Nutrition Prize Fight:: Juicing vs. Smoothie Making

Juices vs. Smoothies

It’s the age old question.  Juices or smoothies?  I must get the same question at least once a day in my practice.

Die hard juicers claim that the nutrients are made immediately available to the body without having to digest the cellulose to get to those nutrients.  With movies like Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead showing how you can lose oodles of weight fast and detox from some really terrible autoimmune illnesses with lengthy juice fasts it’s no wonder Breville has had so much success the last few years. (My favorite juicer that is constantly running is the Omega Nutrition Center)  The fact is, juicing is a fantastic way to hydrate the body FAST and replenish essential vitamins (water soluble ones like B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, C, Folacin and Biotin) and trace minerals.  When embarking on a juice fast it might do you well to understand that without enough protein and fiber, detox symptoms are often really intense!  {See You… on a Juice Fast}

People in the smoothie camp will tell you that with smoothies you get all of the fiber in from the fruits and vegetables in a pre-digested state.  (They pretty much mean already chewed.)  The fiber is necessary to cleanse the colon and this is very important when dealing with chronic inflammation  and/or estrogen dominance.

So let’s talk turkey.  Which one, juicing or smoothie making, is better?  Well, my beauties, those of you who really know The Detox Diva know what I am going to say next.

Both.  They each have their place in a healthy eating plan.  They each fulfill different needs.

What’s the main difference between juicing and smoothie making?

A blender takes whole fruit and vegetables and macerates,liquefies and blends them into a smooth, creamy, thick and filling shake, equivalent to a meal. The juicer involves a liquid extractor and separates the juice from the pulp, so the outcome is a thin and liquidy drink, nutrient packed and more hydrating than filling. This leaves you with what to do with the pulp.  You can compost it, which is what I currently do, but I am trying to come up with ingenious ways of using it, so far, not notable enough to share with you.

The case for juicing

First, on a detox, though I don’t usually put my clients on strict juice fasts, preferring  juice to be a part of a detox, not the whole enchilada, I do promote juicing at least once during the day and often making enough to sip throughout the day.  Why?  Most people starting a detox have a variety of nutritional deficiencies.  By virtue of the sheer number of vegetables and fruits needed for juicing, there is a lot of nutrient density going on in fresh juice.  My detox followers are recommended to drink about 24 ounces (up to 64 depending on the type of detox) of fresh vegetable heavy juices a day to be able to flood their bodies with live enzymes , vitamins and minerals and, overall, quickly alkalize the body and give them the energy they need to get through the day without reaching for a soda or cup of coffee.   I don’t tell them to skip meals in lieu of juice though.

Notice I also said “vegetable heavy”.  I will explain.  Most people prefer the “sweet” taste.  We actually evolved to prefer “sweet” as, when we were hunters and gatherers, it was often what prevented us from picking berries or fruit that might kill us.  However, in the last 50 years, manufacturers have really capitalized on that and started putting more and more sugar into every product known to man. To add insult to injury, they created high fructose corn syrup, which is 50 times sweeter than sugar and causes the liver to want to run and hide from fructose overload (too much fructose makes you fat, people!).  It is not the only thing that caused our fat cells to mutate into super tankers of cellulite, but it IS a part of the problem.  A big part of the problem.  But I digress.

Because we have no idea how to love all the other tastes, bitter, astringent, pungent, sour, and salty (wait…we know how to love that one), we tend to overload our juices with apples, carrots, beets, and other fruits.  (Yes, carrots and beets count here because root vegetables contain more starch which convert to sugar in the body.) When that happens, it’s a big insulin rush and then, a bit later, a huge let down, especially when it’s all you are eating.  It’s AS BAD as eating a Snicker’s bar on your insulin.  Too much fruit is tough on the liver in general but as juice it is a veritable nightmare of cascading insulin which leads to chain reactions in a lot of other hormonal and chemical reactions in the body.  A little is good, healthy, balancing.  Fruit is always better than a candy bar but not so much when it comes to juice.

