Indeed two different beverages, yet each however, has distinct advantages and drawbacks.Let’s explore.
Juicing is a process that extracts water and most of the vitamins and minerals from whole pieces of fruits or vegetables, but leaves the fibre behind (aka pulp). Unlike juicing, Smoothies, include the whole fruit/veg, including the fibre, and when combined with other ingredients, such as milk or yoghurt – the outcome is thick and smooth.
Proponents say that you can achieve the maximum nutritional benefit from juicing compared to eating whole fruits and vegetables because the body can absorb the nutrients better and provides much needed rest to the digestive system. Some go as far as claiming that juicing can reduce the risk of cancer, but there is exactly zero scientifically supported evidence that extracted juices are healthier than the juice you get by eating whole fruits or vegetable itself, let alone prevent or cure any illness.
Does your digestion really need a break?
The notion that your digestion needs a break is nonsense. In reality, fibre helps with digestion and is the major reason that fruits and vegetables are good for the body. And, if you’re like most Australians, chances are you don’t know how much fibre you need each day – that’s 30g just in case you’re wondering. Yet most folks only eat about two thirds of the fibre they need. The evidence that fibre is associated with a reduced risk of some of our most widespread chronic conditions, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and some cancers is strong.
What about weight loss?
If you’re considering a juice cleanse to bust the kilos fast, listen up. Beyond weight loss, juice cleanse companies would have you believe that flooding your insides with raw fruits and vegetables can wash away just about any health problem, with benefits including increased energy, bolstered immune system, radiant skin and, of course detoxification.
But the juice is cold-pressed, right? It doesn’t matter. The juice is still void of most of the fibre allowing the body to absorb the fructose (fruit sugar) more rapidly, which can wreak havoc blood sugar levels. Rapid fluctuations of blood sugar involved in juice fast can result in fatigue, rapid weight loss (most likely from water and muscle) and blurry vision. Certainly not recommended for people with diabetes. Eating fibre also contributes to a feeling of fullness that helps prevent people from overeating – a common culprit for weight gain. You’re simply not going to be satisfied if you drink your meals instead of chewing them. Besides, the idea that your body needs help ridding itself of toxins is false. The liver and kidneys are perfectly good filters to get rid of toxins, and exactly what they are designed to do after all.
Smoothie-lovers beware, too. Sure, smoothies provide the fibre, but when you combine whole fruit, dairy, yoghurt, chia seeds, muesli and protein powders (.. the list may go on), it equates to a complete calorie overload rather than a quick healthy drink on the run. What’s more, some store-bought or commercially made smoothies can include “hidden sugars” found in fruit juice concentrates, frozen yoghurt and sweetened juice, rather than whole fruit which can add up to 29 and 31 teaspoons of sugars and be close to 2000kj (478 calories) per regular serve – about the same as a full meal.
But it’s not all doom and gloom for smoothies and fresh juices – meaning you shouldn’t consider these refreshments ever again. Fresh juices and smoothies can be a great tool for following a healthy diet, largely because they can serve as an efficient way to consume much-needed fruits and veggies, however provided they’re integrated as part of a balanced diet of lean protein and whole grains. But when it’s taken to the extreme of limiting your diet to strictly fluids for days, if not weeks – it not only fails to be the magic cure they’re cracked up to be; it can also do more harm than good.
Chew on this
Whilst it’s always preferable to chew whole fruit and vegetables, if you do decide to try a juice cleanse, (perhaps to break unhealthy eating habits), choosing a vegetable-based one is a sure-fire way to reduce the calorie and sugar content. As for smoothies, it all depends on how they are made. Stick to just 3 key ingredients, fro example fresh/frozen fruit, yoghurt/milk and flaxseed, along with choosing the smallest serving size and read the label carefully.
What do you prefer? A juice or smoothie?
Check out our green smoothie recipes in the 10-Days to a Healtheir You Reset Program