One common question I get asked is if it is better to make juice or make smoothies. That’s really a difficult question to answer because there are benefits and drawbacks to both. Both allow you to consume raw fruits and vegetables but consider the following when choosing between juicing and making smoothies.
Smoothies are made in a blender which doesn’t remove any fiber. Juicers remove fiber and produce pulp. Fiber is still present in juice but in lower quantity than in a smoothie.
Fiber comes in two forms, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber is absorbed into the bloodstream and does useful stuff like lower cholesterol and help to balance sugar levels. Insoluble fiber helps to bulk up the stool and keep the digestive system healthy.
It’s important to get lots of fiber and juicing removes fiber. For that reason some people add some pulp back into their juice using a blender. Others take fiber supplements like psyllium husk.
Because smoothies contain more fiber they tend to release sugar into the bloodstream at a slower rate. Fiber slows absorption of sugar so juice is at a disadvantage especially if you’re diabetic.
However, people tend to put more fruit in smoothies than when juicing. Fruit contains a lot more sugar than vegetables, so it’s important to get the right balance of vegetables to fruits. Less fruit and more vegetable is healthier.
Juices are typically easier to absorb because they are concentration of super fine nutrients with minimal fiber to be digested. Smoothies are harder to digest and absorb.
Juices tend to promote healing because they maintain nutritional requirements but at the same time give your body a rest from digestion.
Juices can provide a boost in energy since there is little fiber getting in the way of absorption. Digestion slows down the release of sugars meaning a smoothie can contain more sugar but release sugars at a slower rate than a juice.
Juicing produces a lot of waste in the form of pulp. You can use the pulp to cook with but it’s often thrown away. Making smoothies uses everything and so is less wasteful.
People often complain about how long it takes to clean the juicer after juicing. Blenders tend to be easier to clean and so smoothies can be more convenient. Of course this greatly depends on which model of juicer you buy but it’s something else to consider when choosing between juice and smoothie.
If you want to make juice you buy a juicer. If you want to make smoothies you buy a blender. They perform different tasks and a juicer is quite a specialized piece of equipment. A blender on the other hand is quite versatile and can perform a variety of tasks and not just for making smoothies. You can even make juice with a blender, you just need something to strain the juice. Something called a “nut milk bag” is perfect for this job. You can buy them online or in health food stores.
If you can afford it, it makes sense to have both a juicer and a blender. You may already have a blender but want to try juicing. Juicers can be very cheap and start at around $50 so it’s not expensive to start juicing.