Juice vs Smoothie
A juice or a smoothie – which one to choose? It reminds me of the dilemma – a shower or a bathtub. It’s all taking a bath, isn’t it? All about being clean and healthy (if done properly). But still, there is a difference and the answer which one to set your mind on depends on the final goal and is defined by the process itself.
While the importance of fruit and vegetables as part of a healthy diet is undeniable and well established, the juice/ smoothie craze has raised some doubts and posed some questions. Like…is consistency relevant to the end results? What do I win and what do I lose favoring either juicing or smoothie? Do they even make sense for getting rid of toxins in my body and losing weight? Let’s try to find some answers together.
Believed to be one of the main benefits from drinking juices and smoothies. Detox programs and detox juice or smoothie recipes lurk from each and every corner. They target the very sensitive fear that we live in a world full of chemicals and we’re all absorbing those chemicals with our bodies. Be it through the food we eat or the air we breathe. And we are, indeed. The United States Centers for Disease Control estimate that over 80% of all illnesses have their roots in environmental and lifestyle factors. Another study claims that only 5–10% of all cancer cases can be attributed to genetic defects, whereas the remaining 90–95% have their roots in the environment and lifestyle, including diet, radiation, stress, physical activity, environmental pollutants.
The body has a mechanism for eliminating toxins by itself. But with the overwhelming amount of chemicals we are now confronted with every day, sometimes it needs a bit of additional care to keep it clean and avoid getting to the point it needs healing.
Detoxication, on the other hand, is not something new – it existed thousands of years ago as a treatment and concept in alternative medicine (fasting and Ayurveda). Till now, there is no evidence proving the benefits of a juicing/ smoothie detox, juice cleanse or juice fast, which is when one drinks only juice, phasing out solid foods for a period of time. This doesn’t detoxify your body. Your body naturally excretes most toxins. (1, 2) The modern detox definition, however, including juice and smoothie detox has slightly changed the perceptions of it to translate as “lifestyle changes that reduce the exposure of toxins while nourishing the body to improve digestion and elimination” (Cynthia Pasquella, Certified Clinical Nutritionist). For prevention rather than healing. To what extent juicing and smoothies help in achieving this goal is yet to be defined.
Fruits and vegetables are a must when it comes to a balanced and healthy menu. The USDA Dietary Guidelines recommend devoting to them half your daily meal. It also states that enough fruit and vegetables in your diet can actually lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, and some cancers, as well as help control body weight and avoid obesity. (3) The recommended daily intake is set to 212 cup equivalents of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit, including juices. Few of us could put a checkmark next to these two. Nor next to “eat a variety of types and colors of produce to give your body the mix of nutrients it needs.” Either because such a variety in your daily menu requires time and special efforts, or because you just don’t like the taste of some important produce. Here comes to help the first benefit of juice.
Juicing extracts water and vital nutrients from fruits and vegetables in a form that’s easy for your digestive system to absorb. All the nutrients are more readily available to the body. And in much larger quantities than if you were to eat the whole fruits and vegetables. A small portion can provide the nutrient equivalent of several servings of fruits and veggies.
Since in the case of juice your digestive system has almost nothing to break down, it seems to be a source of immediate energy you might need in certain situations.
It also allows for a greater variety in your daily nutrients intake. You could mix several types of fruit or vegetables you don’t usually find tasty with ones you love. Thus, helping you meet the recommendations for a healthy eating pattern.
This easy to absorb consistency of juices is made possible by removing all the fiber. Fiber is difficult to break down, but it helps slow down the digestive process and secures a steady release of nutrients into your bloodstream. The reduced fiber content has several negative consequences:
- In the case of fruit juices, the express absorption can lead to a rapid spike in blood sugar. A study suggests that eating whole fruit (especially blueberries, grapes and apples) reduces the risk for type 2 diabetes. But those who drink fruit juice are at increased risk. In the study people who substituted fruit juice for whole fruits three times a week lowered their risk by 7%.
- Fibers act like a sponge absorbing toxins. They cannot be broken down into sugar. Instead, they go through your body undigested and help boost the immune system in your gut and keep the digestive lining healthy. They also absorb and save you from excess hormones, cholesterol, and toxins. Thus, lack of fibers in juices reduces their detox qualities.
