Which is healthier juicing or blending?

Juicing and blending have both become incredibly popular ways to increase fruit and vegetable intake. Proponents of juicing and blending claim that these methods allow you to consume more nutrients from produce than you could by simply eating whole fruits and vegetables.

This article reviews the differences between juicing and blending, including their health effects and nutrient contents. It also provides tips on choosing between the two.

What Is Juicing?

Juicing refers to extracting the nutritious fluid from fruits and vegetables. This is typically done by shredding the produce and then squeezing it through a juice press to separate the liquid from the solids.

The liquid is then consumed as a beverage, while the remaining pulp is discarded. Some modern juicers also separate the peel from the rest of the fruit.

Because juicing extracts the fluid from fruits and vegetables, it leaves behind most of the fiber. Juice contains most of the vitamins, minerals and plant chemicals (phytonutrients) found in the whole fruit or vegetable.

However, whole fruits and vegetables also contain fiber, which has many health benefits. For example, fiber may help prevent heart disease, diabetes, obesity and some types of cancer (1).

Juicing is often promoted as a quick way to take in a concentrated dose of nutrients from fruits and vegetables.

What Is Blending?

Blending refers to thoroughly mixing whole fruits and/or vegetables into smoothies or shakes.

To make a smoothie, whole fruits, vegetables and liquids like water or milk are blended together until smooth. All parts of the fruits and vegetables, including the fiber-rich peel and pulp, are included.

Blending allows you to consume the whole fruit or vegetable. This means you get all of the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber found naturally in produce.

Blending is promoted as an easy way to boost your fruit and vegetable intake and increase your fiber consumption.

Nutrition Comparison

Both juices and smoothies provide many vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant compounds from whole fruits and vegetables. However, there are some nutritional differences between the two beverages.

Nutrient Juicing Blending
Fiber Removed during juicing Retained in smoothies
Vitamins and minerals Most remain in juice All remain in smoothies
Plant chemicals Most remain in juice All remain in smoothies
Sugar content Higher in juice Lower in smoothies
Calories Fewer in juice More in smoothies

Fiber Content

One of the biggest differences between juicing and blending is fiber content. Since juicing extracts fluid from produce, the resulting juice contains very little fiber.

Blending keeps all parts of the whole fruit or vegetable, providing the complete fiber content.

Studies have found that there are significant health benefits associated with increasing your fiber intake. Eating more fiber may:

  • Lower your risk of heart disease
  • Reduce cholesterol levels
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduce blood sugar levels
  • Aid weight loss

Given the powerful health benefits of dietary fiber, blending may have an advantage over juicing.

Vitamins and Minerals

Juices and smoothies can both provide an abundance of vitamins and minerals. Both are good sources of important nutrients like vitamin C, folate and potassium.

Juice contains most of the vitamins and minerals of whole fruits and vegetables, but not all. Some nutrients are left behind in the pulp.

Blending retains the vitamins and minerals from the entire plant, including the skins and seeds. This provides a complete dose of nutrients.

Plant Compounds

Juices provide most of the antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds found in whole fruits and veggies. However, some may be lost during the juicing process.

Blending retains all of these beneficial plant compounds since you’re consuming the entire fruit or vegetable.

Sugar Content

Smoothies and juices are both high in natural sugars, but juices tend to contain more sugar per serving.

For example, one cup (240 ml) of tomato juice contains around 10 grams of sugar. A cup of blended tomato contains around 5 grams (2, 3).

Additionally, consuming blended fruits and vegetables tends to be more filling than drinking extracted juices. This may lead you to consume fewer calories overall (4).

Calorie Content

In general, smoothies are higher in calories than juices.

A 6-ounce (180-ml) glass of fruit juice may contain around 60–120 calories, while a smoothie of the same size provides around 160–400 calories, depending on ingredients.

The fiber in smoothies helps slow the emptying of your stomach, which contributes to feelings of fullness. This may prevent overeating and result in lower calorie intake over time (5).

