Juicing and blending share many similarities, but there are also a couple of key differences that will help decide between the two.
The difference between juicing and blending comes down to what a person will be using the drink for, and what is included or left out of the end product.
Benefits of juicing
The main benefits of juicing come from its ability to remove other parts of the plants that may slow down the body’s access to vitamins and nutrients.
By removing some of the fibers and most solid matter with a juicer, a person can have a larger amount of these vitamins and nutrients in similar portion size.
For example, a study posted to Preventative Nutrition and Food Science notes that ascorbic acid, which is a water-soluble form of vitamin C, is found in much higher levels in juices such as apple juice, as it comes out with the juice.
Additionally, these nutrients are much easier for the body to break down and absorb. It may help to think of juicing as a concentration or supplement from the plants.
Juicing also allows the digestive system to take a break from digesting solid foods, while still providing key nutrients to the body.
Benefits of blending
Blending helps to essentially liquefy solid foods. Blended fruits or vegetables are still the whole foods, and keep all of their natural fibers.
The process does break the foods down into very small pieces, which may also help make some foods easier to digest.
The process itself may also increase the availability of compounds in the fibers as well. For instance, a study posted to Journal of Food Science found that blended grapefruit had higher levels of some antioxidants compared to juiced grapefruits, which suggests these antioxidants also came from the fibrous pulp.
Blending also allows a person to add other ingredients such as proteins and other powders, which may make it a hearty snack or small meal.
In this way, a smoothie may keep the body more full for longer periods of time.
Cons of juicing
There are two predominant cons to juicing, mainly the loss of insoluble fiber and the high sugar in some juices.
Some juices contain a lot of natural sugars. A review posted to Nutrients notes that some fruit juices have as much sugar as sugar-sweetened beverages such as soda!
In their full fruit or vegetable form, the insoluble fibers help slow the digestion of these sugars and decrease insulin spikes and blood sugar levels.
Without this fiber, these sugars act rapidly in the blood to raise blood sugar and insulin levels, which may not be healthy for people with some conditions such as diabetes.
Additionally, the type of juicer a person uses makes a big difference.
Centrifugal blenders create heat, as they speed up and use friction to press the juice from the plant. This heat can actually destroy many of the natural enzymes and some more delicate nutrients in the plants. Aim for a cold-pressed or masticating juicer, which does not produce as much heat and helps preserve nutrients in the plant.
Cons of blending
Blending does not extract the juice and the nutrients within in the same way juicing does. Instead, it simply grinds up whole fruits and vegetables. Because of this, it may be a less targeted way to eat foods.
With juicing, a person is looking to get a concentration of the nutrients within the food into their body. On the other hand, blended foods do not have this same easy access and availability of nutrients.
Again, the type of blender a person uses can also be a con. Cheaper blenders may have low horsepower or poor design, leaving the smoothie full of chunks. Higher horsepower blenders may ensure a truly smooth drink.
Which is better?
In reality, choosing between juicing and blending is not entirely necessary. Both have important benefits and can play a vital role in most diets.
Both help people reach the daily recommended values for fruits and vegetables. This is important, as the CDC estimates that only about 10% of adults get enough fruits or vegetables in their diet! Both juicing and blending can help increase this intake.
Juicing allows for quick absorption of concentrated vitamins and nutrients in food, but it takes out the healthy fiber from the plant.
Blending keeps the insoluble fiber, and any added ingredients may help a person stay more full for longer periods compared to juicing, but does not allow for as many available nutrients.
Keep in mind that both juicing and blending are supplements to a healthy diet. It is still important to eat a diet rich in vegetables and fruits, and juices and smoothies should not be the only source of these foods in the diet.
The better choice between juicing and blending will vary based on the wants and needs of each person.
Both juicing and blending have their uses. For people who want quick, absorbable nutrients, juicing is the way to go. For those who want a more energy-rich drink to keep them full and help with digestion, choose to blend.
Juicing and blending are both great ways to add vegetables and fruits into the diet.
Only 1 in 10 adults get enough fruits or vegetables. (2017). https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2017/p1116-fruit-vegetable-consumption.html
Pepin, A., Stanhope, K. L., & Imbeault, P. (2019). Are fruit juices healthier than sugar-sweetened beverages? A review. https://www.nci.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6566863/
Pyo, Y. H., et al. (2014). Comparison of the effects of blending and juicing on the phytochemicals contents and antioxidant capacity of typical Korean kernel fruit juices. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4103735/
Uckoo, R. M., et al. (2012). Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi Macfad) phytochemicals composition is modulated by household processing techniques. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1750-3841.2012.02865.x