When a client firsts starts on juice they may add an apple, pear and slowly whittle down to half an apple, and half a pear or adding IN more greens until it might be just an apple or, even better, they are used to drinking the greens with no fruit.  {Try our Super Charged V-12 Veggie Juice} Fruit juices are good in moderation.

Whether they are drinking vegetable juices by themselves or with a little fruit, I always suggest that they not just “gulp” the juice down, rather sip slowly to garner real satisfaction from what they are drinking.

The case for smoothie making

I love my smoothies!  Even more than that, I love suggesting smoothies to my readers and clients because, let’s face it, most of us have little time to worry about making breakfast and smoothies are great ways to make sure we are starting the day on the right foot!  Tossing in a little fruit (because the fiber is still in the fruit, often you can be a bit more liberal in this area), some greens, maybe some almond or coconut milk, some hemp, chia, or flax seeds, even some flax oil or nut butter, and some maca root, sprouted barley, or other superfoods and you have a meal in a minute.  Vegetable and fruit prep is minimal especially if you are lucky enough to own a high speed blender like Vitamix or Blendtec because you don’t have to really chop much and both of these glorious blenders liquefy in no time.

While the ease of preparation is going to keep you able to follow a nutrition plan, the fiber in the smoothie is working overtime to clear, often what is years of sludge due to eating a Standard American (or even British) Diet (SAD) and precious little fiber, too much animal protein, and too much exposure to toxic chemical compounds (like estrogen from synthetic sources and not utlized by the body!!) all just laying in wait and causing all kinds of malabsorption issues.  You see, although on my programs you do eat food, I use the one-two punch of smoothies and juice making as well as food you can chew.  Smoothies and healthy foods are the brooms while providing essential nutrients, and the juices infuse the body with hydration and replenish trace minerals and vitamins.  Also, because there is fiber present from the fruits and veggies, and you are more able to include vegetable protein sources then detox symptoms can be slowed making a longer term detox possible.

I also suggest, as with juice, not chugging the smoothies down, rather “chewing” each bite.  This allows your body to feel more satisfied when “eating” a smoothie.

So you see, as with everything, I don’t like the question “which one is better?”  Both juicing and smoothie making have their places in a healthy eating plan and detox. I never got why it had to be an either/or proposition.  I don’t understand the partisan politics of nutrition in any case.  Juices or smoothies?  Smoothies or juices?

Can’t we all just get along?


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    • thedetoxdiva says

      You must stop chugging your juice! But hey, I can forgive YOU anything. If you are drinking juice…. I’m happy. :)

  1. revitalize says

    I recently did a nutritional cleanse that included great meal replacement shakes and released 30 pounds of impurities and toxins out of my body! Oh and 37 inches! Amazing, and delicious!

    I have been able to help people lose weight, lose inches, help athletes train for #Tough Mudder, new Moms lose those extra #baby weight and help people with joint pain. So glad I listened to someone 2 years ago. It has made my life more fulfilling. I sleep like a baby and
    have so much energy!

    Did you know that it would take 9 hours on the elliptical to burn a single pound of body fat – or 3500 calories!!

    CLEANSING your way to better health is a great way to go! 5-15 pounds of toxic fat gone in your first 9 days!

    • thedetoxdiva says

      To all my readers, I am going to allow this comment however, I do have to warn you….. Meal replacement shakes you don’t make yourself are considered processed! Isagenix contains casein and whey concentrates granted from New Zealand cows which are, for the most part, allowed to graze. (One reason why one would experience an energy boost is the casein concentrate which acts in the body as an opiate). If you are a vegan, lactose intolerant, or trying to use products with less than 5 ingredients to a package, whey protein inclusive packaged meal replacement shakes are not for you. I am not a huge fan of meal replacement shakes barring a very few I do like for short periods of time and even those are based on whole ingredients. (and I do reviews of them, tell you what is good and bad about them, and I do not make any money doing it!). Yes, the added protein can help you shed baby weight or any kind of weight and protein is needed for detox but you can easily create healthy shakes with WHOLE FOODS (my main issue with meal replacement shakes is they isolate absolutely everything!!!). Eventually you have to work on buying whole foods, learn to create smoothies, juices, real foods with them and stop looking for the MAGIC PILL for weight loss!

