go. This is beneficial when you’re drinking vegetables that are low in calories and sugar, but also comes with the downside where you can quickly exceed your recommended sugar dose when you juice mostly fruit.
Blending, on the other hand, simply breaks up the fiber to make it slightly easier for digestion, but gives us all the fiber that we would get from eating whole fruits and vegetables.
Powerful blenders break fiber at the cellular levels, which releases the phytochemicals that were bound up in it. Blending is especially awesome if rigorous chewing is not your forte and you don’t normally take the time to extract all this goodness from your fruits and veggies.
Also, the fact that smoothies still have all their fiber intact makes them filling – which means you will probably become too full to drink your way to sugary excess. The fiber also releases the sugars slowly, making it easier for your body to process and absorb the sugar.
Blenders sort of chew your food for you before you get to it, which is why smoothies are easier to digest than actual food. Juices, however, require pretty much no digestion. And this is, in our opinion, the main benefit of juicing vs smoothies.
Fresh vegetable juices gives your body heaps of essential nutrients and enzymes while allowing the body to take a break from digestion. Removing fiber from the picture means that you can flood your body with nutritious goodness fast and easy – thus giving yourself a boost of energy – without the digestive processes that weigh and slow you down.
Tip: Opt for a glass of fresh and healthy juice first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach. It provides a boost of nutrition and a burst of energy for a conquer the world kind of morning.
Juicing vs Smoothies: What’s Better?
As you can see, the different way that juicers and blenders works leads to key differences, which in turn leads to why juices and smoothies each have unique benefits. Here’s a quick snapshot of each.
Why Juicing is Great
- Can quickly consume huge amounts of veggies
- Practically no digestion necessary
- Nutrients in juices hit the bloodstream pretty much immediately (10 – 15 minutes)
- Makes it easy to drink vegetables you might not yet be comfortable with (like these super powerful greens for hardcore juicers)
- Makes leftover pulp you can do fun stuff with!
- This one is more personal, but it’s been true for us as well as with other juicers we know: the results from juicing come faster. By this, we’re referring broadly to vegetable juices and specifically to green juices. With juices, you can see your skin start to glow and feel a sort of lightness and energy in your body – and it all happens fairly quickly.
Why Smoothies are Great
- Retains fiber, which is great for your body
- The fiber content allows a slower release of sugar, so if you’re going to drink fruits – opt for the blender
- The fiber also fills you up – great for a quick meal replacement
- The best thing about blending, in our opinion, is all the fun and healthy stuff you can add to it – spirulina, bee pollen, and heaps of other must-have superfood supplements!
- This one refers to machinery: it is much easier to clean and maintain a blender. We’ll drink to that.
Juicing vs Smoothies: Use Both Wisely
The more I juice and blend, the more I think that each is not complete on its own. Both juicing and smoothies are delicious, effective ways to drink your nutrition but the unique advantages of each make them a perfect complement to each other, with one picking up where the other left off.
One area where you can most benefit from the crucial difference between blenders and juicers is when it comes to deciding which way to consume your fruits and vegetables.
Juicing is Best for Vegetables
In general, vegetables contain cellulose, a fiber that is hard to digest and often poorly digested in humans. If you suffer from digestive distress such as gas, bloating, or even abdominal pain after eating raw vegetables, then your digestive tract is not yet up to the task of digesting raw vegetables.
This is what makes raw vegetables ideal for juicing. It’s hard for our stomachs to extract the maximum nutrients from veggies (unless you chew and really chew) and juicers do that work for you.
What would normally take your body a few hours to try to digest is processed through the juicer so that your body can digest the nutrients from veggies in less than half an hour.
Smoothies are Best for Fruits
Fruits, on the other hand, are generally mushier. For example, you can easily crush a blueberry with your fingers and get some juice from it. I don’t know anyone who can do the same with a carrot.
The fibers in fruit are softer and much easier to digest. Most people can usually digest raw, whole fruits in about half an hour. Blending them does what chewing would do, making it even easier to digest but with the fiber still intact.
Juicing fruit, on the other hand, is not as efficient.
What I mean is that when you juice fruit (especially soft fruits), you often wind up with a teeny bit of juice and quite a lot of pulp, or with better juicers – some juice and still some juicy pulp. To me, this seems like a huge waste of yummy fruit.
For this reason, I prefer juicing most vegetables and blending most fruits.
And instead of juicing the whole fruit, I usually use the juicer to juice the inedible parts of fruit – such as the cores of pineapples and melon rinds. I toss the soft fruits into the blender.
Be Sugar Savvy with Juicing vs Smoothies
Another reason why blending your fruits – instead of juicing them – is preferable is because of the high sugar content in fruit. Fruits juices are easy and delicious to make, making it all too easy to overdo your sugar intake when it comes to juicing fruit.
Juicing only veggies and the nutritious, inedible parts of fruit (cores, rinds, etc.) produces a nutrient-rich, nicely watered-down (thanks to the rinds) juice blend that is good to drink alone, or toss in the blender with a few pieces of mushy fruit for extra sweetness (and some fiber!) It also comes with anti-aging benefits. .
That way you get the sweetness of fruit (with the fiber that will help you keep your sugar intake in check) as well as the rich nutrients from veggies and fruit parts that you normally wouldn’t have access to.
It’s a win-win!
As you can see – both blenders and juicers have their place in the kitchen, with one filling in the blanks that the other misses. That’s why we don’t advocate them as being mutually exclusive – they’re very complementary devices.
And it’s easy to get both their benefits, even in the same machine since there are great juicers that blend, too!