First, Let’s Look At The Research
In 2012, Texas A&M researchers conducted a study that, many suggest, settled the debate. In it, researchers evaluated both techniques by determining which process produced a healthier grapefruit juice. After blending some grapefruit and juicing the others, they were surprised by the results.
The blended juice contained significantly higher levels of beneficial phytonutrients compared to the juice from the juicer. In fact, the blended juice had seven-times the amount of naringin. Naringin is a flavonoid that has been shown to have anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties.
This difference was likely because the blended juice contained more of the membranes and fiber where much of naringin is found.
“Yes, I was indeed surprised and so was everyone in the lab,” remarks Rammohan Uckoo at the Vegetable and Fruit Improvement Center at Texas A&M.
This study was significant; however, it should not be seen as conclusive. First, it only considered one type of fruit: grapefruits. Also, it was a relatively small study and could have been prone to errors. Second, it only evaluated one important factor: nutrients. The grapefruit smoothie was found to have more nutrients, but perhaps there are other factors to consider when deciding which process to use to make your fruit packed drink.
So let’s consider each process individually:
Juicing extracts nutrients and water from produce and discards the fiber. This means your body can work less for more because juice delivers the good stuff already to go for your digestive system. It’s like getting a gift but without all of that wrapping paper.
If overdone, this can lead to undesirable spikes in blood sugar, which in turn can lead to mood swings and energy loss. Especially if the juice is just fruit. On the other hand, if used properly in a juice fast situation, it can lead to a magical thing called autolysis. Positive autolysis is when the body reboots and reorganizes its cells.
Blending breaks down the entire fruit or vegetable and packs in the fiber along with the other nutrients. This means smoothies are more filling, but makes the body work more for what it gets. You have to unwrap the whole gift to get to the good stuff.
Smoothies can be a great meal replacement because they hold so much substance. However, some people recommend “chewing” your smoothies because ingesting your blended food skips the essential digestive step of mastication. Chewing makes sure enzymes and saliva are being released to complete the digestive process.
Both blending and juicing have their respective pros and cons. Juicing can deliver more energy faster and is easier for your body, whereas smoothies are more like a meal replacement and include deeper nutrients like fiber.
The bottom line is that smoothies have more, which may or may not be what is right for your fitness program whether it’s on the treadmill or on the track.
One thing that everyone seems to agree on, it is best to use a processor that doesn’t heat up because heat destroys enzymes and nutrients in the produce, whether you’re making a smoothie or a juice.
Which one do you prefer, blending or juicing? Leave your comment below.