The nutritional sensationalism of juicing is quickly eclipsing the shake and smoothie fads, and for good reason.
A freshly-pressed juice delivers instant nutrition that is quickly metabolized, giving you a surge of vitamins, minerals, and energy directly to the blood stream.
But in the juicing or blending debate, smoothies still have their advantages. A balanced diet could include both, depending on the nourishment you’re looking for.
So which is better? Here’s the breakdown.
Juice: The Quick Boost
- Juicers discard the skins and fibers of the vegetables and fruit, leaving only the essential nutrients
- Vitamins and minerals are digested and metabolized within minutes
- Juicing allows you to consume the nutrient equivalent of multiple servings of fruit or vegetables in very few ounces
- Quick digestion time and zero fiber could cause a sharp sugar spike
The Equipment: What You Need to Know
The type of juicer you use makes a major difference to how many nutrients are preserved or destroyed in the juicing process.
- Juice is extracted with high-speed spinning blades
- Spinning motion causes more oxidation in the juice, which speeds up the breakdown of the nutrients
- Easier to clean
- Juices faster, but has more wasted juice
- Better for harder fruits and veggies like apples and beets
- Meaning to “chew” or “grind,” this juicer rotates at a slower speed and “squishes” the fruit/veggie to extract juice
- Takes longer, but creates more juice
- Better for softer fruits and leafy green vegetables
Check out this comprehensive comparison from Will and Norm of Tested:
Blending: The Slow and Steady
While it’s true that fad shakes and fast food smoothies are usually packed with sugar and additives, the homemade smoothie shouldn’t get the brush-off just yet. A juice might be lean and clean, but a smoothie is fibrous and filling.
- Blending conserves the fibrous flesh and skin of the fruits and vegetables
- More filling and slower to digest
- Packs in fewer nutrients per volume than a juice, but higher fiber and slower absorption reduces possibility of insulin spike
Remember This Acronym
Your frothy cup o’ nutrients has four enemies: Air. Light. Oxygen. Time.
Use this acronym A.L.O.T. (heh) to remember the best conservation methods for smoothies and juice.
Because the process of juicing/blending extracts the nutrients from the plant’s cell walls, once you pour the liquid and expose those nutrients to the air, they undergo oxidation. This rapidly depletes their nutrient content.
Best practice is to consume the mixture within 15 minutes, or store it for no more than 24 hours in an airtight container in the darkest cavern of your fridge.
Juicing or Blending? The Bottom Line
So, which one is better? The short answer is, I love both. I look at it this way: we all need plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit in our diet, whether we eat, juice, or blend them.
–Joe Cross of Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead
There is no winner here. Both choices are nutritional heavy weights – it just depends on what your body needs.
Looking for an energy-sustaining breakfast? Go for that peanut butter and banana protein smoothie.
Didn’t get enough veggies at lunch? Get a surge of cucumber/kale phytonutrients with a fresh juice.