I have been asked this question so many times now: What's better, making a smoothie or juicing? As much as many may think this should be a black and white question, it's actually a bit more complicated.
Juicing has become ever more popular in the last couple of years- though die-hards may say it's been popular long before then. With food and health related documentaries becoming more mainstream and their wide availability on Netflix, films like Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead and Food Matters have likely been a driving force behind juicing's ever more popularity.
Juicing offers the body nutrients on a silver plater so to speak. It's like a 'nutrient shot' for your body. Fibre which would normally help slow digestion and absorption is removed allowing for nutrients to be quickly absorbed and utilized. This can be very helpful to rapidly increase ones nutrients as multiple fruits and vegetables are used to make just a cup of juice, while trying to eat all those fruits and vegetables would fill you up a lot faster- again, because of the fibre.
That leads into some of the downsides of juicing, the first being, fibre is good! We need fibre! For what you might ask? Well here's a little breakdown of fibre's role in the body:
The second issue is that because fibre is removed, everything is absorbed much, much faster and not just your vitamins and minerals but also sugar. This can lead to a blood sugar spike. Now, this issue can be easily resolved by reducing the amount of sugar in the juice- ie. reducing the amounts of fruits and starchy or sweet veggies used like carrots. However, I often find when I hear about the ingredients going into a juice it's very heavy in fruits and very light in the veggie department. I recently had someone tell me after a work out class the instructor gave everyone some fresh juice she had made and it was SO good. So I asked what was in it- carrots, apples, ginger, lemon. Of course it tasted great! It was like a little sugar shot! Yes, it had lots of antioxidants. Yes, it had lots of vitamins and minerals. But it also probably had about 50 grams of sugar! However, smoothies can also fall victim to this same issue- too much sugar. How many of you make fruit smoothies in the morning? Do you use frozen fruit (like strawberries), a banana, water, splash of orange juice, vanilla yogurt (maybe it's Greek)? Would it surprise you to know this combo packs about 58 grams of carbohydrates, only 6.3g of which is dietary fibre, and only provides 10.7 grams of protein and 2.4 grams of fat most of which is saturated (from the dairy)? That means that there is over 50 grams of sugar in this smoothie- 2 Snickers chocolate bars worth! I do want to note, I am not promoting chocolate bars for breakfast, the smoothie does provide more nutrition- vitamins, minerals, antioxidants- than a chocolate bar would, the issue is the huge amount of sugar.
So, where does this leave us? You may be thinking neither smoothies or juicing is the way to go! But I would say don't drop either! Like most things, it comes down to using either, a juice or a smoothie, in the right way and doing it properly.
Smoothies can be a wonderful part of your diet- quick, convenient, tasty and a great way to get a few servings of fruits and vegetables- they just have to be done properly. Here are some tips:
Smoothies are a great option as a meal, because (if done properly) they contain carbs, proteins, fats, and fibre. They will provide all the macronutrients for a balanced meal and lots of fibre. With fat, protein and fibre, smoothies can keep you satisfied until your next meal and temper the carbohydrate absorption to keep blood sugar levels steady.
Juices are a great addition to a healthy diet, again, assuming they are done properly with mostly veggies and only a piece or two of fruit for sweetness. Because they don't provide any real fat, protein or fibre, I wouldn't recommend a juice as a meal but a great addition to a meal or as a snack. Juicing is a fantastic way to boost nutrients and increase your veggie intake. You can also keep the pulp left over from juicing and use it in another recipe- that way you still get the fibre and any nutrients left behind!
Like everything, it's all about balance. Both smoothies and juicing can be great additions to your diet, they just have to be done properly and used appropriately.
Disclaimer: Naturopathic Doctors strive to provide individualized health care. The information contained in these topics is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it is provided for educational purposes only. This information shouldn’t take the place of seeing an ND for individualized health recommendations.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.