Smoothies vs. Juices: What's Better?

Juices and smoothies are awesome--they can pack a lot of flavor and a burst of nutrients. But despite being delectable liquids, they are very different beverages each with their own benefits.

Purple Smoothie

Team Juice

Juices go far beyond apple juice concentrate or little yellow juice boxes. Fresh-pressed juices are filling store shelves and coolers at coffee shops. They're often green or bright orange, and often come with a hefty price tag, too. Pre-bottletd fresh-pressed or cold-pressed juices use both a slow pulverizer and hydraulic press to create a tasty beverage. This extracts a lot of the beneficial nutrients out of the fiber, and removes the insoluble fiber from the end product. You're getting up to 70 percent of the fruits' and veggies' nutrition right there in your glass. This cold-pressing method does not create heat which helps keeps the nutrients of the juice in tact. These juices also have a short shelf life. 

Juices, however healthy, do have some downsides. The fiber of the fruits and vegetables is removed, and fiber is needed to keep our digestive tracks healthy and running smoothly. But, fiber is also needed to help slow down the absorption of sugars--something that juices have a lot of. Fiber also makes you full, so you may not be satisfied after your drink. When made with more fruits than vegetables, not only does it become higher in sugar, but juices also become very high in carbohydrates. 

If you're not eating enough fresh vegetables or fruits, or don't like the taste, juicing may allow you to fill a nutrition gap. When making a juice at home, selecting a pre-bottled juice, or picking one out at your local juice bar, opt for lots of vegetables. The taste will be more bitter or tart, but the sugars will be low. Great juice inclusions include ginger, kale, parsley, cucumber, aloe or beet. 

Team Smoothie

If you can think of it, odds are you can put it in a smoothie. Smoothies have a reputation for being able to contain a host of different good-for-you things. They can easily mask the flavor of vegetables and can be full of protein, fiber and healthy fats. You can pump your smoothie full of Greek yogurt, protein powder, nut butters, seeds, frozen vegetables and fruits, avocados, cinnamon, flavored liquids and so much more. Because of this, smoothies are great for meal replacements or after a tough session at the gym. (When your body is tired, smoothies are easy for your body to digest because some of the work is already done for it!)

Unlike juices, smoothies contain beneficial fiber. When the fruits and veggies are whirled up, both the soluble and insoluble fiber remains. 

But, calories in smoothies can add up quickly. When you're blending up a smoothie, you can easily eat several servings more of fruits and veggies than you'd normally eat. This may seem like a good thing, but you could easily gulp down a few more calories than you mean. And as you start adding nutrient-dense foods like avocados, nut butters, milks and yogurts (to name a few), your smoothie does become calorically dense and more like a meal than a snack. And don't forget about what goes on top--that comes with with a nutrition price tag, too. 

Play for Both Teams

Both smoothies and juices have their places in a healthy diet. They're both great at promoting the inclusion of fruits and veggies in the diet. Juices are a good way to sneak in a few extra vegetables on a chaotic day. Or, they're great when you're feeling under the weather because they have so much nutrition. Smoothies are great meal replacements and can taste indulgent, but be full of good-for-you ingredients. 

Have more questions about juices and smoothies? Ask away!