You’ve likely heard the terms “juicing” and “blending” – but what’s the difference between the two? If you’re looking for the essential lowdown on juicing vs blending, and the best choices for making smoothies, you’ve come to the right place!
Let’s take a look at the benefits of juicing and blending fruits and vegetables. That way, you can support your health naturally through the nutritious power of fresh produce.
Drink Your Fruits and Vegetables
Many people don’t get enough nutrient-rich foods in their diets.1 If you’re struggling to eat enough fruits and veggies with each meal, why not enjoy them as a blended drink? Some people swear by fresh juice or blended smoothies to help supplement their diet.
Juicing can be a great way to make healthy food choices, but it can also mean you’re getting too much sugar. That’s one of the cons of juicing.
Blending can provide the fiber content that juicing lacks – but it can easily include high calorie and sugar counts too. So, which is best – drinking juice or a smoothie?
The answer depends on what you are trying to achieve and what is best for your body.
If you’d like to understand the benefits of juicing and blending, it’s important to know a few things about fiber, blood sugar levels, and essential nutrients found in veggies and fruits.
Blending involves using whole fruit and vegetables – which means you get the nutrients of the skin, pulp, and seeds, but are limited to how much you can actually consume in one sitting.
With juicing, you can include a larger amount of fruits and vegetables because you use only the juice. This results in a thicker beverage when blending, and a thinner liquid when juicing.
What are the Benefits of Fiber?
Fiber is an important aspect of digestion and nutrient absorption. When you eat whole fruits, you consume fiber in the skin, pulp, and (sometimes) seeds of those fruits.
Now, there are two kinds of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Each offers specific health benefits and are found in all fruit and vegetables to some degree.
Soluble fiber can help support healthy blood sugar, heart health, and overall digestive function. You can find soluble fiber in fruits, oats, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, and some vegetables.2
Insoluble fiber can help boost digestive health by adding bulk to the stool. It’s found in certain vegetables, oats, whole wheat, whole grain, and bran.3
As it turns out, juice extraction actually removes some of the fiber from fruits and vegetables. So, unless you’re limiting your fiber intake, this is a big drawback to juicing. If you are looking to add fiber to your diet, try eating fresh fruits whole instead.
Juicing, Blending, and Blood Sugar Levels
Juicing and blending allow you to consume lots of fruits and vegetables all at once. But if you’re trying to decide whether juicing or blending is right for you, be sure to consider your blood sugar.
As it turns out, many fruits contain a lot of sugar. When you juice them, you’re essentially drinking a sugar bomb.4 Here are some high-sugar juices to use sparingly:
- Orange Juice
- Cranberry Juice
- Grape Juice
When you drink a beverage made primarily of fruit, your blood sugar can spike as your body begins to digest it. Some vegetables, like carrots and beets, can also raise blood glucose levels. This is because their natural sugar content is high.5,6
Fruits are popular for juicing because of their sweet taste, but you need balance. (More on this in a moment!)
Do Juice Cleanses Work?
Juice cleanses are a popular trend in the health-food world. Are they better for your health than eating a balanced diet of fruits and vegetables? Research results are inconclusive. But there are a few short-term effects from juicing that are worth considering.
Consuming fruits and vegetables only from drinks isn’t ideal for weight loss or digestive health.
This is because all-juice cleanses can cause abrupt blood sugar spikes.7
If you are seeking pre-made juice options, cold-pressed juice is a high-quality choice.
Cold-pressed juice uses high pressure to extract juice from a fruit or vegetable. It’s done without heat, which supposedly helps preserve essential nutrients. Is cold-pressed juice better for you? There’s little research to support this idea.8
A juice cleanse may be a helpful tool if you’re trying to regulate your digestive tract. But is best executed with the supervision of a medical professional.
As always, speak to your doctor before beginning any new diet or nutrition practice – he or she will know what’s best for you.9
How to Drink your Nutrients
Sometimes, taste preferences mean avoiding nutrient-rich foods and picking items high in sugar instead.
When blending or juicing, try including foods you might not normally eat but are high in vitamins and minerals. Sneak them into your beverage undetected by combining savory, bitter, and sweet ingredients.
Now, with juicing and blending, you want to limit sugar and boost nutrition. Including more green vegetables in your juices or smoothies is a great way to do that. Here are some good choices:
Kale: This leafy green “superfood” is high in vitamin C, beta carotene, and fiber. It also has strong antioxidant properties. Kale is a great go-to for vitamins and minerals when blending or trying a juice cleanse.10
Spinach: High in water and low in sugar, spinach is a great source of vitamin A, folate, and several other vitamins and minerals. A handful of spinach makes an easy addition to smoothies.11
Cucumber: This green snack is low in calories and high in hydration – and it can support healthy digestion. Cucumbers are a solid choice for juicing if you’re trying to lose weight or detoxify your body.12
Celery: Celery is an alkaline vegetable known for being low in calories. It’s also high in fiber and water. The extra fiber in celery makes a great addition to a blended drink recipe.13
What Else Can You Add to Blended Drinks?
Most smoothie recipes include a variety of fruits and vegetables as the primary ingredients. But what other ingredients can you add to keep your drinks high in nutrients and low in sugar? Here are a few great ingredients for blending smoothies to keep your diet balanced.
Nut Butters: Nuts are rich in healthy fats and nutrients – and they’re a delicious addition to a smoothie. Research suggests that nut butters may also help support heart health.14
Unsweetened Almond Milk: Switching to a non-dairy milk choice in your blended drinks may help lower your saturated fat intake. Just check labels carefully for added sugar and unhealthy fillers.15
Powders and Supplements: Supplemental ingredients and powders can add protein, collagen, vitamins, or energy boosts. Talk to your doctor or nutritionist about which options are right for you.
Yogurt: This tasty snack is a great way to include probiotics, calcium, and protein in your diet. Try using yogurt as part of your next blended drink – it’ll add a creamy texture that’s also packed with nutrients.16
Chia Seeds: Low in calories and high in fiber, chia seeds also serve up high levels of calcium, omega-3s, magnesium, and phosphorous. Add a handful of chia seeds to boost nutrients when blending smoothies. Or you could also use flaxseeds! 17
Juicing or Blending: Which One is Right For You?
Choosing between juicing and blending is a personal preference – it’s all about what your own health goals are. When deciding between the two, be sure to keep in mind sugar and fiber content — and look for healthy ingredients beyond just fruits and vegetables.
When done with care, drinking a glass of juice or a blended smoothie can be a great addition to your healthy routine.