Fresh fruits and vegetables are an integral part of any healthy diet, and while you can eat your produce cooked or raw, you can also have it in liquid form. Today, juices and smoothies have become quite popular as many people continue to embrace fitter lifestyles.
This leads us to some very important questions: What is the difference between blending and juicing, and what is the better choice between the two?
Juicing refers to the process of extracting liquid from fruits and vegetables with the use of a juicer. A juicer may make use of centrifugal force, mastication (chewing) or grinding to extract the juice. The process discards all insoluble fiber, so you’re left with pure nutrient-filled liquids.
Many people drink fresh juice as an alternative to meals especially when they want to go on a diet or go on a short term detox cleanse.
- It gives your digestive system a rest. Fresh juice does not contain any insoluble fiber and contains very little amount of soluble fiber. Thus, it does not require any digestion at all. This gives your digestive system (especially the stomach, pancreas and colon) a rest from processing foods which are rather heavy, laden with chemicals and difficult to digest.
- It speeds up nutrient delivery. Juice does not need to be broken down by your digestive system because it readily absorbs all the nutrients that it contains. Thus, it actually shoots all the good vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in your system to nourish your body and restore it at the cellular level. This is why fresh juice is well recommended when you are sick.
- It helps you get more nutrients in one sitting. If you notice, it takes quite a number of fruits and vegetables to make a glass of juice, and because one glass isn’t filling enough (this can also be a bad thing), you can end up drinking more. If you stop and think about it, you cannot actually eat all the fruits and vegetables that you use to make two glasses of juice in just one sitting. Hence, it means that you can easily get more nutrients from several glasses of juice than from eating several pieces of fruit at any given time.
- It is gentle on the stomach. Because it has zero insoluble fiber, it can be gentle for people who have fiber sensitivity.
- It may cause a spike your blood sugar. Just as the body easily absorbs nutrients from your fresh juice, it also does the same with the fruit sugar content (or fructose) from the drink as well. Fruits have naturally occurring sugars that can affect your blood sugar level the way conventional sugar does. If you are not careful, your juice can cause your sugar levels to fluctuate, which can lead to sluggishness, irritability and mood swings. This can also pose problems if you are diabetic. Thus, it is recommended that you get as much vegetables in your drink, because they are usually lower in sugar content. Use fruits sparingly to add as flavor.
- It not as filling as smoothies or real food. Without the insoluble fiber to bulk the drink up, your fresh juice can leave you hungry all the time, especially if you use it as a meal replacement. This can be a problem if you decide to go on a juice cleanse, as you may be tempted to eat food due to the hunger. You may need to drink at least two or more glasses during each meal to feel full.
- It does not give you 100% of the nutrients and antioxidants. Breaking down your veggie or fruit causes them to lose their antioxidant and nutrient content, so you do not end up getting 100% of the nutrients that you would otherwise get from eating a whole fruit. This is why you have to drink your juice right as it comes out from the juicer. The longer you let the juice stand, the more nutrients it loses.
- It does not give you the fiber that you need. Fiber is an important component of a healthy diet, since it helps flush out toxins and waste from the body. Getting enough fiber in your system also helps reduce the risk of health problems like high blood pressure and certain kinds of cancer.
- It can be expensive. Good quality juicers are rather expensive (in comparison to blenders), especially if you choose a cold press or slow juicer. It also requires more fruit to make a glass of juice, which means that you have to spend more money.
- It can be time consuming. Preparing fresh juice can take time, because you have to slice the produce up and feed them individually into the juicer’s chute. Juicers also have a lot of parts, so cleaning up after can also be very tedious and can take a lot of time.
Blending, on the other hand, refers to the process of emulsifying the whole fruit or vegetable along with some liquid. Blended drinks are also called smoothies and are sometimes mixed with other ingredients like yogurt or milk.
- It gives you everything. And everything means everything. Blending does not throw out any part of the fruit or vegetable, so nothing is wasted at all. You consume and eat everything from the food – antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, proteins, fiber and other nutrients.
- It speeds up nutrient delivery. Smoothies take a little more work to digest in comparison to fresh juices. Even then, it does not take a lot of work as it is not solid food, so nutrients are still easily absorbed into your system.
- It fills you up more. It is more filling than juice because of its fiber content. You can easily replace breakfast or dinner with a smoothie without worrying about going hungry in a few hours.
- It doesn’t spike up your sugar. The fiber in the smoothies help slow down the release of blood sugar in your blood stream, so it does not spike up your blood sugar right away. To be on the safe side, do not combine fruits that have high fructose levels and get as much vegetables in your drink as you can.
- It is faster to prepare and clean up. Blending smoothies is rather easy. All you have to do is put in the fruit slices, the liquid and then just push the blend or blast button. Cleaning up is also easier than cleaning up a juicer.
- It is more affordable. Most blenders are cheaper than juicers. Also, you do not need to blend as much produce to create one glass of smoothie.
- It doesn’t give you as much nutrients as juicing. Smoothies are more filling than juices, thus you cannot consume as much smoothie as you would if you were drinking juice. In this aspect, you still tend to get more nutrients from juices than the other way around.
- It can make you gassy, especially if you are sensitive to fiber.
- It also does not give you 100% of the nutrients and antioxidants from the produce. The constant whirring of the blender’s blades can create plenty of heat, which can kill off enzymes and antioxidants. Hence, you still won’t be able to get 100% of all the nutrients.
- You can’t blend all types of produce. Not all produce are good for blending. Carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes and beets (which are great choices for juicing), but disintegrate, become chalky or taste bitter when blended.
What Is The Best Choice?
Given the pros and cons of both blending and juicing, your decision ultimately boils down to what you think works best for you. If you want to get more nutrients per glass, then juicing may be a better idea. If you want something that is more filling and can be used as a meal replacement, then you may want to drink smoothies instead.
The good news, however, is that you do not even have to exclusively choose just one type of drink. There are no hard and fast rules, because you can always alternate between both drinks. What is important is that you know their good and not-so-good aspects, so you can work your way around these disadvantages and use them for your benefit.
Regardless of your choice though, you can be sure about a few things. Drinking fresh fruit juice and vegetables is sure to increase your intake of produce. This is especially beneficial for people who do not like to eat their veggies. Juicing or blending them and mixing them with fruit masks their taste, so you don’t actually notice that you’re getting all your important greens. Blending and juicing also helps your children take in more vegetables and fruits. It also allows you to detox and cleanse your system while letting your vital organs take a quick break. Lastly, it can help you kick start a healthy diet and lifestyle by nourishing your body with the right micronutrients and reducing your intake of sugary and processed foods.
What do you think of juicing and blending, and which do you prefer between both? Let us know what you think!