The age old debate; Juices or smoothies, and who wins the “healthiest” beverage title continues, from my point of view there is a clear winner. A juice is generally a beverage which contains the liquids from a fruit or vegetables, and in it’s best form, will come straight from fresh produce. However there are many products on the shelves which are “juices” but have been processed and pulverized to an oblivion, containing very little actual nutrients. However, we will disregard these in the juice category, so for now we are talking about fresh raw juices straights from the fruit and vege.
Juices are the water/liquid component of fresh fruit and vege, with popular juicing produce being oranges, apples, celery, carrot, lemon, ginger, watermelon, and kale. Now having juice from fresh produce is great, except when you consider the things juice doesn’t include. When we juice something we remove ALL the fibre, and with that much of the nutrients. We also are able to drink bucket loads more juice than we could eat the whole fruit and vege, which means we may be getting far more energy and sugar than we think. Imagine this: A juice can contain 2 oranges, an apples, 2 carrots, a piece of ginger and 2 sticks of celery, and only just be a whole glass. While this might seem a great way to get lots of fruit and vege, imagine actually eating all of that fruit and vege whole. Chances are you probably wouldn’t be able to. Fibre is something that keeps us full, feeds the good bacteria in our gut, and helps keep our digestion regular, without it we would have incredibly poor digestion (think constipation, diarrhea, bloating, excessive gas). We are doing an incredible disservice to whole foods by ridding them of their fibre.
Now looking instead to the humble smoothie; nope, i’m not talking about that fancy chai matcha kale cinnamon banana and almond milk smoothie you saw on instagram last week. Or that crazy monster of a smoothie topped with pretzels and whole bars of chocolate. I’m talking about a simple banana, oat and spinach smoothie. We keep the fibre, so we stay full, our digestion stays regular, and we still get the benefits of all the nutrients and antioxidants from the fruit and vege. Plus you can get as creative as you like; chia seeds, zucchini, mango, almonds, linseed, strawberries, almond milk, walnuts…the list goes on. The are a pretty perfect meal in a cup. However we can get a little carried away with smoothies, and they can end up being just full of energy and not much else. Keep in mind to base them off fresh fruit and vege and not full of peanut butter and coconut milk.
So, in conclusion juices remove the fibre (=not so great) and smoothies keep it (=great!). But to be perfectly honest, labeling food as good or bad is just a recipe for disaster. A fresh juice is a great way to get a few serves of fruit and vege, and smoothies can be excessive and full of kilojoules. With all things, be sensible and eat in moderation. Just eat real food. Ok?