Getting more fruits and vegetables in our diet is excellent for overall health. Both juices (from juicers) and smoothies (from blenders) are two great ways people can get a lot of those into their bellies, but which is best for you? Let’s look at juicing vs blending similarities and differences to see how each one stacks up.
What’s In This Article?
Is Juicing and Blending the Same Thing?
While not altogether the same, juicing and blending share some straightforward similarities. Let’s take a look at them below.
Both juicing and blending take solid produce and turn it into a liquid we can drink (or spoon if your smoothie is really thick). We do this to get more produce into our systems than we could if they were eaten whole. In both, we physically break down the long fibers that give produce its structure. This allows us to consume and digest the resulting beverage more easily.
This is tied to the liquifying process above. The more produce we can consume, the more nutrients we can ingest. This process gives us more bang for the buck, as it were, by concentrating the amount of nutrients in a serving of juice or smoothie.
In blending and juicing, we combine ingredients to create flavor and nutrient combinations that we may not otherwise consume in one sitting. While you may not sit down to a bowl full of chopped kale, peaches, cucumbers, blueberries, parsley, and a lemon, throw those babies in a blender or juicer, and you’ll have a tasty combination.
Breaking Down Fiber
Both processes break down the fiber (both soluble and insoluble) found in fresh fruits and vegetables, granted to varying degrees. Blending holds onto both types of fiber, while juicing removes some (but not all) insoluble fiber while leaving all the soluble fiber intact. We’ll talk more about this under the differences below.
The Difference Between Juicing and Blending
The difference between juicing and blending is equally straightforward and surprising.
Both juicing and blending result in varying levels of nutrients present and retained in the resulting beverage. For nutrient density, juicing wins out because this process provides more nutrients by volume by removing insoluble fiber from the nutrient-laden juice.
This is a bit more nuanced than nutrient density and depends upon the type of machine being used. Blending is generally a much faster process that whips increased amounts of oxygen into each batch. Oxygen exposure causes oxidation, which breaks down nutrients. Some types of juicers (centrifugal) incorporate more oxygen than others (masticating/cold press and hydraulic). Overall, juicers preserve more nutrients.
There is a noticeable difference between the fiber concentration of juice versus blending. Blending, of course, has all the fiber (both soluble and insoluble) that the added produce had to begin with, albeit in a broken-down form.
Juicing, however, does not strip fiber completely, not even insoluble. When you juice, the majority of the insoluble fiber is removed. (Many of us use this leftover pulp in recipes like crackers or soup, but that’s an aside.) Juice retains some insoluble fiber and all of the soluble.
When doctors prescribe clear liquids for the infirm, there’s a good reason. They want the patient’s body to concentrate on healing and not digestion. When we consume foods in the form of pure liquid, it gives our system a rest and allows the body to do some internal housekeeping. While blended produce results in a liquid beverage, it still has all the fiber present, making it harder to digest than pure juice.
Back to the discussion around fiber. As stated above, both processes retain all or some (blending more than juicing). The presence of fiber affects the absorption of nutrients differently, with some requiring it and others being slowed or removed by it.
With juice, there is enough fiber to facilitate absorption. Even for some compounds like fructose and sucrose, glucose, and fructose (natural sugars found in fresh fruits and vegetables), absorption into the bloodstream is quicker than insoluble fiber-rich smoothies.
Some fresh produce can’t be juiced. Think low-water fruits like bananas and avocados. These can be easily blended into a smoothie or added to fresh juice, but they cannot be juiced themselves. Conversely, some produce tastes better juiced than blended, like oranges (unless you’re a true pulp lover) and pomegranates (with their tiny white seeds becoming gritty when blended).
Is Juicing or Blending Better?
There’s no right or wrong answer regarding blending versus juicing. It depends on what you’re looking for from your produce-packed beverage. Whatever you choose, getting those nutrient-rich, super tasty fresh fruits and vegetables into your body is a great way to support good health.
Juicer Test Kitchen Pro Tip: If you’re interested in diving into the world of juicing, check out my article Why Juice? The Beginner’s Guide to Juicing!
Tell us your thoughts about juicing vs. blending in the comments. We LOVE hearing from you!