To juice or not to juice, that is the question.
A juice and a smoothie are often referred to and made up synonymous but in fact they are two very different entities indeed.
Healthy foodies may agree on many nutritional topics, but there’s one that’s still up for debate: Which one is better, smoothies or juices? In my opinion there are pros and cons to each drink, so it really only comes down to your personal needs and goals. To figure out which one is right for you (regardless of what your friends, co-workers, or favourite celebs are slurping down), here’s the lowdown on each to give you a better understanding of each.
Smoothies are generally a blend of whole foods, which means you’re keeping all the nutrients and fibre from your fruits and/or veggies intact. Another big benefit to smoothies is the ability to add in extra nutritious or alkalising ingredients. For example, you can pimp up the protein by adding Greek yogurt, a shake powder, or a greens powder.
You can also toss in healthy fats in the form of avocado, chia seeds, or even almond butter. In addition, you can blend in plenty of other superfood ingredients for an even broader spectrum of nutrients, like fresh grated ginger, matcha or cacao powder, fresh mint, cinnamon and turmeric.
The nutritional balance of a smoothie is what can make it a full meal replacement or post-workout recovery drink.
As a smoothie has the fibre from the fruit and veggies they can help with bowel issues such as bloating and constipation.
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If you make a smoothie with only produce (no water), or alot of it, you’ll likely wind up consuming far more servings of these fruits and veggies than you would otherwise eat in any particular sitting. On the surface this might seem like a good thing as we all need plenty of fresh fruit and veg. However, it can actually mean gulping down more calories than you can potentially burn. This might prevent weight loss or even lead to weight gain depending on your individual circumstance.
People who drink a smoothie with a meal, rather than as a meal are unknowingly consuming two meals at once.
Case in point: I recently had a client who wasn’t seeing weight loss results despite eating healthy and working out. One of the culprits I discovered was the 400-calorie smoothie he whipped up every morning, along with a bowl of oatmeal.
Many people love veggies, and have no problem fitting plenty of them in their diets. But just as many people can go days without eating anything green, or who take very little time to stop and eat proper meals, for them, juicing is a great way to fill a serious nutrition gap.
One of my clients strongly dislikes veggies, but will drink a daily green juice, mixed with apple and ginger to make the taste more appealing.
For many professional athletes with hectic schedules, consuming their produce in liquid form allows them to simply get the amount they need per day. Finally, because juices are so concentrated, a small portion can provide the nutrient equivalent of several serving of fruits and veggies. This can make it much easier to take in all the key vitamins and minerals your body needs.
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Proper juicing generally extracts nutrients, but leaves most of the fibre behind. This makes juices less filling than smoothies or whole fruit. By missing fibre, you also miss out on some important nutrients and gut health benefits. What’s more, when juices are made with fruit or high sugar veggies (like beets and carrots), you may experience a blood sugar spike, particularly if you don’t consume any food at the same time.
Additionally, when juices contain more fruits than veggies, they can pack far more carbs than you might expect – potentially up to 40 grams in a 16-ounce serving.
Bottom line: If you’re drinking juice to fit in servings of produce you might otherwise skip, that’s great – just be mindful of exactly what’s in your juice and how much you’re drinking. But if your meals and snacks are already filled with veggies and fruits, you’re probably eating enough produce to get your fill.
What do we take away from this then?
Well, as the old saying goes, “it’s horses for courses.” If you understand why a juice is better at times than a smoothie and vice-versa, then there is not better or worse.
Personally I prefer smoothies or a combination of both. I often make a smoothie that consists of 100% veggies and a juice made of 100% fruit. When I’m going to replace a meal I will have perhaps 3/4 of a glass of the veggie smoothie and a 1/2 glass of juice.