People are talking about juicing, about rebooting, about smoothies and meal replacements and liquid diets. But juices and smoothies aren’t the same, and shouldn’t be thought of as the same. If you’re looking to eat healthier, or lose weight, or reboot your digestive system, you might end up asking yourself the question whether to smoothie or to juice. In reality, there are advantages and disadvantages to both.
Technically, if you really wanted to you could mix and match. But in the interest of telling you which is better when, here’s an outline of the pros and cons of juicing and going smoothie!
Juicing is the best quick-release of energy, with concentrated natural sugars. Juices are the easiest to absorb, moving quickly through your system. In delicate terms, once you start a “reboot,” you will notice the effects pretty fast (ahem…be sure your toilet paper is stocked). Juices also have significantly fewer calories than smoothies; for flushes and reboots, they are highly efficient.
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Be aware that the most beneficial juices are not the ones you buy in stores. Juicing your own fruits and veggies will always be superior to buying from the supermarket; even the healthiest store options will have preservatives, usually in the form of added sugar. If a bottle advertises being “all natural,” but was made anywhere outside your state, rest assured that there is stuff in there besides the juice so it could ship without going bad.
If you’re a little picky, especially about your veggies, juicing is a fabulous way to get good servings of the stuff you otherwise aren’t into. Juicing is also a great way to get services of fruits and vegetables at the same time.
Juicing fundamentally removes the fiber from fruits and veggies (you see it as the mushy pulp left when you juice). This makes juices easy to digest, but it also means that for anyone who likes getting that fiber in their fruit and vegetable intake, juices will not do the trick.
Smoothies are the fruit with the pulp—that is, the fiber you remove from juices sticks around in a smoothie. As vessels of fiber, smoothies work their way much slower through the digestive tract. And with their thicker texture, they are almost always mixed with whole foods like yogurt or nuts. With a much greater diversity of ingredients, plus the slower digestion, filling up on smoothies will bring a higher nutrient punch than any juice.
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The ingredients you can pack into a smoothie are virtually endless. For smoothie fanatics, one of the best aspects of making these whole-food beverages is how fun and easy it is to experiment. You can throw extra ingredients in just to see what you like best—almond butter, chia or flax seeds, yogurt or even spices. Health powders can also be thrown in, like protein mix and powdered peanut butter.
Fruits and vegetables all naturally have protein in them, but with the powders you can mix into smoothies, the drink quickly becomes a full meal. When it comes to calorie and nutrition content, smoothies are absolutely a meal replacement. If you want to use them to boost macronutrients after a workout or to try and lose weight, remember that they are jam packed with calories. They’re also packed with so many of the nutrients you need that you really don’t need a meal after drinking one.
There are two dangers you run with smoothies. First, if you lose track of the “meal value” of smoothies and start drinking them alongside other foods, you will not be getting the full benefits if you’re trying to slim down. Second, if you start adding too many calorie or sugar-rich foods, you might not be getting as many serving of fruits and veggies as you could be.
How to decide:
If you are trying to reboot or flush, juices are the way to go, but only for short periods of time. This is primarily because of how easily digested they are. In short time, you will feel and see the effects of totally emptying out your system and starting fresh. Juicing to reboot is not recommended for longer periods, however, because without whole-food ingredients you will miss key nutrients.
As a meal replacement, or as a means of getting key nutrition in conjunction with a fitness plan, smoothies are the way to go. With whole-food ingredients and the potential to carry tons of protein along with healthy carbs and tons of fiber, you can keep your system happy and carry on sipping smoothies for a longer period of time.
Really, as long as you are juicing or going smoothie, you are doing a good thing for your body. The servings of fruits and veggies you can pack into each are far more than most of us consume in a day, and also include produce that we wouldn’t normally buy otherwise. Choose your path, take the plunge, and experience the joys of mixing and matching your very own smoothies and juices.