So many times I’ve been asked this question. Which is healthier – smoothies or juices? Quality juicers and blenders are expensive so the juicer vs blender question almost always comes in the same breath. If a person has to choose, which one should they buy?
The answer to the ‘which is healthier’ question is easy to answer. But it makes the ‘which one should I buy’ not so easy.
Asking which one is healthier is like asking what’s better, water or air? What’s healthier, broccoli or spinach?
Juices and smoothies both have the potential to be fantastically nutritious and by no means should one exclude the other. Yes, they’re different and have different nutrient profiles as well as functions, but just like water and air, your body will love both.
The first and major difference is the fiber. In a smoothie you’ve simply taken a whole fruit or vegetable and turned it into a liquid. You’re then consuming the entire nutritious complexity of the produce, fiber and all. And if one thing the main stream media has gotten correct, we could all use more fiber in our diet.
The fiber in plants is both soluble and insoluble and you get the benefit of a slower burn (meaning, no blood sugar spike) and a gentle scrub, a pipe cleaner for our internal pipes if you will. Clean intestines and plenty of fiber equals easy pooping. And the world would be a happier place if we were all easy poopers. Seriously! Constipation makes people grumpy!
In juicing, on the other hand, all that fiber is removed and you’re left with only the liquid portion of the produce. Is that a bad thing? No!! Without the fiber your body has a super easy time absorbing the nutrients in the juice since there is so little digestion to be done. It’s as if the plant’s nutrients are absorbed instantly into your blood stream. It’s not quite that fast, but you get the idea.
Because there’s no fiber in the way as the nutrients are trying to find their way to the stomach lining, it’s a quick hit of superfood nutrients. Juicing can be incredibly powerful because of the condensed nutrition per serving. Without the fiber you’re getting a higher dose of nutrients per swallow, and you’ll consume the nutrition of many more plants than you could possible eat in one sitting.
With all that in mind you can see why it’s important to be careful with the high sugar fruit juices. Yes they have nutrients, but a straight or primarily fruit juice drink will go straight to your blood stream spiking glucose. 100% fruit juice drinks are primarily sugar and present many of the same blood sugar and diabetes concerns as regular cane sugar. When you’re juicing, be sure to make the majority of the drink vegetable based with just a little fruit for taste. Smoothies should also be primarily veggie based, but a little extra fruit could be a good idea for palatability.
Now what do you think? Is one better than the other? You can see they both have their benefits. Which one should you drink? Both of course!
Permit me a tangent here. Juice fast detox cleanses are pointless and expensive. The amount of nutrition is great, but you’re body can not detox, true cellular detox, without protein. True “cleanses” consist of a healthy, maintainable diet with plenty of healthy, plant or animal based, protein. Have a glass of juice a day for sure. Highly recommend it. But don’t think starving your body for a week drinking only juice is doing yourself any favors.
Alright, back on course. So the answer is you should drink both smoothies and juices. You can see why the second question, juicer vs blender, is tougher. We own both a Blendtec blender and an Omega Juicer, and we happily use both of them often. That said, if I had to pick one I would go with blender. We use it literally at least once a day, and often more once.
Smoothies are our most common breakfast, we use the blender for many food processing tasks, and just can’t seem to stop discovering new ways to use it. Juicing takes a lot longer for several reasons. You have to chop the veggies to size so they fit in the juicer, and it just takes longer for a machine to coax the juice out of a plant than pulverizing the whole thing, and there’s just a lot more produce to work with. A handful of spinach or kale, a carrot, a stalk of celery, a scoop of healthy protein powder, and some blueberries makes a hearty breakfast for two. It takes several times that amount of produce to kick out (I was going to say ‘produce’ but that’s getting tricky to keep track of) two servings.
That also brings up the budget issue. Juicing will use a lot more produce, and therefore a lot more money, than blending. So keep that in mind as you’re considering options.
We’ve done lots of research and have years of hands-on experience. We can’t recommend the Blendtec any higher than we do. It has many advantages over its competition and we can promise you’ll never regret buying one. (Click here to read the whole story of why we chose the Blendtec.)
For the consumer market Omega Juicers are the top of the line for juicing. They’re extremely well built, and we love the 8006 model we own because it can do a lot more than just juicing, like nut butters, sorbets, and pastas. You can read more about our experience with it here: Omega Juicer 8006.