Recently, juicing has become a staple in celebrity diets and those looking to lose weight. But what ever happened to the good old-fashioned smoothie?
Juices vs. Smoothies: which is more nutritious?
Smoothies provide more nutrients because the vitamin-packed, fibrous pulp and skin hasn’t been removed. A smoothie for a snack or as an addition to a meal can provide a great number of beneficial nutrients, minerals and phytochemicals, especially if a variety of fruits and veggies are used. Adding fruits and veggies of different colors can help vary the nutrients your smoothie provides.
Juices can sometimes be less calorie-dense than smoothies, so they can often be added to a regular diet as a snack or health aid. They do contain important nutrients, but not to the extent that the skin and other solid elements of a fruit or vegetable do. If you’re juicing at home, try to use a mostly vegetable base, rather than fruits.
Diets consisting of only juices aren’t very sustainable or well-balanced. Juice diets leave you in an extreme calorie deficit and lack sufficient protein, and will typically allow for quick weight loss. This quick drop in weight is caused mostly by loss of water and muscle mass, which is neither ideal nor sustainable and can impact overall health outcomes negatively. When you return to a normal diet after a juice cleanse, it may be difficult to keep the weight from returning.
Besides weight loss, juice cleanses can’t actually “cleanse” your body of toxins or harmful chemicals as the name suggests. Your body is already well equipped to do this itself. You’d be better off helping to cleanse your body by drinking water and eating a well-balanced diet.
A diet of juices is hard to sustain because it’ll often leave you feeling unsatisfied. It’s natural for the body to cue itself when you need to eat. Incorporating smoothies into your diet can be a great way to create a well-balanced snack out of fruits, vegetables, yogurt, nut butters, etc., which combine fiber and protein to make you feel fuller longer. The fiber will also aid in digestion.
The final verdict is that both juicing and smoothies can be beneficial if done in moderation with a balanced diet. However, smoothies come out on top in terms of nutrients and fiber for weight loss and digestion. Whichever option you decide to try, balance the amount of fruits and vegetables you add to maximize nutrient intake.
Stephanie Urrutia is a registered dietitian at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
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