Juicing vs. Blending 101
Juice bars are the latest of health trends to take the city by storm. It seems like every New Yorkcorner is sprouting a juice bar these days. Between Juice Generation, Juice Press,Organic Avenue, Liqueteria, The Butcher’s Daughter and others, this trend is becoming impossible to ignore.
Here is the breakdown:
Extracting the juice of the fruit removes most of the fiber as well as some nutrients such as antioxidants, protein, and essential fatty acids. Fruit juice has been touted for lowering risk of cancer and Alzheimer’s, helping with weight loss, providing a glow to skin, and aiding with detoxification. Experts believe that this concentrated form of nutrition makes vitamins, minerals, and enzymes easier for the body to absorb, although there is little scientific evidence to support this belief.
- Requires minimal effort to digest, therefore providing quick delivery of nutrients to the blood stream and giving the digestive system a break.
- Is a helpful way to increase intake of fruits and vegetables for people who do not consume enough on a daily basis, which is most people!
- Is useful for people sensitive to fiber (especially insoluble fiber that acts as a “mild laxative”) since most fiber is left out.
- Removes most of the fiber (except some soluble fiber) and 10-20% of the antioxidants.
- Allows fast delivery of sugars to the blood stream, drastically affecting blood sugar levels, and is therefore not recommended for diabetics or those at higher risk of developing diabetes.
- Is not usually satisfying as a meal or snack.
- Juicers are expensive, ranging anywhere from $200 - $500 dollars, and readymade juices can cost anywhere from $6 - $12 for a 16 oz juice!
- Is time consuming to prepare and typically involves extensive cleanup time.
Blending or emulsifying uses the whole fruit or vegetable, along with some liquid, to form a puree. You get everything the whole food has to offer including vitamins, minerals, enzymes, proteins, essential fatty acids, antioxidants and fiber.
Fiber has been proven to reduce the risk of CVD, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity and certain gastrointestinal disorders (reflux, ulcers, constipation, etc). Higher intake improves total and LDL cholesterol, blood glucose, and insulin sensitivity both in children and adults. Most people consume less than 50% of their recommended fiber quantity!
- Expedites delivery of nutrients to the blood stream without significantly spiking blood sugars because of the natural fiber content.
- Requires only a small amount of digestion, giving the digestive system a break.
- Makes more nutrients available to the body because the whole plant is being consumed. For example, vegetable and fruit skins contain some of the highest concentrations of nutrients.
- Blenders, even including new machines like NutriBullet, only cost between $20 - $120,
- Allows for faster preparation and easier cleanup than juicing.
- Can cause bloating and gas, especially if you are sensitive to fiber or not accustomed to much fiber in your diet.
- Can make taste and texture difficult to manipulate.
- Might decrease naturally-occurring enzymes because some blenders create too much heat if left to blend for too long.
Whether blended or juiced, a liquid diet is NOT usually a balanced diet. Fruits and vegetables have little to no protein or fat, and therefore should not be your sole source of nutrition. I would not follow a strictly liquid diet for more than 2-3 days, maximum!
In my opinion, blending is higher in nutrition and a more efficient source of energy. In addition, it doesn’t spike blood sugars so drastically and helps increase fiber intake, which has been chronically low across all ages.
Bottom line: juicing or blending can be a part of a healthy diet if followed in moderation. Indulge in an 8-oz juice or smoothie when you have a sweet craving or make it a part of your mid-morning or afternoon snack. Even better, replace your sweetened beverage (coffee, energy drink, soda) with a small juice or smoothie.
Stay tuned for Part II!
Originally posted on NYHRC Tumblr
Written by Alanna Cabrero, MS, RD
Juicing: Your Key to Radiant Health. Mercola
To juice or to blend? NutriBullet Blog
AndersonJW, Baird P, et al. Health benefits of dietary fiber. Nutrition Reviews 2009. The Pros And Cons Of Juicing. Food Republic.
Edited by TCabrarr