benefits of juicing

Benefits of Juicing v. Blending: Which is better for you?

Juices have been rumored to deliver more energy than coffee but many complain about the cumbersome process and fiber waste. Smoothies are easier (and often yummier) but can be concentrated sources of simple sugar. So what is a healthy hopeful to do? In short, either, but ideally both. Which is why they are both essential parts of my 3 Day Detox Plan. The benefits of juicing and blending are plentiful, however, each does also offer its own potential pitfall. This post is designed to bring you clarity around the topic so you can move forward with the solution best for you.

Then Green Juice and Smoothie Craze

I think one of my favorite health trends of the past decade is the return of raw juices and the increase of veggies being tossed into the blender to create green smoothies. I am so glad I get to work in the health space at a time where most of inherently know this is good for us and so many are actively seeking information on how to incorporate the goodness of raw veggies into their lives. Whether you juice them or blend them, eating more greens (and other colorful veggies) is good!

The Clean and Colorful Concept

So good in fact, it’s a fundamental principle in my Clean and Colorful Concept. It started several years ago when I wrote Color Yourself Skinny, which is a program that includes 131-Healthy Recipes for colorful meals, juices and smoothies. I simplified the concept a bit last month when I launched the Clean and Colorful Challenge, a 21-Day Mini Adventure Cleanse. We’re starting Round 2 this Thursday, so I encourage you to jump and see how good it feels!

The guidelines are simple:

  1. Eat Clean (You pick which level).
  2. Eat all 5 colors every day.
  3. Swap one meal or snack for a Juice or Smoothie.
  4. Exercise at least 21 minutes a day.

Following those simple guidelines will leave you brimming with more energy and glowing from the inside out. But often people ask me one of these three questions: What’s the difference between juicing and blending? Can I use a blender to make my juice? Which is better for you, juices or smoothies? So let’s get onto answering those questions now…

1. What’s the difference between juicing and blending?

Raw juices are made in a juicer. You can put just about any tough, fibrous veggie in a juicer and it will be pulverized and the raw juice will be separated from its solid product. Juices tend to be higher in veggies, since many fruits are too soft for the juicer. Generally, the juice is consumed ASAP and the fibrous waste is discarded (although, there are some ways to make use of this pulp in soups, baked goods and stuffing). You can buy cold pressed juice, but it can be fairly expensive. If you have more questions about how to get started juicing, check out my Beginner Juice Guide.

Smoothies are made in the blender. Whether it be a fancy, high-speed blender you just spent a small fortune on or regular one you’ve had for years. If you have the fancy blender, they have the capacity to handle tougher veggies, but generally smoothies contain softer fruits and some soft greens like kale and/or spinach. They are often topped off with a myriad of any super food or protein powder you want to add, making them more suitable for meal replacements. You consume the entire smoothie, there is no fibrous waste. Here is one of my favorite simple Green Smoothie Recipes. You can make it no matter what kind of blender you have.

2. Can I use a blender to make my juice?

Probably not. Actually, no. I mean, it would depend on the ingredients you wanted to use and the type of blender you have. For the most part, it would be difficult to follow a “juice” recipe using a blender (think beets, apples, carrots). And even if you could, it would still be a smoothie because you made it in the blender and consumed the entire thing.

3. Which is better for you, juices or smoothies?

The best news is that even if you can’t use your blender to make a juice, they are both good for you! Here you get the 411 on key benefits and potential drawbacks.

