Both smoothies and fresh juices come with immense health benefits that cannot be negated. And while some experts will tell you that this isn’t really an ‘either/or’ situation, as both offer a better source of nutrients when compared to packaged snacks, others will tell you that blending is often better than juicing.

“The comparison between fresh juice and smoothies could be seen as a battle for more fibre. While blending fruits and vegetables will keep the fibre content intact, in reality you cannot really negate the benefits of juices as these make the nutrients in fruits and vegetables more easily absorbable in to the blood stream”, says Dr. R.P. Saxena, a renowned physician, who runs a private practice in Dehradun. “What I like to suggest to people is to see smoothies as a whole meal, which can easily replace their lunch or works like a post-workout snack. On the other hand, juices should be seen more like a cleansing beverage or part of a meal, ideally breakfast”. He also suggests that the best juices are those that incorporate both fruit and vegetables, as too much fruit alone will result in a sudden spike in blood sugar levels. Think of the perfect juice as something that will include carrots, apples, watermelon and green veggies, rather than opting for an all-too-sweet mango or lychee juice.

Fresh Juices: A better way to eat fruit?

Juice enthusiasts claim that fresh juices can be better than eating whole fruits and vegetables, as the drink is nutrient-dense. Also, you end up ingesting more produce, as it can take 4 to 5 apples to get just one glass of juice, as opposed to eating just one a day; hence you get extra vitamins and minerals.

Some of the benefits of fresh fruit and vegetable juices include:

• You get phytonutrients along with vitamins and minerals that can immediately be absorbed in to the blood stream.

• They are easier on the digestive system, as opposed to eating fruit, so they work like a cleansing beverage.

• You consume more fruits and vegetables as it takes a lot of produce to make one glass of fresh juice.

• It is much easier to combine different fruits and vegetables you otherwise would not eat together.

• Adding sweet fresh fruit removes the need to sweeten the drink, so you get a low calorie snack that is filling enough between main meals.

Juices are definitely yummy and a great way to eat your fruit, but they do have some drawbacks. What about the waste and loss of fibre that you lose by removing the pulp, seeds and skin? By removing the fibre, drinking juice can actually result in unstable blood sugar levels, and it also is unlikely to fill you up. Furthermore, a study on blackberries in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry found that there was a 70 to 82 % loss in antioxidants when blackberry seeds were removed in juicing.

Smoothies: Can good taste and great health go hand in hand?

On the other hand, some experts will tell you that smoothies are always better than juice. And they wouldn’t be wrong – blending means you keep all the nutrients from the fruit and vegetables. As the fibre content remains intact, the sugars in a smoothie are absorbed into the bloodstream at a slower pace which keeps your blood sugar level stable. Additionally, most people use yogurt or toned milk for their smoothies, which also adds an important source of protein to the drink, and makes it more filling. A smoothie really can be a complete meal and is perfect as a pre-workout meal to ensure sustained energy levels. By satisfying hunger pangs, it will also help eliminate and flush out toxins from your body.

It seems like smoothies are obviously a better choice than juices – they make a full meal, they offer more fibre and protein and they also do not require special equipment. But these do come with some drawbacks as well, as you get a smaller amount of nutrients as you do not use as many pieces of fruit and vegetables. Furthermore,

if you add sugar, flavoured syrups or protein powder in excess, you can easily make a smoothie go from health food to liquid sugar bombs. Also, adding honey, cream, flavoured yogurt and ice cream to smoothies is not uncommon; and while it may improve the taste it also increases the number of calories you add to the drink.

As you can see, both fresh juices and smoothies come with their own benefits. As they serve different purposes, one as a meal replacement and the other as refreshing burst of nutrient, ideally both can have a place in your diet.

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