Smoothies and juices are both popular ways to increase your intake of fruits and vegetables. But is one better than the other when it comes to health benefits? Here is an in-depth comparison of smoothies versus juicing.
When making a smoothie, the entire fruit or vegetable is used, including the fiber-rich peel and pulp. This means smoothies retain most of the vitamins, minerals and plant compounds found in whole produce. On the other hand, juicing removes the peel and pulp, stripping away much of the fiber and some nutrients.
For example, one study found that smoothies retained 2-3 times more beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin compared to juices made from the same produce (1). Another study showed that smoothies had significantly more antioxidant capacity and phenols than juices (2).
Smoothies also contain protein from ingredients like milk, yogurt and protein powder. Protein helps keep you full and enhances the absorption of some nutrients (3).
That being said, both smoothies and juices can be nutrient-dense ways to get your daily intake of fruits and veggies. However, smoothies tend to be higher in fiber and protein.
Fiber is an important nutrient that has many health benefits. It promotes regularity, gut health and weight maintenance (4).
Since juicing removes pulp and peel, it eliminates most of the fiber naturally present in fruits and veggies. In contrast, smoothies retain the fiber content of whole produce.
One study analyzed the fiber content of juices and smoothies made from various combinations of fruits and vegetables. The juices provided 0–1 grams of fiber per serving, while smoothies supplied 2–5 grams.
The table below compares the fiber content of common smoothies versus juices (5):
|Fiber per 12 oz (360 ml) Serving
Smoothies have 3–8 times more fiber than juices, providing a more filling, gut-healthy beverage.
Blood Sugar Effects
What you drink can significantly impact blood sugar levels. Given the high fiber and protein content of smoothies, they tend to have a relatively low glycemic index.
The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly foods raise blood sugar. Low glycemic foods prevent spikes and crashes, promoting steady energy levels (6).
One study gave subjects the same drink in either smoothie or juice form. The smoothie resulted in a slower rise in blood sugar and insulin compared to the juice (7).
Another study compared glucose and insulin responses after consuming smoothies versus juices made from carrots, apples, berries and beets. The smoothies caused lower spikes in both glucose and insulin compared to the juices (8).
Though both smoothies and juices contain natural sugars, smoothies tend to have a lower glycemic index, preventing energy crashes and surges in blood sugar.
Smoothies are much more filling than juices. This is because smoothies retain fiber and protein that juices lack.
Protein is the most filling macronutrient. One study gave subjects the same drink in either juice or smoothie form. The smoothie version resulted in decreased hunger and greater feelings of fullness than the juice (9).
Another study looked at how smoothies made from whole fruits affected satiety compared to juices. Though both beverages contained the same amount of calories and carbs, the smoothies were more filling (10).
Research shows that increased fiber intake can boost satiety and decrease appetite. This may explain why smoothies are more satisfying (11).
Overall, smoothies keep you full for longer than juices due to their fiber, protein and thicker texture.
Since smoothies are more nutrient-dense, satiating and lower in calories than juices, they can be a better choice when trying to lose weight.
One six-week study replaced meals with smoothies or juices in adults at risk of type 2 diabetes. Only the smoothie group experienced decreased body fat, likely due to the smoothies’ protein content (12).
In another weight loss study, subjects who drank smoothies lost 56% more body fat than the control group and lost 2 more pounds (3.5 kg) over a six-month period (13).
What’s more, fruits and vegetables tend to have a low energy density. This means they provide few calories relative to their size. Leaving the peel and pulp intact like in smoothies further increases the volume and satiety value.
Juices lack protein, fiber and bite. This absence of chewing and the rapid absorption of liquid calories can lead to increased hunger and poor appetite control (14).
For weight management, smoothies tend to be a better choice than juices.
Smoothies made at home are much cheaper than store-bought varieties. Homemade smoothies can cost under $3 per 24-ounce serving compared to $4–$12 from restaurants and juice bars.
However, juices are generally cheaper than smoothies, given their lower produce requirements. Expect to pay about $2–$5 for 24 ounces of fresh-pressed juice.
Here is a cost comparison of making green smoothies versus juices at home for one week:
|Average Cost for 1 Week
Juices require 2–3 times fewer ingredients than smoothies made from whole fruits and veggies. While juices are cheaper to make, you miss out on the many health benefits of smoothies.
Juices are quicker to make than smoothies. Blending whole fruits and veggies into smoothies takes effort and time, especially if using a low-powered blender.
Expect juicing to take just 1–2 minutes to yield 24 ounces. For smoothies, plan on 3–5 minutes from start to finish.
Juicing requires minimal prep work like washing and rough chopping produce. Smoothies need more prep time peeling, seeding, slicing and properly cutting ingredients to aid the blending process.
The bottom line is that juices take half the time to prepare compared to smoothies.
Smoothies are a healthier choice than juices for most people. They retain more beneficial nutrients, fiber, protein and plant compounds. Smoothies promote satiety, steady energy levels and weight management.
However, juices take less time and effort to make and involve less produce and expense. Ultimately, it depends on your health goals as to which one is superior.
Including both smoothies and juices as part of a healthy diet can ensure you reap the unique benefits of each.