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To Juice or to Smoothie
Ladies and Gentlemen!
In this corner, we have a cold-pressed vitamin-packed elixir!
In the other corner, we have a satisfying, rich, nutrient-dense, blended delight!
Which one is going to take the prize for being the best way to supplement your day-to-day clean-eating lifestyle!?!
What if we told you they both are winners!
While each has its own unique pluses and minuses, the reality is that if you incorporate them with wisdom and know-how, both can be an excellent and nutritious way to support your health.
So then, what is the difference between a juice and a smoothie?
Broadly speaking, a juice is an extraction of liquid from a fruit or vegetable, or a combination thereof. In particular, cold-pressed juices are made by first crushing the fruit or veggie in question and then pressing or “wringing” out most of the liquid from the fiber. At the end of the process you will have a vitamin-sugar-packed juice on one side, and a dry clump of plant fiber on the other.
A smoothie is a combination of fruits and/or vegetables that are macerated in a high velocity blender until it creates a smooth paste. Additional liquid like water or nut milk is often added to produce a smooth blend, but otherwise the texture can become too thick to drink with ease.
Juice = plant fiber removed Smoothie = plant fiber remains
The pro of juices, interestingly enough, is also the con – There is no fiber.
This is a pro because it allows the vitamins in the fruit or vegetable to become super condensed to the point of being almost like a liquid multivitamin. Without fiber in the way, your body digests these nutrients extremely quickly.
This becomes a con because there is no fiber to slow down the absorption of fructose and glucose into your bloodstream, which can be a strain on your endocrine system, despite being a burst of vitamins and sugar that provide an energizing elevated feeling that many people appreciate and enjoy.
Another con of juicing is that many of the vitamins in the juice may be fat-soluble. So, if you are drinking a juice on an empty stomach, you may end up flushing a lot of the benefit of that juice down the toilet if your body is not given some type of fat source while it tries to utilize those vitamins.
The pro of smoothies, on the other hand, is that the plant fiber slows down the digestion process and does not spike your blood-sugar as severely as juice alone. It is also much easier to add a healthy fat source to a smoothie in order to maximise the absorption of any fat-soluble vitamin. With this combination of fat and fiber, you also have a more ideal “meal replacement”. In essence, smoothies will make you feel more full, for a longer period of time.
But the question remains…
When should you have a smoothie or a juice?
The key is understanding the underlying difference.
First off, start thinking of juices as “vitamin energy infusions” and not as beverages. In the same way that you wouldn’t drink an iced vanilla latte with every meal (oh god, I hope not) you really don’t want to incorporate juices as if they were regular hydration beverages like water or unsweetened tea.
Instead, juices are ideal vitamin-packed replacements for caffeinated drinks. It’s best to accompany your juice with some type of healthy fat source to help you absorb all the vitamins.
Smoothies can be thought of as “nutrient-dense meals on-the-go”. What’s nice about a smoothie is that you can easily modulate whether you want a high-calorie smoothie or a lower calorie smoothie while still incorporating a good amount of vitamins and minerals in addition to other nutrients like protein and healthy fats.
This means smoothies make a versatile meal replacement that gives your body a lot of good stuff to work with.
If you approach smoothies and juices the right way, then both are stellar ways to boost your daily nutrition. In terms of moderation with both, approach juices as you would a caffeinated or sweetened beverage, and smoothies as if they were meals. Not too much, and not all the time.
Another good rule of thumb for both is to make sure that fruit doesn’t make up more than 30% of the contents of either. That amount will help make both the juice and smoothie more palatable without sending your blood sugar skyrocketing.
In our eyes, juices and smoothies are both Clean Foodie Champs!