Making yourself a refreshing juice or a more filling smoothie is a fantastic way of working more fruit and vegetables into your diet.
Each approach has it’s own merits, however, and the choice of whether to blend or juice will largely depend on your own dietary needs.
To help you navigate the pros and cons in either case, we’ve put together a beginner’s guide that should answer your most pressing questions.
(Want to learn more about juicing and blending? Take a look through my collection of guides and reviews.)
When you juice your fruit or vegetables, you’re removing all of the pulp and much of the fiber in the process.
The end result is a drink that’s comparatively thin, but still packed full of nutrients.
They’re great if you need to reduce the amount of fiber in your diet, but one drawback is that they can leave you feeling hungry.
If you’re making purely fruit-based drinks, you should also watch the amount you consume. Even small servings can pack a surprising amount of sugar.
Here’s a quick overview on the different types of juicer you’ll find when shopping around.
Fruit and vegetables are passed through a tube against a rapidly spinning metal blade, then forced through a mesh filter.
These juicers are relatively quick at getting the job done, and are suitable for the average household that doesn’t take its juicing too seriously.
Here, the ingredients are crushed at a much slower speed.
You get more juice during this slower process (which is better for your budget in the long run), and it produces less heat and oxygen. That means more nutrients make it into the finished drink.
First the fruit and vegetables are ground into a salsa-like pulp. This pulp is then put under a great deal of pressure in order to extract the juice.
This two-stage process typically results in the tastiest juice drinks, although it’s the most expensive option of the three appliance types we’ve covered in this article.
When you blend fruit and vegetables, everything you put into the blender comes out!
We’ve seen it described as drinking a salad through a straw, which is a very accurate way of putting things.
You’re not only getting the benefit of all the vitamins, you’re also ingesting the dietary fiber and other nutrients as well.
As it’s a denser drink, you’re more likely to feel full up after drinking it too. All things considered you get a lot more out of the time you’ve invested in making it.
Things aren’t quite as clear cut as you might think when it comes to fiber though, so we’ll cover this issue further in the next section.
Soluble Vs Dietary Fiber
It’s not quite as simple as saying blended fruit and vegetables have more fiber than their juiced equivalents.
There are two different types of fiber in play:
Dietary Fiber: This stuff aids digestion, as it passes through your body more or less intact.
Soluble Fiber: This type of beneficial fiber is still found in produce like kale, apples, spinach, pineapple and carrots.
Crucially, many of the soluble fiber sources listed above are commonly found in juicing recipes. If these ingredients are included, then you’ll still gain some benefit.
If you’re getting plenty of fiber elsewhere, then juicing – within moderation – is a perfectly reasonable way to increase your intake of fruit and vegetables.
Here are some final tips to help you get more out of your juices and smoothies:
- Green vegetables such as kale and spinach aren’t at all overpowering when added to smoothies. Consider adding a handful to help you reach your targets.
- If you still find that adding greens results in an unpleasant after-taste, citrus fruits are great for masking these flavors.
- It’s best to consume your drinks within around 15 minutes of preparing them. Light and air aren’t great for nutrients.
- We recommend a masticating or cold press juicer, rather than a centrifugal appliance. They cost more but will last longer – and produce a superior drink every time.
- Similarly, not all blenders are created equal. Generally speaking, the more expensive the blender, the less it will heat up the enzymes in your ingredients.
When it comes to blended smoothies versus juicing, the question isn’t really what is better overall.
Rather, it’s about deciding what you need in your own dietary circumstances.
If you’re getting plenty of fiber from other sources, juicers do a great job of getting an extra shot of vitamins and nutrients inside you. Just don’t expect to feel full up afterwards.
If you recognize that you need to get more fiber, vitamins and other nutrients in your diet overall though, then a blended smoothie will tick more of those boxes for you.