Thursday, March 29, 2012

Smoothies vs. Juicing

by Lisa K. Beach, Ph.D., CHES

Juicing and smoothies are both great ways to consume more micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and other healthy nutritious compounds). When made with quality ingredients, tailored to meet a person’s specific needs, both smoothies and juice can be wonderful nutrient delivery systems (and they can taste great too).

The differences between the two are as follows:

1. Juicing requires more produce for the same quantity of end product (it’s more expensive than blending/smoothies)

2. Smoothies maintain fiber content (juice has none), and are more “filling”

3. Juicing requires more expensive equipment (smoothies can be made in a relatively cheap blender, but there are also very expensive blenders that allow for blending a wider variety of ingredients)

4. Clean-up for smoothies is easier and quicker (juicer clean-up can range from about 5 minutes to 15, depending on the juicer)

5. Juice contains more concentrated micronutrients that are delivered to your cells much more quickly and efficiently than smoothies

These are all important things to consider because buying equipment and intending to make juice or smoothies does not actually mean you’ll do it—you have to budget the time, money, and fridge space (and the motivation) to make it happen!

The main question I receive about juicing and smoothies is “which one is better?”

My response goes something like this:

Juicing is awesome. It’s like mainlining nutrients if you consume it on an empty stomach. Your body doesn’t have to do much work to absorb the nutrients. It is energizing, and if done first thing in the morning (after “fasting” since dinner), this allows the body more time to work on important detoxification and metabolism processes rather than switching over to digestion (which happens when you eat breakfast or drink a smoothie). For increasing energy, blasting the body with nutrients, clearer skin, and doing a mini-fast (or longer if you have the strategies and desire for that), juicing is an amazing tool.

Smoothies provide significant amounts of micronutrients too, and they’re packaged with fiber. Fiber, which is something most Americans need more of (the average American female gets less than 12 grams a day but the recommended amount is 25 grams or more), can be super high in a smoothie, depending on the ingredients you use. You can put greens and veggies in a smoothie, and start your work day having consumed a day’s worth of nutrients and veggies (but you don’t have to feel like you ate a salad for breakfast). You can add protein, fat, and other filling ingredients to a smoothie to keep you full for many hours and/or to help you strategically recover from a workout or meet certain macronutrient (carb, fat, protein) goals. When you’re on the go, a picky eater, or need to find a way to get more nutrient density in your diet, smoothies are an awesome choice.

My advice? Identify your goals, resources, time availability, and health needs, and pick one based on those factors---I like both smoothies and juice, but I think the best one for you is whichever one that makes you feel the best and is the most likely that you'll do! 


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Kaplan Center for Health and Wellness
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