Why Are Smoothies Better Than Juicing? Best Hidden Reasons Exposed
Why Are Smoothies Better Than Juicing?
Do you ever wonder if there’s really a difference in opting for juice over a smoothie? Are smoothies better than juicing?
Both are comprised of fruits and vegetables - wholesome, healthy foods that we usually aren't getting enough of. Yet people seem to sit firmly on one side or another when it comes to choosing just one.
I’ll readily admit that I love both.
Smoothies and juices are a genius way to make the vegetables you hated as a kid much more palatable.
Aren’t you surprised by how great kale tastes when juiced with apples, pears, and other herbs and fruits? Or how a mango smoothie hides giant handfuls of spinach so expertly.
Are you confused? Don't be, just keep reading...
Today, I’m going to admit that I think that smoothies are a better choice overall.
So if you can’t decide which is healthier, read on as I make my case for smoothies. No offense to juice intended!
Smoothies give you FIBER!
Smoothies give you FIBER!
If no other reason convinces you, that’s fine, because this is the most important.
You’ve probably already caught onto this anyway, especially if you own a juicer.
Here is why:
When you extract juice from fruits and vegetables, a great deal of pulp remains. You need that pulp.
This fact is key to understanding why excessive juice consumption is linked to type 2 diabetes.
Simply put, whole fruit is good for you, but juice made from the same whole fruits elevates your risk.
Sugar, as usual, is the culprit. When you consume a lot of sugar, you need fiber to keep blood sugar stable.
Although fruit is generally healthy, this applies to natural fructose (the kind of sugar found in fruit) as well.
Here is the hard fact...
Lack of fiber will send that shot of sugar straight into the bloodstream, causing spikes that could have long-term consequences.
Test this theory the next time you’re at the grocery store.
Check the labels of processed, sugary junk foods. You’ll find that they have many grams of sugar added, while the fiber content is very low.
That’s one reason that those snacks lead to weight gain.
But wait, there's more:
When sugar is introduced with fiber, it is processed more slowly. This prevents harmful blood sugar spikes and allows the energy provided to be used for fat burning, not fat gain.
Studies such as this one indicate that if you include fiber, some fat and sugar can be part of a healthy diet. It’s the lack of fiber that allows fat and sugar to become problematic in the body.
Fiber is also very essential to healthy digestion, so we’re missing out when we juice vegetables, too. Insoluble fibers that are eliminated during juicing are intended to help you expel more waste at regular intervals.
So if you’re concerned about the risk of weight-related diabetes, constipation, and effective use of energy, choose a smoothie! Blending doesn’t destroy or remove fiber, and it’s much more convenient than chewing through a plate of celery and apples.
Smoothies are more budget friendly and environmentally conscious.
This is important.
Loss of fiber also equals loss of volume in produce.
Half of an apple may suffice for a smoothie recipe, but you'll need at least double for a juice blend. Let's think about the impact this has on our planet and our wallets.
Juicing has become very stylish lately, with cold-pressed artisan juice bars cropping up in urban areas. Juice extractor sales for home use have been on the rise as well.
I’m certain that some discarded pulp and fiber gets composted, but I’m also willing to wager that the majority does not.
Did your mother ever nag you to clean your plate because there are “starving children in Africa”? In adulthood, we can appease Mom and reduce food shortage concerns by going for smoothies more often than juices.
Food waste makes up at least 30 million tons of refuse that ends up in landfills annually. Once there, it degrades into methane, a greenhouse gas more damaging to our climate than carbon dioxide.
On its own, juicing isn’t so ubiquitous that it’s a major contributor to these problems, but waste is waste.
A pound and a half of mixed produce could turn out roughly one glass of juice. The same amount of produce can easily be made into three large smoothies.
Don’t believe me?
It takes almost ten carrots to make one cup of carrot juice. A cup of kale juice requires two whole bunches. That’s not a big glass of juice, just an 8-ounce cup! You yield less than an ounce of juice per carrot, and much of the carrot is left behind.
In some areas, a wide range of produce isn’t available year-round, and what is available can be rather expensive. If your options and funds are limited, smoothies are the better choice. You’ll triple the value you get from your fruits and veggies.
There are juice-aholics who can afford the produce and compost their pulp, but still want to help reduce food waste. To them (and smoothie drinkers!), I’d recommend going for imperfect produce. A bruised apple or crooked cucumber will not adversely affect the taste of your beverage.
Smoothies are more satisfying.
A lot of people use juicing as part of a cleanse or detox program. This means their diet consists of drinking sugary juice and skipping meals.
While I don’t think it’s harmful to skip a meal, I’d be concerned about regularly replacing one with juice.
The combination of high sugar, no fiber, and absolutely no solid food in general can wreak havoc on your system.
Post-deprivation binging isn’t only a concern for people losing weight; those on cleanses and detoxes suffer it as well.
It’s common to feel grumpy and achy during juice fasts. That could be the “detox reaction” of lore, or the negative effects from all those simple sugars.
The problem is that as soon as you’re free to eat, you experience the impulse to eat more than you usually would. And that says nothing of what foods you might choose after a period of deprivation.
This can negate any feelings of accomplishment you had while engaging in the cleanse. On top of this discouragement, low satiation - even when taking in nutrient-dense juices - can impact athletic performance and energy levels.
Smoothies, on the other hand, make a great meal replacement. You’re getting fiber, protein, vitamins, phytonutrients, and feeling full enough so that you won’t overeat later on. You can fuel a work day or a workout with a smoothie, while juices are more restorative.