Benefits of Juicing (and potential pitfalls)

  • Key Benefit: Since the fiber has been removed, the juice takes like zero work to digest and the key nutrients are highly bioavailable.  That means your body can easily absorb the fresh, raw enzymes, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and important antioxidants and put it to use ASAP. Drinking juice on an empty stomach can also ensure the best absorption of key nutrients.
  • Another benefit comes is the highly alkalizing impact of green juice and strong health boost that comes with it. Because the juice essentially digests itself and delivers only top notch nutrition, your body can divert its attention to other processes like building radiance, fighting disease and preventing aging.
  • The pitfall here is clearly the waste that is produced and the health boosting benefits of fiber and some additional nutrition that is lost with it. The best way to manage this is to find clever recipe that use juice pulp, so you still get the benefits.
  • Another potential pitfall is that it takes a while. There is veggie prep, pulp disposal, cleaning that can take 15 min from start to finish. Here are some time saving juicing tips, but this can be a barrier to the healthy daily habit.
Juicing Bowl
I only juice the kale stalks. The leaves I save to steam for salads, kale chips or soup.

Benefits of Blending (and potential pitfalls)

  • The key benefit comes from the nutrition the fiber delivers, since it’s not removed in the process of making a smoothie.
  • Plus there is no waste which can make the process of making a smoothie much easier. Realistically, if it’s easier to do, you’re more likely to do it. So if you’re more likely to do it, then that is a pretty outstanding benefit.
  • Because the blender can blend up…anything, you can easily sneak in other ingredients like tofu, greek yogurt or milk, that do provide protein and fat, making them more suitable for meal replacements and other superfoods for improved health benefits.
  • The potential pitfall is sugar. Because smoothies tend to have more fruit, they are also higher in sugar and hence calories. But this is true for store bought juices as well (see below) and really does not need to be a pitfall. You really just need to keep an eye on sugar.

Blueberry Cucumber Smoothie

Juice and Smoothie Caution

Raw juice and green smoothies are hip! We are starting to see more and more ready-to-go products at the grocery store and juice and smoothie bars popping up everywhere. Awesome! But not everybody’s pallet is quit ready for the taste of a true “green” product so juice and smoothie chefs are adding a lot of fruit (often in puree form, a.k.a. sugar) to make them more palatable (a.k.a yummy).

It’s not too hard to find a smoothie or a juice that has upwards of 300 caloires, essentially a meal, but with very little protein or fat for satiation, growth and/or repair. Be mindful of the ingredients and watch for added/unnecessary sugar in the form of puree or another condensed fruit juice and consider the rest of your daily diet so that everything stays in balance.

In summary…

Use a combination of the two. Green juice first thing in the morning can be an excellent way to kick start your day. If you skipped it, and you find yourself wanting to boost your nutrition later in the day, then a smoothie can be great option for the added fiber and potential protein and satiation they can provide. Ultimately, if you’re getting in the recommend 5 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables a day, you’re way ahead of the nation, see below.

FIGURE. Percentage of U.S. adults aged ≥18 years who consumed fruit two or more times per day* and vegetables three or more times per day,† by state --- Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2009
FIGURE. Percentage of U.S. adults aged ≥18 years who consumed fruit two or more times per day* and vegetables three or more times per day,† by state — Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2009

Clean & Colorful Challenge Starts Tomorrow!

Clean and Colorful Challenge

Wanna beat the rest of the U.S. in fruit and veggie consumption and see how good it feels when you get more color in your life? Join us for the final Clean and Colorful Challenge starting Thursday, December 3rd! You’ll get recipes, ideas, inspiration, support and accountability to boost your health all month long! It’s virtual, you can be anywhere! Learn more here or simply register below!

register now button

Which do you prefer, juicing or blending? 

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6 thoughts on “Benefits of Juicing v. Blending: Which is better for you?

  1. I’d really like to start juicing, I keep seeing a lot of blogs promoting it and providing some delicious recipes but I don’t have a juicer to get started. My birthday is coming up though, maybe its something to put on my list… heh heh. 😉 Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    1. Well…like I said there is perks to both and a combo of the two is really best. The removal of the fiber in the raw juice can boost absorption, but like you said, it’s easy to add protein to a smoothie. And veggies are better than fruits, so tossing some soft greens like kale and spinach in your smoothie can help quite a bit too! Either way, it sounds like you’re on a good track, but trying out juicing might be a next step too?

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