Health Benefits

While both juicing and blending have health benefits, blending fruits and vegetables has been shown to have additional advantages.

Better Nutrient Absorption

Blending retains dietary fiber, which may improve the absorption of nutrients. Fiber slows digestion and the emptying of your stomach.

This steady drip of nutrients into your bloodstream may allow your body to fully absorb and utilize all the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants from the blended ingredients (6).

Lower Blood Sugar Levels

The fiber in smoothies can help maintain steady blood sugar levels by slowing absorption of sugar into your bloodstream (6).

In one study, blending fruit into smoothies reduced the rate of sugar absorption by up to 35% compared to drinking juice, or eating blended or whole fruit (7).

Increased Fiber Intake

Blending allows you to consume the entire fruit or vegetable, including the skin and seeds — both of which are excellent sources of fiber.

Fiber plays an important role in gut health. It also reduces constipation, which can improve daily regularity (8).

Lower Calories

The fiber in smoothies promotes fullness. By keeping you satisfied, smoothies may result in lower overall calorie intake (4, 9).

One study found that participants consumed fewer calories over 24 hours after drinking a smoothie, compared to apple juice or apple sauce (10).

Weight Loss

Smoothies’ fiber content and power to reduce calorie intake can promote weight loss. One large observational study associated consuming smoothies with lower body weight over a 10-year period (11).

Downsides of Juicing and Blending

While both juicing and blending have benefits, there are some downsides to these popular methods of increasing produce intake.

Potential Downsides of Juicing

Here are some potential downsides associated with juicing:

  • May significantly reduce fiber intake, depending on how much juice you drink
  • Less filling than solid foods
  • Potential for excess calorie intake if large amounts of juice are consumed
  • Oxidation may decrease juice’s antioxidant content
  • Nutrients are absorbed into your bloodstream quickly, which may be problematic for diabetics
  • Eating whole fruits and vegetables is more economical and environmentally friendly

Potential Downsides of Blending

Here are some potential downsides associated with blending:

  • Can be time consuming and cumbersome to blend large amounts of produce
  • Consistency, taste and texture of smoothies may not appeal to everyone
  • Fresh produce goes bad quickly, so ingredients need to be purchased frequently
  • Can be expensive if purchasing pre-made smoothies or produce out of season
  • Requires purchase of blender or juicer

Which Is Better for Weight Loss?

Both juices and smoothies can aid weight loss — but smoothies may have a slight edge.

The fiber in smoothies helps keep you feeling full. By reducing hunger and decreasing calorie intake, smoothies can promote weight loss over time.

However, their blend of fiber, vitamins, minerals and plant compounds may make smoothies a healthier beverage for most people.

How to Choose Between Juicing and Blending

Ultimately, choosing between juicing and blending depends on your health goals and lifestyle.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when deciding between juicing and blending:

  • If you’re concerned about fiber intake or nutrient absorption, blending may be a better option.
  • If you want to minimize sugar content and calories, opt for blending over juicing.
  • Juicing requires fruits and veggies to be used quickly before oxidation. Blending retains nutrients longer.
  • Juicing is quicker and easier for on-the-go nutrition, while blending takes more time.
  • If you’re conducting a juice cleanse, juicing is necessary. For daily nutrition, blending is more sustainable.
  • Your digestive system health determines if you should blend or juice. Those with absorption issues may do better juicing.

The Bottom Line

Both juicing and blending make it easier to increase your daily intake of fruits and vegetables. With either method, moderation is key.

Smoothies are higher in fiber, vitamins and minerals than juice. The fiber promotes nutrient absorption, gut health and feelings of fullness. For most people, blending may be the healthier choice.

However, both juices and smoothies can be part of a healthy, well-balanced diet when consumed in moderation alongside whole fruits and vegetables.

At the end of the day, the optimal choice depends on your health goals, lifestyle and personal preferences.

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