The juicing vs blending debate has been going on for years. The advocates for each method usually have very strong opinions about why their preferred drink is the best. On the other hand, many people do not even realize there is a difference.
What is the Difference?
While both procedures have their benefits, blending and juicing are not the same. The drink you get as an output of each process is the biggest difference. Juicing produces juices and blending produces smoothies. The main difference between the two drinks is the pulp. Smoothies contain the pulp and juices are almost completely pulpless. This not only affects the taste and the texture of the drink but also its nutritional content and the impact it may have on your health.
Now let's discuss the differences in more detail.
Juicing vs. Blending
Both juicing and blending give us the opportunity to introduce fruits and vegetables we don't usually eat into our diet.
When we “juice” fruits and vegetables, water and nutrients are extracted and most of the fiber is discarded. Without the fiber, our stomach won’t be required to digest it so it can absorb the nutrients easily. With juicing, nutrients become easily accessible to our body, and absorption is much better .
Juicing provides a good energy burst to keep us going through the day.
Blending smoothies, on the other hand, takes the whole fruit or vegetable, including the fiber and skin. Blending breaks the fiber down so it is easier to consume. It takes longer for nutrients to be released into the bloodstream.
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Both juicing and blending make the absorption process easier for the body. However with juicing it is almost instant.
When you juice, you get a more nutrient dense drink and the nutrients are absorbed faster.
If we compare a juice and a smoothie of the same volume and same ingredients, the juice will contain more nutrients. However, it will be lacking specific nutrients that are present in the smoothie. That is because certain nutrients are bound to the pulp, the skin or the membranes of the fruits and vegetables and those get lost in the process of juicing.
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Fiber plays an important role in our diet. It is known to have many health benefits. It may lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar levels, reduce the risk of stroke, regulate bowel movements and more.
But what is fiber? Many people refer to fiber as a substance that goes through our body without being digested and leaves it completely nonintact. That is however not entirely true.
Some of the fiber is fermentable fiber. Fermentable fiber can be broken down by bacteria in our colon. This fermentable fiber is called prebiotics.
In juicing, most of the fiber is removed. Actually, the better the machine we are using to produce the juice the less fiber we are getting in our drink. Unfortunately, drinking juice will not give us the same benefits as the fiber content of fruits and vegetables. On the other hand, the vitamins we do get from the juice are better absorbed.
When it comes to blending, it's a bit different. Since the produce is not being lost in the process of making the drink. The smoothie contains most of the fiber that was originally in the whole fruit or vegetable. However, it gets broken down in the process.
How does that affect its health benefits?
It's hard to say since the studies are a bit contradictive. A study conducted on wheat bran, suggests that chopping the fiber content to smaller units harms the effect it has on the body. Another study, conducted on carrots actually showed that breaking it into small units actually made it more effective in reducing cholesterol.
The bottom line is that smoothies do have significant amounts of fiber and juices don't. If a fiber is the one thing you are after when preparing your drink, then blending is definitely the way to go.
If not done properly both juicing and blending can cause our blood sugar to rise. Using only high sugary fruits in our drinks and drinking too much of them may not be smart in terms of sugars and calories control.
Juice contents, including sugar, are absorbed almost instantly into our blood stream. If the juice contains too much fructose, it will most likely cause a sudden spike in our blood sugar levels. With blending, we will experience a more gradual rise.
Using vegetables in our juices is vital for enjoying the health benefits both blending and juicing have to offer. A good rule of thumb would be 80% vegetable to 20% of fruit in each drink.
Is Juicing or Blending Better for Weight Loss?
Once again, the ingredients we use to make our drinks have everything to do with whether or not juicing or blending can help us lose weight. Making fruit only juices or high fatty shakes can actually cause weight gain.
What we eat in addition to juices and smoothies is also a major factor.
A juice is lighter than a smoothie, therefore it may seem like a better option for weight loss. However, relying only on juices for a long period of time will leave you hungry and will not provide you with all the nutrients your body requires.
If done properly, both juicing and blending can contribute to weight loss. Combining them may actually make it easier.
A well-balanced diet, that is rich in vitamins but also in fiber and proteins is key to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight .
Juicing or Blending for Detox?
When it comes to fasting and cleansing, however, you are better off with juicing since it’s easier for your digestive system. The whole point of cleansing is to get rid of toxins and give your colon a rest and fresh juices allow you to do exactly that.
Juicing vs Blending While Pregnant
However, it is important to follow some rules while doing it:
1. Use as much of organic produce as possible. This is necessary during pregnancy and in ordinary life. However, minimizing toxins and chemicals in your diet become particularly important during pregnancy.
2. Avoid fasting during pregnancy. Juice cleanse, fast or even blending diet will not provide you with all the required nutrients.
