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Are juices or smoothies better for weight loss?

Losing weight can be a challenge for many people. While diet and exercise are key, some people turn to juicing or making smoothies as a way to reduce calorie intake while still getting important nutrients. But when it comes to weight loss, is drinking your fruits and veggies better than eating them? Here’s a detailed comparison of the pros and cons of juices versus smoothies for weight loss.

Calorie content

One of the main factors when it comes to weight loss is overall calorie intake. Consuming fewer calories than you burn leads to weight loss over time. So how do juices and smoothies compare calorie-wise?

Beverage Calories (per 8 oz serving)
Orange juice 112
Apple juice 114
Carrot juice 92
Tomato juice 41
Fruit and vegetable juice blends 80-140
Fruit smoothies 100-300
Green smoothies 100-200

As you can see, juices tend to be lower in calories than smoothies. Fruit and vegetable juices range from around 40-140 calories per 8 oz serving, while smoothies are generally 100 calories or more. The fiber content of smoothies means they tend to be thicker and more calorie-dense than juices.

Fiber content

Fiber is an important nutrient that can aid weight loss. It helps you feel fuller for longer, slowing the emptying of the stomach to suppress appetite. Fiber may also influence hormones related to food intake.

Juicing typically removes most of the fiber from fruits and veggies. The straining process leaves only the liquid fruit/veggie juice behind. Smoothies, on the other hand, retain most of the fiber since you’re blending the whole produce.

Beverage Fiber (per 8 oz serving)
Orange juice 0.5 grams
Carrot juice 1 gram
Tomato juice 1 gram
Fruit and veggie juice blends 0-3 grams
Fruit smoothies 2-5 grams
Green smoothies 2-7 grams

Smoothies offer a fiber advantage over juices. The increased fiber can help you feel fuller compared to drinking juice alone.

Nutrient content

Fruits and vegetables provide an array of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. These nutrients are important for health, though their direct impacts on weight can vary.

Juicing removes some nutrients, especially water-soluble vitamins like vitamin C and the B vitamins. Still, juice retains beneficial plant compounds like carotenoids found in carrots and lycopene from tomatoes. Most minerals make it into the final juice product too.

Smoothies retain more nutrients since you’re consuming the whole produce. The blending breaks down plant cell walls to help release beneficial compounds. So smoothies may have an edge when it comes to nutrient content.

Protein content

Protein is satiating, meaning it helps you feel fuller for longer after eating. Higher protein diets can aid weight loss by reducing appetite and calorie intake.

Juices are generally low in protein, whereas smoothies allow you to add protein-rich ingredients like Greek yogurt, milk, peanut butter, protein powder, etc. This gives smoothies a definite protein advantage over juices.

Beverage Protein (per 8 oz serving)
Orange juice 1 gram
Carrot juice 2 grams
Tomato juice 2 grams
Fruit juice blends 0-3 grams
Veggie juice blends 2-5 grams
Fruit smoothies 5-10 grams
Green smoothies 10-15 grams


How filling a food or drink is matters when it comes to weight loss. Beverages that are more satiating can curb appetite and reduce overall calorie intake.

Smoothies tend to be more filling than juices. The fiber and protein in smoothies provide more satiety per calorie compared to juices. With juices, it’s also easy to quickly consume a large serving of calories.

In one study, overweight adults reported feeling fuller and more satiated after drinking a smoothie compared to drinking juice or water. The smoothie had more protein and fiber, which likely contributed to the increased satiety.

Research has shown smoothies can help reduce appetite and food intake, though results have been mixed. More studies are needed comparing the satiating effects of juices versus smoothies.

Blood sugar impact

The glycemic index (GI) measures how quickly foods raise blood sugar levels. Lower GI foods may aid weight loss by helping control appetite and hunger.

Juices made from fruits tend to have higher GIs, while adding vegetables can lower the GI somewhat. Smoothies also contain fiber that helps slow the digestion and absorption of sugars.

One study found that a green vegetable smoothie resulted in a lower blood sugar response compared to drinking soda. The smoothie had a beneficial effect on appetite regulation too.

Overall, smoothies tend to have a lower glycemic impact than fruit juices. But adding too many high-sugar fruits to smoothies can still cause a spike in blood sugar.

Micronutrient absorption

How well your body absorbs and utilizes vitamins and minerals may also factor into weight loss. Optimizing nutrient absorption ensures you get the most out of the produce you’re consuming.

The mechanical force from blending and grinding in smoothies helps break down plant cell walls. This may enhance the bioaccessibility of carotenoids and other compounds. Basically, blending fruits and veggies could increase the amount of nutrients your body can actually use.

Juicing, on the other hand, removes fiber that can interfere with the absorption of some nutrients. Juices may therefore provide more available nutrients and an immediate vitamin/mineral boost.

Both juicing and blending make nutrients more bioaccessible compared to eating whole produce. But juices could have an edge when it comes to micronutrient absorption due to lack of fiber.

