Smoothie blending versus juicing? I get asked this question all the time!
What’s the difference? In smoothies, all the ingredients are blended up including all the insoluble fibre. In juices, the insoluble fibre is removed, so all you’re left with is… well, the liquid part, or the juice! Here are some of the pros and cons of both:
Smoothie - Pros:
Fibre is included
Since you’re blending up the whole food, you’re eating it as nature intended including all soluble and insoluble fibre. You’re getting all the bits that are necessary for good bowel function. Yup, the insoluble fibre helps keep you regular, binds estrogen metabolites to help them get excreted, and is an important part of your detoxification processes.
Stabilises blood-sugar levels/ Keeps you fuller for longer
Because you have the bulk of fibre included, it takes longer to digest which keeps you fuller for longer, helping to stabilise blood-sugar levels. You don’t get a sudden spike in energy levels and then crash later.
Efficient way to increase your daily veggie + fruit intake
I recommend including more veggies than fruit in your smoothies (approximately 2 portions greens, 1 portion fruit), which automagically gives you around 3 portions of your daily veggie and fruit intake in one hit. Most clients I see don’t have enough vegetables at every meal and find it hard to include veggies especially at breakfast - a green smoothie is an easy, efficient way around this.
Pimp your smoothie to boost nutritional content
It’s easy to boost the nutritional content of your smoothies by pimping it up: super foods, green powders, protein powders, nuts and seeds, antioxidants like cacao nibs or powder, acai, or probiotic powders.
Many people who are already taking loads of supplements or medications and don’t want yet another supplement pill to pop find it much easier to “drink their nutrients” with their smoothies.
Smoothie - Cons:
Not suitable for hypothyroid conditions
Anyone with low thyroid function/ hypothyroidism/ Hashimoto’s disease shouldn’t be doing any green smoothies. Raw cruciferous vegetables are goitrogenic - meaning they decrease thyroid function, which can further impact an already low-functioning thyroid.
The goitrogenic effects of raw cruciferous greens are reversed when they’re lightly steamed/ cooked, but I’m not sure how tasty a lightly steamed veggie smoothie will be!
Depending on what you’re adding to your smoothies, if you’re drinking your greens alongside eating a meal at the same time (instead of having it as your meal), you could be having more calories in one hit and overeating. Of course, this is dependent on what else you’re eating the rest of the day and what the rest of your health goals are, but it’s important to keep this in mind too.
Juice - Pros:
Big nutritional hit in one serving
With juicing, you can add a huge amount of nutrients into one glass of juice - eg. it’s possible to get more vitamin C from 10 oranges in one glass of juice, whereas it’d be hard to eat 10 oranges or even drink 10 oranges blended up to get the same amount of vitamin C.
Good for therapeutic use when needing high amounts of antioxidants
For this reason, juicing is used a lot in therapies where a high amount of nutrients is required (more so than any person could eat in one sitting). Many cancer therapies like the Gerson method incorporate up to 20 glasses of fresh green juices as part of their protocol as it would be impossible to eat the equivalent amount in fresh fruit and veggies.
Good if digestive function is impaired - easily absorbed
Since there’s no insoluble fibre to work through, juices are highly absorbable. If there’s any digestive function impairment eg. intestinal permeability or gut lining destruction from any kind of inflammatory bowel conditions which makes it harder to digest and absorb nutrients from food, juices can provide an easier way to absorb nutrients quickly.
Juice - Cons:
Fibre is not included, spikes blood-sugar levels
As there’s no insoluble fibre included in juices, the opposite effect from smoothies happens here: your blood-sugar levels spike suddenly, which can lead to the energy crash soon after. If you’re stressed out and often have food cravings throughout the day, this may be an indication that your blood-sugar levels need more stabilisation throughout the day, and juices may not be the best thing for you, no matter how green/ less fruit they contain.
As most of us live busy lives and struggle with some form of stress/ adrenal fatigue, I believe blending a smoothie with fibres in it is more beneficial than juicing for the average person. Plus - it’s better for gut health! :)