Juices vs. Smoothies: What Are the Differences?

Those trying to reduce chronic disease symptoms or become healthier typically look at ways that they can rework their diets.

In fact, the Centers for Disease Control states that approximately 117 million Americans have chronic diseases, many of which can be traced back to poor diets and low levels of physical activity.

In recent years, many have turned to healthy smoothies and fresh fruit and vegetable juices as ways to add more nutrients into their diets.

If you are confused about what smoothies and fresh juices really are or whether they are the same, you are certainly not alone. By shedding light on the similarities and differences between the two, you will be better prepared to make the best decision for your own lifestyle.

Are Smoothies and Juicing Really Different?

The short answer is that yes, juicing is definitely different from making a smoothie. While both smoothies and juices frequently use fresh fruits and vegetables as some or all of their ingredients, they use this produce far differently, giving them far different nutritional values.

A smoothie is made in a blender. This means that all of the ingredients get thoroughly mixed together so that they are completely smooth. For example, if you put apples, spinach and water into the blender, you should not be able to see any particles of spinach leaves or any chunks of apples once the blender has completed the task. You will be drinking every single thing that you put into the blender.

On the other hand, a juicer is designed to extract juices from fruits and vegetables, leaving the pulp behind. If you put carrots and apples into a juicer, you will be drinking juice made from these ingredients, but you will not be drinking all of the apple or carrot. Instead, some of the pulp will be left behind in the juicer.

How Are Blenders and Juicers Different?

The best way to understand the difference between smoothies and juices is to consider the appliances that create them.

Blenders may come in varieties of shapes, but they all have one main container into which you put all of your ingredients. When you turn the blender on, the blades pulverize the ingredients until they are completely liquid. What you put into the blender is literally what you will get out of it. There will be no pulp left behind because it will all be mixed into your beverage.

Of course, you will quickly realize that your blender needs some liquid to work correctly so that the blades do not get clogged. Therefore, you will probably need to add water, almond milk or another healthy beverage to get the right smoothie consistency.

On the other hand, a juicer functions completely differently.

If you look at one, you will notice that there are at least two different vessels for collecting the ingredients that you put into the appliance. The one vessel holds the juice while the other vessel holds the pulp. The pulp is the fiber naturally present in your fruits and vegetables that could not be made into a liquid. While many quality juicers let you control the amount of pulp that is in your finished product, all will extract some fiber into a separate container.

Are the Health Benefits of Smoothies and Juices the Same?

Both homemade juices and smoothies have great health benefits. However, you should be aware of what their benefits are and how they differ so that you can decide how often you should be consuming these drinks and how they could help or hinder you on the road to your unique health goals.

The health benefits of smoothies really depend on what you put into them. According to Brierley Wright, a registered dietitian, if you are focusing mainly on fresh fruits and vegetables made with a healthy milk or milk alternative and healthy add-ons, such as oats, collagen protein or carob powder, your smoothie will be a hydrating, high-fiber drink that will keep you full for hours.

However, if you add in ice cream, sweetened yogurt or other high-calorie substances, your smoothie will quickly wreck your healthy dietary goals.

The biggest concern that people have about juicing is that this process removes much of the fiber from fruits and vegetables, leaving you with the liquid portions of the produce and a big shot of natural sugars. Therefore, these fresh juices will be nowhere near as filling as healthy smoothies are. However, they do still have some health benefits, especially if you are feeling a little depleted in energy or are feeling run-down. According to Jennifer Barr, a registered dietitian in Delaware, juices give you a great way to get your fruits and vegetables in if you are not big into eating them raw or cooked.

Are Juices or Smoothies Right for You?

Now that you know about the health benefits of juicing as well as smoothies, you can feel confident about mindfully adding either one into your diet. However, you will want to keep several tips in mind to ensure that you are benefiting from these drinks rather than abusing them.

  • Keep your intake of blended or juiced fruits and vegetables to approximately 8 ounces per day to reduce your sugar consumption.
  • Consider increasing the pulp concentration on your juicer to consume more filling fiber.
  • Choose fruits with low glycemic indexes, such as Granny Smith apples or strawberries to decrease your sugar intake.
  • Add the pulp from your juicer into your cooking or baking so as not to waste the fiber.
  • Make smoothies or juices ahead of time to save yourself time in the mornings.

Obviously, both blending and juicing have their benefits. Blending starts the digestive process for your body by breaking foods down thoroughly. Juicing gives you high-powered shots of vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables that you otherwise may not enjoy. With so many great smoothie and juice recipes available today, you will find it easy to discover a new fruit and vegetable combination that you can love.

Juices vs. Smoothies: What Are the Differences?
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