Juicing vs Blending: The Guide to Which is Best for Health & Weight Loss
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In today’s world, more people are becoming health conscious, and with that trend has come the popularity of juices and smoothies. This is evidenced by the rise of many companies such as Jamba Juice and Smoothie King, as well as multiple types of juicers and blenders becoming more readily available on the consumer market.
Blending and juicing, while sounding similar in concept, are very different in practice. There are various health benefits of both, as well as certain ways of processing that help target sensitive diets such as low fiber, diabetic, and paleo-keto, to name a few. In this ultimate guide, you will see the benefits of each type of processing, as well as get an overview of what each type of processing style means, as well as some specific health benefits of each type.
As a point of note, during this guide, “food” will be referencing things such as fruits, vegetables, and herbs, that can be reasonably used in either processing style.
The Differences Between Blending & Juicing
To put it in generic terms, blending is what happens when foods (and sometimes liquids) are at the same time disintegrated by high speed blades that also mix the parts into a suspension.
Juicing, on the other hand, is when a food is processed via pressure or mastication to extract the most liquid possible from the food.
Blending In Depth
A blender, as the name suggests, blends everything you put into the blending vessel before starting up the blades. Most commonly, blenders are used to make smoothies, thicker protein shakes, and vegetable slurries/smoothies, depending on the usage.
The biggest difference from juicing is that, as the food in the blender is simply reduced to a more liquid form instead of having the liquids extracted, all the fiber and pulp from whatever is being blended stays in the drink.
This fiber and pulp has the advantage of being naturally occuring, and as fiber requires work to be digested, blending helps boost metabolism and also keeps you feeling fuller, longer. As the vegetables, fruits, and fibers digest, it also takes a while for all the energy from the processing to be absorbed, giving a longer, more sustained release. Another benefit of this natural fiber is that it helps keep regularity, by keeping waste moving through your intestines.
Juicing in Depth
A juicer is a device that, instead of simply blending all foods together in a suspension, instead uses some form of pressure and, in some higher-end juicers, mastication between grinding augers to extract the liquid from veggies and fruits. Often, juicers are used to make single flavor extractions, such as carrot juice or pear juice, for example.
The biggest difference from blending is that the extraction process takes only the liquids from the food, leaving behind the pulp and most of the fiber in the resulting mash (pulp) that is left in the juicers.
This is advantageous as the liquids that are extracted carry with them many vitamins, minerals, and high concentrations of nutrients, including a specific type called phytochemicals. These phytochemicals are sometimes more commonly, and generically, referred to as antioxidants and organic acids.
As there is little fiber in the resulting drink, digestion is very quick and allows the maximum amount of the beneficial compounds in the juice to be absorbed into the body and bloodstream. This results in quick energy which may not last as long as with blended drinks, however, are great for times when high energy is needed such as a pre-workout boost.
Wait, Isn’t Fiber Supposed to be Good For You?
In a word, yes. However, there are pros and cons of fiber. Just like too much any nutrient can cause issues, having too much fiber can cause issues such as constipation, bloating, and generally feeling full despite also feeling hungry.
As well, there are specific conditions and times when a low fiber diet must be strictly adhered to, such as during the week before some medical procedures, or for those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome. In these instances, what fibers do make it into the juice from juicing are highly soluble, and are easy to absorb without causing issues.
Which is Best for Overall Nutrition?
This is a much more complex question than simply choosing blending or juicing. Both styles of processing have their advantages, and both have some disadvantages. As well, the rest of the diet as a whole must be taken into account.
For example, in a paleo-keto diet, blending is a preferred processing method as it uses the entirety of the food in the blender which is important for keeping as many fats and proteins inside the drink as possible. As well, nuts such as almonds can be blended into the drinks, or added via almond suspensions such as almond milk.
Alternatively, in a low-residue diet, juicing is by far the preferred method of processing as it allows for the removal of as much fiber and pulp as possible, leaving only the “good stuff” left for those on the diet to consume.
In terms of overall nutrition, a combination of both blending and juicing may be the best answer, as both deliver nutrients and nutritional value in different ways. For example, a glass of carrot juice in the morning instead of coffee to jumpstart the body, and a fruit smoothie for the commute in to work to give that longer-lasting energy to get through the morning.
Which is Best for Weight Loss: Juicing or Blending?
In terms of reducing overall “bad” weight, namely body fats, juicing does hold an advantage in that the nutrients are absorbed rapidly and, with exercise and a properly managed diet, can lead to the body needing to burn off the fats more readily as the juice doesn’t linger in the stomach waiting to be absorbed as energy demands. The key wording in that sentence is “properly managed diet.”
To burn fat and reduce body weight properly, speaking with a dietician or even your doctor to get an idea of what types of caloric targets you need to hit to achieve fat loss at an acceptable rate to your body type. Juicing does hold the advantage in that while it delivers nutrients and vitamins, it is generally lower caloric content than a blended drink.
Which is Best for You?
The answer to whether juicing or blending is better for your health isn’t black and white. Both have their pros and cons, and both can be part of a healthy diet.
The answer, as you now know, is a bit more nuanced than what you expect. There are many benefits to juicing, but ultimately, what’s best for you will depend on your health goals.
Choose Juicing If…
- You want to reduce how much fiber you consume
- You want to rapidly consume a large volume of fruits or vegetables without feeling bloated or “too full”
- You want to maximize the vitamins and minerals in the juice (juicing retains more of each due to the fact that it does not oxidize the juice nearly as much as a blender does)
- You want a way to enjoy natural juice without fillers, additives, preservatives, or extra sugars
Or include both! Both blending and juicing can be great additions to a well-balanced diet and lifestyle. And with some types of masticating juicers, you can use the same kitchen appliance to make a glass of juice or a smoothie.
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