3. Do not drink unpasteurized drinks. Those can contain bacteria which may be harmful .
Juicing and Blending Machines
What equipment is required for juicing?
There are different ways to prepare juices. Using a juicer is the easiest and the most effective one.
By exploring the market you will find that juicers vary in size, function and the way they process your produce.
There are manual juicers, used mainly for citrus fruits or wheatgrass. The most popular juicers are those that can deal with different types of fruits and vegetables. Those also vary. Among them, you will find centrifugal juicers and masticating juicers. The main difference between the two types is the processing speed. Masticating juicers work at low speed and are believed to work more efficiently.
What equipment is required for blending?
To make smoothies you will require a blender.
Blenders are used for different cooking purposes including soups, dips, sauces, butter and more. Chances are, you already have some kind of blender in your kitchen. If not, you will find there are plenty of different blenders on the market.
There are traditional blenders, stick blenders, personal blenders, heavy duty blenders and even blenders that are no longer called blenders like Nutribullet system *, for example. Although you can use any blender to prepare a smoothie. It is best to follow some guidelines to ensure a good blending experience and a delicious result.
Tips for Buying a Juicer
- Slow Juicing Speed
- Easy to Clean
- Minimal Noise
- Counter Top Space - Juicers have different designs, the vertical one tends to take less shelf space than the horizontal models
Tips for Buying a Blender
- Powerful Motor
- Easy to Clean
- Easy to Use
- Pitcher Size - If you plan to prepare smoothies for the whole family, look for a large pitcher. If it is for personal use, then a smaller pitcher size might be more convenient
Can I use a blender to make juices?
Yes, you can, but we would advise against it. To make a juice with a blender you need to first blend all the ingredients and then strain the prepared smoothie using a cheesecloth *. We don't like this method as it takes time, it is messy and is hard to stick with for a long time.
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The quality of the juices and smoothies will depend greatly on the kind of juicer or blender you use. What this means is that you need to invest in a quality blender or juicer. If you’re buying a juicer, avoid the cheap ones as they’ll diminish the nutrients and enzymes in the fruits and vegetables your body needs.
A good quality juicer or blender will cost more, but it’s worth the investment as they will last much longer. Unlike centrifugal juicers, cold press or mastication juicers are durable and squeeze every bit from the fruit or vegetable, which is exactly what you want. A powerful blender will make perfecting the texture of your smoothie way easier. The equipment you use will affect your juicing/blending experience and may be the factor that will determine whether you stick with it or not.
Pros and Cons of Juicing
- Juices are easily digested.
- Nutrients are easily absorbed.
- Juicing makes it easy to add vegetables to your diet. A single juice can pack plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Juicing can contribute to weight loss.
- It requires time to juice.
- You have to remove the fiber, which is also nutritious.
- Juicing is not meant to be a meal replacement since they’re basically water. That’s the reason why they’re used frequently for fasting.
- Juicing lots of fruits make cause blood sugar levels to rise.
Pros and Cons of Blending
- You get fiber, which is something your body needs.
- The fiber content in smoothies contributes to satiety, making you feel fuller after drinking them.
- Smoothies consist of fruits and vegetables, which means they are rich in antioxidants which your body needs to strengthen its immune system and rebuild cells.
- Smoothies usualy take less time to make since you have less prep work to do.
- Smoothies, as long as they consist of fruits and vegetables, are low in calories. But if you add sweetened yogurt, peanuts, chocolate and other sweets, the calorie count will go up, defeating its purpose.
- It may be hard to achieve the perfect texture.
- Blending also carries the risk of potential sugar overload as you add more and more artificial flavoring to sweeten it.
If you want to try your hand at blending some smoothies but don’t know where to start, here’s a quick and easy recipe you can try.
- Sprigs of mint
- Half a cup of ice cubs
- Half a cup of milk, coconut milk or soy (optional)
- 2 ripe sliced bananas
- 1 and 1/4 cup of fresh strawberries
1. Wash the strawberries and dice them.
2. If the bananas haven’t been cut yet, cut them now.
3. Add the ice cubes and milk (or water).
4. Combine all the ingredients and blend at a low setting. If necessary, pause your blender and move the mixture off the sides and continue blending.
5. Serve the smoothie when done blending.
Conclusion - Which One is Better?
Most Americans do not eat enough fruits or vegetables on daily basis. Both juicing and blending are great ways to introduce more fresh produce into our diet. Both methods have their strength and their drawbacks, yet both can diversify our menu and make it healthier.
Nor juicing or blending can offer as many health benefits as eating plenty of whole fruits and vegetables. Both can, however, make us cut back on commercial drinks and maybe even on some of the fast foods. We believe that anything that lets you consume more fresh produce, even if you are enjoying only some of its benefits, is a good thing.
Do you like juicing or blending? Tell us why you prefer the one over the other!