I get this question asked a lot. Whether it be a client, co-worker, or good friend, it seems as though most peeps are quite confused on the difference between juicing and blending. Is one healthier than the other? Will one make my skin glow more? Help keep me full longer? Have less calories? Sugar?
Here's the low-down on both.
While both can be made and consist of only fruits and vegetables, a smoothie is where the entire fruit or vegetable (meaning the skin, fibers, etc) is blended together, while a juice has all of the 'pulp' or fibers extracted, therefore only leaving behind the juice, vitamins, and minerals. Both are great from a health stand-point, but before you go spending your money on one or the other, let me give a breakdown on the comparison of the two, and also clear up some of today's misconceptions on this trend.
Here's a nutrient break-down of the popular BluePrint juices.
So although a juice contains an insane amount of nutrients pressed into one glass, it also has a fairly large amount of sugar per serving. And since we've taken away all of the fiber, that sugar goes straight into our blood stream. When our blood sugar rises in excess, it promotes the secretion of insulin, which then triggers fat storage. Not what we want.
The green juice above has 24g of sugar, while the lime ginger has 38g! That's more than a can of cola (33g)! Yes, I completely understand that sugar extracted from fruits and vegetables cannot even compare to that of high fructose corn syrup, but the point is it's still a lot for our body to process at one time. On a realistic stance, would we be able to consume bunches of kale and apples, along with copious amounts of spinach, lemon, and ginger in one sitting? I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure my jaw would kill from all the chewing, let alone my stomach resembling that of a pregg-O lady. And why is that, you say? Let me introduce to you a nifty little plant derivative called fiber.
Fiber is the indigestible portion of a plant. There's two types: soluble and insoluble.
- Soluble fiber is the type that dissolves in water, and is also known to be a 'prebiotic.' Think of the inside of apples or pears.
- Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water, and provides bulking. Think of the skin of those apples or pears. Insoluble fiber pulls water into the colon, making it easier for us excrete our waste. Just imagine it pulling all of our left-over food together in one big ball, cleaning out our insides so that we are able to eliminate and feel lighter. Sounds pretty rad to me.
So by eliminating the fiber (as you do with juicing), you're no longer getting that hit of gut-friendly plant derivatives. Are you sold?
Now let's take a look one of my go-to smoothie recipes for a nutrient comparison.
1 frozen banana, 1 scoop vegan protein powder (I use Vega Brand), handful of frozen blueberries, handful of spinach, and 1 C. almond milk.
This provides approximately 265 calories, 19g sugar, 5g fiber, and 22g of protein! With the huge hit of protein and added fiber, we feel satiated, keep our blood sugar in check, and still get a wonderful variety of nutrients. Yes, we may not be getting as large of a quantity of vitamins and minerals as we do within a juice, but if we are eating a well-balanced diet you're bound to meet the nutrient recs by the end of the day anyways.
The verdict? I'll keep my Ninja and take a smoothie any day.