Will juicing provide all the nutrients you need in your diet? NO. For example, it will lack on protein and fat or they will only be present in very small amounts. Essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin D, calcium, and iron may also be deficient. Juicing might be an excellent way to get more fruits and vegetables, but you should combine it with a healthy eating plan that includes a variety of foods and..fiber for sure.(4)
While juices can easily fill your nutrition gap, they can also lead to excess calorie intake. Especially fruit juices. They contain a lot of sugar and no fiber. Fibers play a great role in making you feel full. The result is – you easily get hungry after drinking juice and need to eat solid food. Be mindful of exactly what’s in your juice, how much you’re drinking and how you combine it with your food.
The difference between a juice and a smoothie is that the smoothie is virtually the whole fruits and vegetables blended with near zero nutrient loss…and all the fiber (in a pulverised form for easier digestion)! And this is important because, as I’ve already mentioned, fiber slows down the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream and help maintain stable blood sugar levels with no strikes and drastic fluctuations. It also lowers bad LDL cholesterol, promotes heart health and helps keep your digestive system healthy. Fiber absorbs and pulls out toxins and chemicals out of your body. And it has a mission to control your appetite and make you feel full.
Another benefit over juice is, you can add a variety of ingredients to make it more nutritious and potent to substitute a meal. For example, milk, yogurt or protein powder, may be added. As well as healthy fat, in the form of avocado, chia seeds, or almond butter. And here’s an easy and quickly prepared (much quicker than juicing) – a legit healthy meal.
A research claims the energy that came from the beverage food doesn’t satisfy your appetite long enough. So, if you take exactly the same energy as a liquid instead of a solid, you will take more calories later. You might end up gulping down more calories than you can burn, which might lead to weight gain.
Also, even if you aim to consume more vegetables you rarely include in meals, like greens, you will typically blend it with some fruit to make it taste better for you (like banana). In the end, these “green” smoothies turn out to be quite high in sugar and bring more calories than expected.
Now, who’s winning the game? Neither. And both. Your body doesn’t need to be detoxed, experts say, it detoxifies itself. Liver and kidneys can do their job in a healthy body. To reduce the need for them to work so hard, don’t stuff your cells with harmful substances, try skipping all the nasty fast, junk and packaged food and get rid of unhealthy habits like smoking or alcohol. Then, give your body the daily nutrient intake it deserves. Well, both juices and smoothies can contribute to your healthy eating pattern in a similar way. So, don’t choose, juice…juice and blend…and don’t turn your back on whole fruits and vegetables, too. Teeth are there for a purpose.
Juicers: remove the fiber that carrys much of the nutrition and helps regulate the body’s absorption of sugars.
1) No Fiber
“The juice is loaded with vitamins and minerals, as well as the sugars that occur naturally in fruits and vegetables. But it doesn’t have any fiber—that’s all in the pulp. That’s bad, because fiber is the thing that slows your body’s absorption of all of the sugars found in fruits and vegetables. Without the roughage, that sugar gets absorbed much faster—causing your blood sugar to quickly spike, explains registered dietitian Georgie Fear.”
2) No Carrier of Nutirients – fat soluable vitains
According to Fear, most of us would still probably get enough of the vitamins and minerals we need without drinking juice. “After all, dietary deficiencies are rare in our society,” she says. Hmm, good point.
Read chapter 11 Fat-Soluble Vitamins: Diet and Health examines the many complex issues concerning diet and its role in increasing or decreasing the risk o…
But even if you were in desperate need of more nutrients, your juice might not help you. Many vitamins—including A, D, E, and K—need to be consumed with some fat in order to be absorbed by the body, so drinking them in the form of a fat-free fruit and veggie juice won’t do you much good. (Check out the healthy fat you’re not eating, but should be.) What’s more, cooking actually enhances the antioxidant capacity of many fruits and vegetables, found one Italian study. So that raw, cold-pressed juice might turn out to really be a waste of money after all.
3)Does not make feel full and satisfied no fat: The lack of fat and protein only adds to the problem. Without them, “your satisfaction pathways aren’t triggered, because amino acids and fat digestion are some of the key signals your brain waits on to shut down hunger signals,” she adds.
Skip the Recipe, Here’s a great Formula for great healthy green smoothies every time!
- Leafy Greens – Lots of
- Banana (and/or half avocado) for creamy texture and sweetness
- Fat – helps absorb the vitamins in the greens and control your blood sugar levels, options:
- half an avocado
- scoop of nut butter
- tablespoon coconut oil
- heaping tablespoon of flaxseed
- Salt (sea or Himalayan) for minerals, just a pinch will do it
- Liquid of choice: coconut, nondairy milks, or water
When friends come to me looking to make small changes that will have a huge impact on their health, I always tell them to swap out or supplement their regular breakfast with a green smoothie.