Meal replacement

Replacing meals with low-calorie beverages is a popular weight loss strategy. This technique helps reduce overall calorie intake, which is key for weight loss.

Juices tend to be lower in calories than smoothies, but lack the fiber and protein that helps keep you feeling full. Juice-based diets can leave you feeling hungry, eventually leading to overeating.

Smoothies are generally more satisfying meal replacements. Making a smoothie with protein, healthy fats, and fiber creates a balanced, nutrient-rich meal in a glass.

One study compared meal replacement shakes and smoothies for weight loss. After 6 months, people drinking smoothies lost 7.8 pounds (3.5 kg) more on average than the shake group.

For meal replacement and weight loss, smoothies seem to be a better option than juices.


Proper hydration is important for overall health and can also impact weight loss efforts. Drinking sufficient fluids keeps you energized and supports physical activity needed to burn calories.

Juices and smoothies both provide fluid, but the fiber and pulp in smoothies add thickness, reducing how hydrating they are by volume. Separating produce into juice form maximizes hydration potential.

One study gave participants the same blended snack as either juice or smoothie. The juice resulted in greater fluid retention compared to the thicker smoothie.

Juices tend to be more hydrating than smoothies ounce for ounce. So juices may be preferable if hydration for exercise performance is a priority.

Long-term compliance

The best diet for weight loss is one you can follow long-term. If a juice or smoothie plan is too hard to sustain, you’re less likely to stick with it.

Produce-based smoothies are generally more versatile than juices, allowing endless healthy combinations. Adding protein, nuts, seeds, nut butters, etc. creates a hearty, tasty meal replacement.

Juice-based diets can get repetitive with limited variety. And drinking produce juice alone may leave you unsatisfied. Follow-through tends to be higher with smoothie diets compared to juice cleanses.

Nutrient density

Nutrient density refers to the amount of beneficial nutrients in a food or beverage relative to the calories/energy it provides. Nutrient-dense options maximize nutrition while minimizing calorie intake.

Both juices and smoothies condense produce into liquid form, increasing nutrient density. But since smoothies retain more fiber and nutrients, they tend to be higher in overall nutritional value.

A 2020 study evaluated and compared the nutrient density of juices versus fruit and vegetable smoothies. The analysis found that smoothies had greater nutrient density and provided more beneficial nutrients per calorie than juices.

Whole foods

Some diets emphasize “whole” or minimally processed foods as the most nutritious options. From that standpoint, consuming produce in smoothie rather than juice form is preferable.

Blending keeps all parts of the ingredient intact, just broken down into smaller particles. Meanwhile juicing extracts nutrients while removing the original food structure.

If your diet philosophy emphasizes whole foods, then smoothies align better with retaining produce in its complete form.


Both juicing and making smoothies require some investment in equipment like a good blender or juice extractor. Costs per serving depend on the price of fresh produce in your area.

In general, juices may have a slight edge cost-wise over smoothies. Using veggies like carrots for natural sweetness allows creating juice blends without relying solely on expensive fruits.

Smoothies often include pricier ingredients like berries, bananas, nut butters, and protein powders. So the per-serving cost of green and fruit smoothies tends to be higher, especially if using organic produce.

Potential downsides

While juices and smoothies have benefits for weight loss, they may have some drawbacks as well.

Fiber from whole fruits and veggies triggers the brain to feel full. Removing fiber by juicing may disrupt normal appetite signals and increase calorie intake from other foods.

The concentrated sugars in juices can also spike blood sugar levels, especially in blends high in fruit juice. This may negatively impact weight loss for those with diabetes or metabolic disease.

Smoothies retain more nutrients and fiber, but can still be high in calories if large amounts of fruit are used. Some pre-made fruit smoothies at coffee shops are essentially liquified desserts.

Both juices and smoothies make it easy to consume a lot of fruit. Too much fructose from added sugars has been linked to increased belly fat and other health risks.

Juices and smoothies shouldn’t replace eating whole vegetables and fruits. But enjoying them in moderation can add beneficial nutrients to your diet and may support weight loss efforts.


When it comes to juices vs. smoothies for weight loss, smoothies tend to come out on top.

Smoothies are lower calorie than juices, and the addition of fiber and protein gives them a satiety advantage. They help regulate appetite and food intake better than juices.

Smoothies are also more nutrient dense, hydrating, customizable, and may fit better into an overall healthy dietary pattern emphasizing whole foods.

However, juices are still a better option than sodas or other sugary beverages. Having vegetable juice instead of an unhealthy snack can help reduce calorie intake. Just avoid fruit juice-only regimens.

Including either juices or smoothies as part of a balanced diet and active lifestyle can aid weight loss. Focus on creating combinations with more veggies than fruits, and adding extras like chia seeds or Greek yogurt to smoothies.

Drinking juice or having a smoothie alone won’t magically make you lose weight if the rest of your diet is poor. But they can be useful tools to increase intake of beneficial nutrients and support an overall healthy lifestyle.