Weight loss clients often ask this question: is it better to have a smoothie or juice? My answer is always the same; a home-made smoothie! Premade smoothies tend to have too much simple sugar, unhealthy additives and preservatives, little antioxidants and no phytonutrients1. Juicing has a faster rate of oxidation because the fruits and vegetables are broken open and their enzymes and other nutrients are released from the fibers. Furthermore, juicing completely separates the fiber and the liquid, losing the benefits of fiber. If you juiced an apple, you would lose 5 g of fiber1! Fibers keep people full and helps lower the absorption rate of sugar (stabilizes blood sugar)2. Fiber also keeps the digestive track healthy by feeding the good bacteria and exercising the intestinal track.1 The benefits of juicing are that you can extract more nutrients with less energy expanded; this would be a great technique to get calories in a sick patient, like a patient undergoing chemotherapy with the lack of appetite, for example.
If someone wants to juice, I would recommend that they mainly juice vegetables and eating it with a healthy fat and protein source like almonds.
The general smoothie however, has a longer shelf life and keeps you fuller as the fiber is more prevalent. Typically, blenders are a lot easier to clean and are generally less expensive than juicers. A high-quality blender is ideal; this helps break the cell wall down without causing too much damage. This leads to greater nutrient absorption, getting more nutrients into the bloodstream by extracting them from the fiber. Everybody is pressed for time, and it is what we do every day to make things easier and more convenient that counts. Juicing takes a long time to clean up, you have to have more vegetables (more expensive) to get more juice, and you get hungrier quicker. With less fruit, you can absorb more nutrients while staying fuller longer. In the end, the decision based on logical benefits is clearer than it appears. Realistically, how long is an individual going to continue using the juice?
- Kalt, W. Effects of production and processing factors on major fruit and vegetables antioxidants. Vol. 70 Nr.1, 2005 – Journal of Food Science See attached PDF
- Backhed F, Ding H, Wang T, Hooper LV, Koh GY, Nagy A, Semenkovich CF, Gordon JI. The gut microbiota as an environmental factor that regulates fat storage. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.2004 Nov 2:101(44):15718-23. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC524219/
- Kallio P, Kolehmainen M, Laaksonen DE, Kekalainen J, Salopuro T, Sivenius K, Pulkkinen L, Mykkanen HM, Niskanen L, uusitupa M, Poutanen. Dietary carbohydrate modification induces alteration in gene expression in abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue in persons with metabolic syndrome: FUNGE-NUT study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 May;85(5):1417-27.