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What’s the Difference Between Juicing and Blending?

Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on October 18, 2021

Juicing and blending are two easy ways to boost your daily intake of fruits and veggies. Both involve liquefying fruits or vegetables into smoothies or juices. Here’s what you need to know about juicing and blending and how they can affect your health.

Differences Between Juicing and Blending

Doctors recommend eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day, but studies show that Americans are averaging only about one serving per day. Because of this, juicing and blending have become popular options when it comes to getting more fruits and veggies.

Juicing. Juicing is a way to consume fruits or vegetables in liquid form. You need a juicer, an appliance that separates the pulp (fiber) of the fruit or vegetable from the liquid. The liquid is thin and easy to drink, and it has the vitamins and minerals from the fruits and vegetables. You do not drink parts of the fruit like the peel or pulp.

Blending. Another way to get in several servings of fruits and vegetables is by blending or making smoothies. You use the whole fruit or vegetable, sometimes including the skin. Blending keeps the fiber and nutrients that you would get if you ate the whole fruit or veggie. 

When blending fruits or vegetables, you drink whatever it is that you put into your blender, as there is no separation of the pulp from the liquid. You need fewer fruits and veggies to make a smoothie than you would need to make a serving of juice, as you are using the whole product.

Pros of Juicing and Blending

Both juicing and blending smoothies can offer several health benefits, since they can help you fit in more servings of healthy fruits and veggies every day. Both can help fight against heart disease by lowering your blood pressure and bad cholesterol.

‌Benefits of juicing. One of the biggest benefits of juicing is that you can get a lot of nutrients in smaller servings than you would with blending. Also, juices are usually lower in calories because you aren’t consuming the entire fruit or veggie. For this, juicing is a way to supplement your diet with healthy snacks or drinks.

Juicing breaks down fruits and vegetables in a way that makes it easy for your body to absorb nutrients. Your body can also get energy, or calories, quickly from juice because there is nothing for your digestive system to break down. Because of this, juicing is a good option for people who have digestive issues. 

Because the fiber is removed in juicing, it’s a good way for people on low-fiber diets to get essential vitamins and minerals. Juicing can also offer a large dose of vitamins in a small serving. This can give your immune system a boost if you're fighting off illness. In fact, many people who are having chemotherapy treatment turn to juicing due to its benefits and healing properties. 

Many people also like juicing because it is quick and easy. You can gulp down nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.

Benefits of blending. Smoothies can be a healthy snack or even a meal if you add other ingredients. Add protein like nuts, seeds, or yogurt to keep you full and satisfied.

Compared with juicing, blended smoothies also tend to have more phytonutrients, which are the natural chemicals found in plants. Smoothies use the membrane of citrus fruits like oranges or grapefruits, which are high in flavonoids, phytonutrients that help prevent certain diseases.

Blending smoothies is an especially good way to add leafy greens to your diet, like spinach and kale. When blended with sweet fruit, green veggies don't have a strong taste. You can blend any number of leafy greens into your smoothie for extra vitamins and minerals.

Cons of Juicing and Blending

There can also be some downsides to blending or juicing, especially when you drink juices or smoothies as a meal replacement.

Cons of juicing. Juice diets or cleanses have become a popular way to lose weight quickly. But when you drink juice as a meal replacement, you deprive your body of the calories and protein that it needs. You might lose weight quickly, but you also lose water and muscle mass, which isn’t sustainable long-term.

Additionally, fiber helps regulate blood sugar levels, so drinking too much juice may cause your blood sugar to spike. Fiber is also responsible for keeping you full, so you might be left feeling hungry after drinking only juice.

Cons of blending. Blending smoothies won’t cause your blood sugar to spike as much as with drinking juice, but they can raise your blood sugar levels because of all the fruit. To help keep sugar in check, use no more than two servings of fruit per smoothie.

Too much fiber can cause problems like gas and indigestion. With a smoothie, you might eat too much of it without realizing.

Show Sources

SOURCES:

Explore IM: “Juicing: Body Cleansing or Nutrient Depleting?”

npr: “Blending vs. Juicing? How To Get The Most Nutrition From Your Fruit.”

nutritionED.org: “Juicing vs. Blending: Which one is right for you?"

The Ohio State University: “Juicing vs. smoothies: which is better for you?”

The Whole U: “Juicing vs. Blending - What’s the Difference?”

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