Juicing has become an increasingly popular way for health-conscious individuals to get more fruits and vegetables into their diets. With the rise of cold-pressed juice bars and home juicing machines, many people are ditching blenders in favor of juicers. But what exactly is the difference between juicing and blending, and why might you want to choose a juicer over a blender?
How juicers work
Juicers extract the liquid contents of fruits and vegetables, leaving behind the solid fiber. They do this through a couple different methods:
- Centrifugal juicers grind up produce using a high-speed spinning metal blade. The juice gets separated from the pulp through centrifugal force.
- Masticating juicers crush fruits and veggies into a pulp using augers (screw-shaped blades). The pulp gets pressed against a screen to extract the juice.
- Triturating juicers have twin augers that allow for even more efficient juicing than single augers.
In all types of juicers, the resulting juice contains most of the vitamins, minerals, and plant nutrients with little to no fiber. The leftover pulp is very dry and often discarded.
How blenders work
Blenders chop and purée whole fruits, vegetables, and other ingredients to make smoothies and blended drinks. They don’t separate the juice from the pulp. All blenders have a motorized base with different speed settings. The container holds blades that finely chop up whatever you put into it. From budget models to high-powered blenders, they all work to combine everything into a smooth, drinkable consistency.
The resulting smoothie contains all the fiber and pulp from the ingredients. Many people find blended drinks to be more filling and satisfying than juice.
One of the biggest differences between juicing and blending is nutrition. Let’s compare the nutritional value of a 12 oz serving of homemade orange juice and orange smoothie:
|Nutrient||Orange juice (juiced)||Orange smoothie (blended)|
|Vitamin C||124mg (207% DV)||106mg (177% DV)|
As you can see, juicing removes most of the fiber from the orange, concentrating the sugars and vitamins. Blending keeps the pulp, so it has more fiber. While juicing gives you an easy way to ingest a lot of produce quickly, blending delivers the complete nutritional package by retaining everything in the whole food.
One of the biggest downsides of juicing is that it strips out soluble fiber from fruits and vegetables. Fiber provides many health benefits, including:
- Improving digestive health
- Lowering cholesterol
- Stabilizing blood sugar levels
- Aiding weight loss
Without fiber, juice spikes your blood sugar quickly as the sugars enter your bloodstream rapidly. The resulting energy crash can leave you feeling tired and hungry again soon after drinking juice. The fiber in whole blended produce slows down digestion, leading to a more gradual rise in blood sugar for steady energy.
Due to the lack of fiber, juice contains more sugar ounce-for-ounce than blended smoothies. Here is the sugar content of 8 oz of some common homemade juices versus smoothies:
|Beverage||Juice Sugar (g)||Smoothie Sugar (g)|
While fruit and veggie drinks still contain natural sugars, the higher concentration in juice can be a problem for people watching their sugar intake due to diabetes, candida, or weight management goals. For a lower glycemic beverage, blending may be a better choice.
Smoothies made in a blender tend to be more filling than juice. With the fiber intact, blended drinks take longer to digest and provide satiety. This makes them better meal replacements than juice.
One study tested hunger and fullness levels in obese adults after consuming vegetable juice or vegetable soup. While both liquids provided nutrients, the soup was significantly more satiating due to the fiber and blended consistency.
Juice goes through your stomach quickly, which can leave you feeling hungry again soon after. Smoothies blended with protein sources like Greek yogurt, nut butter, and protein powder can help sustain energy levels for hours.
Juicing makes nutrients from produce more bioavailable, meaning your body can absorb and utilize them better. The act of juicing breaks down cell walls, releasing enzymes and antioxidants. However, the increase in absorption may not make up for the lost nutrition from discarded fiber. Blending keeps all of the essential vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals intact.
Many people start juicing to lose weight. While replacing higher calorie beverages with juice can help, drinking only juice for extended periods is not sustainable or necessarily healthy. Juice diets may lead to initial rapid weight loss, but it is mostly water weight that is quickly regained when you resume normal eating. Blending is a healthier approach for long-term weight management.
Because they are lower in sugar and more nutrient-dense than juice, smoothies can be incorporated into a balanced diet for gradual fat loss. Filling fiber-rich blends may reduce appetite and food intake throughout the day. But no single food or drink can achieve weight loss on its own. The key is an overall healthy diet and active lifestyle.
Juicing requires some extra equipment and prep work that blenders don’t need. Here is a comparison of the convenience factors:
|Clean-up||More parts to rinse||Usually one container|
|Prep work||Produce needs to be chopped small||Can blend larger pieces|
|Storage||Juice oxidizes quickly||Smoothies store for longer|
|Time||Juicing takes more time||Blending is quick|
|Noise||Juicers can be loud||Blenders have sound dampening|
For busy people who want the fastest, easiest way to make a nourishing beverage, a quality blender beats juicing in convenience.
Blenders tend to cost less than juicers. Here are some examples of popular models and their price points:
|Entry-level||$50 – $100||$25 – $50|
|Mid-range||$150 – $300||$100 – $150|
|High-performance||$300 – $400||$300 – $600|
While blenders and juicers have overlapping price ranges on the premium end, someone looking for an affordable model on a budget can get a decent blender for much less. The exception is a centrifugal juicer, but those come with drawbacks of being noisy and producing lower juice yields.
Blenders offer more versatility in the kitchen. While juicers are limited to producing juice, blenders can make smoothies, shakes, dressings, dips, nut butters, batter, soups, and more. With just one appliance, you maximize your ability to blend up healthy homemade meals and snacks.
Blenders like Vitamix are built to handle tougher ingredients that juicers can’t process, such as ice, frozen fruits, nut butters, and leafy greens. The best blenders have the power and capacity to create any type of blended recipe you want.
While juicers excel at extracting nutrients from produce, they strip out valuable fiber. Blending retains the whole food profile of ingredients for complete nutrition. Smoothies also offer more satiety and a steadier energy supply compared to juice.
Blenders are typically more affordable, convenient, versatile in the kitchen, and better suited for weight management goals. With the flexibility to make juices along with many other recipes, a high-powered blender is usually a smarter investment than a juicer.
The bottom line is juicing and blending both have health benefits. Including nutrient-dense blended and juiced drinks as part of a healthy diet can help you get in more servings of fruits and veggies. But for the average person looking to add more of these beneficial beverages, a quality blender usually makes the most sense.