  2. Holly S. says

    Thanks for the great article. I have been curious about this. Question: If you don’t have a juicer, can you blend and strain? Also, does your V8 recipe use a juicer or blender?

    I came across some other articles online on what to do with the pulp (besides compost it). There is a wealth of recipes online for breads, vegetable broths, fruit leather (you can make in the stove if you don’t have a dehydrator), muffins, veggie burgers, crackers, pancakes, and the list goes on. Just Google ‘juicer pulp recipes’, and you’ll get a ton. I haven’t gotten a juicer yet (soon!) and I hate the idea of waste, so finding these makes me happy :)

    • thedetoxdiva says

      My V8 recipe uses a juicer but Holly you could absolutely do it as a smoothie and it would be delicious! I have done it like this. I have also done the blend and strain but it IS a little bit of a hassle, however, if I think about it, probably not as much as the juicer putting it together, cleaning it, etc….. Great idea on what to do with pulp though. I have to find one I don’t hate. I use a juicer that really squeezes the pulp, not a centrifugal, so the pulp I have is REALLY dry!

  3. says

    I love everything about my Vitamix blender–smoothies are quick, nutrient-dense, and delicious–and clean up is a breeze. The clean up thing is the main reason our juicer collects dust. One of the (many) great things about juicing/blending is that it’s FAST food without being, um, fast food.

  4. says

    Quick question – because of the sugar rush with juices, is it optimal to have a little food in your belly before juicing or is it fine on an empty stomach?
    Just got back from the gym and slowly drinking my juice mum. xo

    • thedetoxdiva says

      If you are doing a fruit heavy juice I would recommend eating a little peanut butter or another protein source with the juice. It will slow the absorption of the sugar. I would not advise eating anything grain based because it is just starch on starch. If you are doing a green juice that is more vegetable heavy and plan on eating a meal soon after (within a few hours) then you should be fine drinking it on its own. Ask your body how you feel. Do you get dizzy or light headed after you juice? Do you feel satisfied? Or do you want to eat the house after drinking a juice?

  5. says

    I’ve have always wanted to detox, I think I should get myself one of those juicers because I cannot rely on the juices sold at the grocery stores. They are not fresh and they contain high amount of acid too.

  6. says

    After I read somewhere that a whole lot of celebs swear by the power of smoothies, I started drinking them rather religiously as well- sure not at those hot spot high end health bars, but right at home, straight from the kitchen.

    Thanks for the infor!

    • thedetoxdiva says

      I’m not a lover of those high end juice bars because the smoothies are WAYYYYY to big and have WAYYY too many fruits in one sitting. Don’t mind the ones that offer a really good selection, mind you…but I don’t believe there is a lot of balance there.

  7. Bonnie PEABODY says

    I use Flax seed, Almonds, Cinnamon, Chia (presoked in Grape juice) in my smoothies, water
    with T of frozen orange juice, grated frozen ginger and whole lemon(about T of each) adding fruits such frozen blueberries, strawberries, pineapple. Seems to be enough nutrition to last all morning. Am having trouble finding your smoothies recipes. site takes me to everything else which is interesting, glad I found you.

    • thedetoxdiva says

      I wouldn’t be using flax seeds, almonds, or chia seeds or frozen orange juice (too high in cellulose and highly concentrated sugar). You won’t find my smoothie recipes because I don’t have many. I was illustrating the difference between juicing and smoothie making but coming to the winter, unless you are in a VERY hot climate, smoothies, especially cold ones, are not your best bet nutritionally. They are way too cooling. It’s best to go for strained orange juice with a dash of sea salt, no berries until they are in season again, pineapple if you can find ripe but eating it (with a little of the core too), and maybe some sauteed or stewed apple and pear with your cinnamon and a boost of protein with a raw milk cheese, yoghurt, or alongside of some eggs.

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