Most of our smoothie’s satiation powers are due to our dear friend fiber, which is known to decrease hunger.
I believe that smoothies are also much more satiating because we can slip many more satisfying, protein-rich ingredients into them.
Here is a short video showing you the differences by Eric Berg.
Smoothies are far more customizable!
Bad news, juicers: you can’t juice a cacao nib. But you can throw a handful in your smoothie and blend up something healthy and chocolaty.
There are many options available to smoothie-makers that just won’t work in a glass of extracted juice.
Let me explain.
Dried fruits like dates and goji berries provide minerals and disappear into a smoothie, but can’t be extracted for juice.
Super foods like flax and chia seeds can be added to smoothies without affecting taste or texture.
It’s actually fun to experiment with smoothie ingredients and learn what works and what doesn’t.
Citrus, for example, doesn’t pair well with most creamy concoctions, but peanut butter often does!
Make your protein shake powder taste brighter by blending in frozen berries. Add a spoonful of coconut oil for healthy fats and a boost in immunity. Mask the flavor of red beets with blackberries and mint!
Smoothies for Weight Loss?
Are you drinking plenty of wholesome, fiber-laden smoothies but wondering why you’re not losing any of those extra pounds?
With all of my smoothie-lauding, it might surprise you to read what I have to tell you next.
I’ve cautioned many of my readers concerned with weight loss about drinking calories.
When something is considered healthy, we feel less threatened by consuming a lot of it. This gets even more out of hand with homemade beverages that don’t bear a label displaying the caloric content.
Choose your ingredients wisely.
How do you do it?
Here is how...
If you’re using banana or avocado, your smoothie will be creamy enough without milk or yogurt. Dairy products like those are just two common smoothie ingredients that pack in extra fat and calories.
Fruits like dates are also higher in calories than others. Therefore, you may not want to combine them with other higher-calorie ingredients like avocado and mango (although they’re delicious together).
If you have a smoothie with plenty of hidden calories in tandem with meals, weight loss progress may suddenly plateau.
Don’t know where to start with smoothies that are both delicious and calorically reasonable? I have a few great recipes to share coming up that won’t sabotage your weight loss efforts!
Finally, I have to mention that even if you primarily buy organic, you must always thoroughly wash your produce. Don't drink pesticides!
Get Ready to Blend - My Favorite Smoothie Blenders
One of my favorite things about smoothies is that cleanup is much easier than it is with a juice extractor. My juicer has to be disassembled and each individual part must be scrubbed immediately after juicing. While I’m doing that, my fresh juice is oxidizing on the counter!
So most days, I go for the smoothie.
If you have room in your budget and want a serviceable blender that’ll last forever, spring for the world-famous Vitamix.
Go for one of my more-affordable-but-still-exceptional options.
The Ninja is a mainstay on counters everywhere and has many excellent features without a shocking price tag.
For roughly the same price, you can get a NutriBullet. It's a better option if you’re only making smoothies and don’t have room in your kitchen for more appliances.
Is your cheap old blender the reason why your smoothies are turning out too chunky?
You can replace it for a very affordable price with this Hamilton Beach.
It may not last for years, but it’s powerful enough to pulverize fruits and veggies - just blend greens longer.
When purchasing a blender, keep in mind that your investment in pieces like the Vitamix and Ninja have seemingly infinite uses. You can make your own nut milk, salsa, hummus, soup, cashew cheese, baby food, and much more. The money saved by making these things at home offsets the cost, depending on how you plan to use it.
My Favorite Smoothie Recipes
Let’s get down to blending!
Here are three of my favorite smoothie recipes.
Like most smoothies, they’re very versatile. Add or substitute ingredients as you prefer, just be sure you use enough liquid to avoid making it too thick.
Here Comes the Sun Smoothie -
Perfect for mornings and very-kid friendly. Take one sliced, frozen banana and add in a cup of frozen pineapple chunks. Peel and quarter an orange and add it to the banana and pineapple. Pour in a cup of filtered water and blend until smooth.
Powerful Plant Protein Smoothie -
This is ideal as a meal replacement for highly active people. Being busy is no excuse for fasting or fast food when you take this smoothie with you.
Start with one cup of plant milk (I like unsweetened coconut) and about one cup of packed baby spinach leaves. Pre-blend the greens for extra smoothness. Add in one frozen banana, sliced, and a tablespoon of creamy peanut butter. If you’re cutting out fat, try this all-natural powdered peanut butter. Put in a scoop of protein powder, a spoonful of chia seeds and a few ice cubes if you like. Blend!
Glowing Green Detox Smoothie-
For hair, skin, and health!
Begin with a handful each of chopped romaine and spinach (sub kale if preferred). Add in a handful of parsley, which is great for hormonal balance.
Pre-blend the greens with a cup and a half of cold, filtered water. Chop up one apple and one pear, core and seeds removed. Add the fruit and a squeeze of lemon and blend until smooth.
The Bottom Line
Juicing is a great way to get a super shot of vitamins, but I still think smoothies are better.
Today I told you why, and we learned that smoothies:
Are high in fiber for stable blood sugar;
Are more affordable with less produce required;
Make less waste and are therefore better for the environment;
Allow a lot of room for a variety of ingredients and new flavors;
- Are more satiating and work as meal replacements that won’t lead to overeating.
Now it’s your turn to share why you think smoothies are healthier - if you agree at all! What kind of blender do you use, and what are your favorite ingredients to add? Have you ever used a juice extractor?