We see juice bars and smoothie bars everywhere. “Homemade” juices and fresh smoothies are becoming menu staples all over the place.
But what is a smoothie? And what is the difference exactly between smoothies vs. juicing?
They both contain fruit, sometimes also veggies, and both make for a perfect summer drink.
Is one healthier or basically “better for you” than the other? Which should you be drinking: smoothies or juices?
Let’s find out!
What’s the difference between smoothies vs. juicing?
Let’s start with the basics: the ingredients. When prepared on the spot, both juices and smoothies are made with real fruit and veggies (instead of purees, syrups or powders).
The difference between smoothies vs. juicing is in the production.
Smoothies are made by blending the ingredients. This means putting whole pieces of fruit and vegetables in the blender, so none of the fiber gets lost.
Juices, on the other hand, are pressed which means that the pulp of the fruits and veggies are separated from the juice. Juicing usually means no “pieces” in your drink, but that also means no fiber.
Why is fiber important for you?
Fiber is an important part of your diet. It helps keep your digestive system stable and active.
There are two types of fiber and both are present in all kinds of fruit and veggies.
Insoluble fiber stabilizes your digestion and attracts water to the intestines to keep everything moving. You will find insoluble fibers in foods like cucumber, celery, carrot, nuts and seeds.
Soluble fiber helps lower blood cholesterol, slows the absorption of carbs, and feeds the bacteria in your gut. Soluble fibers can be found in oats, apples, berries, plums, pears, nuts and seeds for example.
As with everything: consume fiber with moderation
Fibers are good for you and are present in all kinds of fruit and veggies, but also in smoothies.
But don’t overdo it. When you consume too much fiber, weird noises might travel from your stomach area. 😉
Typically, you should aim for an intake of 70 grams of fiber a day. If you consume more than 70 grams, you might notice any of the following symptoms: gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal cramping.
An overload of fiber can also prevent your system from binding with important minerals (think: calcium, iron or zinc) which means your body won’t absorb them.
You don’t want that 🙂
Also read: How to Interpret Food Labels Correctly
What are other benefits of blending?
Studies have shown that blended fruit leaves you with more antioxidants than when you’d juice the same ingredients. That’s because you will find antioxidants primarily in the fibrous membranes of fruit.
Let’s put this in context.
When you smoke or are exposed to pollution a lot, your body reacts by producing unstable molecules called “free radicals” as a reaction. But this also happens with some foods, especially refined and processed foods with a lot of trans fat, additives, or food coloring.
Antioxidants can prevent or slow down the damage caused to cells by these free radicals. They might even reduce the risk of cancer according to some studies.
All in all, antioxidants are good for you! You may have heard of vitamin C, vitamin E, enzymes and beta-carotene as well-known antioxidants. By using blending as your preparation method, your intake of this nutrient will be higher.
A last benefit we’ll mention when comparing smoothies vs. juicing, is that smoothies will make you feel full sooner than juices will. And that’s definitely a good thing!
Because of the pulp, skin and fiber in fresh, natural smoothies, the volume of the drink is higher which makes you feel full. A juice, on the other hand, does not contain the same amount of pulp, which will not make you feel as satisfied. It’s easy to over-consume with juices, which also means a higher intake of calories (especially knowing that some commercial smoothies contain more sugar than popular soda drinks!).
So, are smoothies better for you than juices?
Because smoothies contain more antioxidants and fiber than juices, they come with a lot more benefits to your health. Both beverages contain sugar and so both can raise your blood sugar. However, the effects are more dramatic and rapid with juices.
So yes, smoothies have more advantages than juices and are better for you.
But most importantly: it’s still better to eat whole fruits and veggies.
But we know you don’t always have time for that, which is why we developed the Alberts Smoothie Station 🙂