Many people are enjoying smoothies and juices for the various health benefits, with options of juice cleanses and what seems like a million different smoothie variations available at your local café. But are they the beacon of health that they’re made out to be?

 

What is Juicing?

When we talk juices, we are referring to freshly squeezed (ideally cold pressed) – not homogenised & pasteurised options. Juicing extracts water and most of the vitamins and minerals from whole pieces of fruits or vegetables, but discards the indigestible fibre.

 

Pros of Juicing

  • Maximum nutritional benefit
  • Absorb nutrients more easily and efficiently
  • Requires less “effort” from the digestive system, as no fibre to process


Concerns of Juicing

  • Loses the fibre therefore sugars are absorbed more rapidly and can have a dangerous impact on blood sugar levels (best avoided by diabetics or pre-diabetics)
  • Often contains far more fruit than you would eat

By removing the fibre, juices enable your body to take in the nutrients very quickly, with minimal digestive effort.  However, it’s important to be aware how much you are consuming, as without the fibre, it can leave you quite hungry.

 

What are Smoothies?

 Smoothies are blended whole fruits and/or vegetables, including the fibre and often many other ingredients as well.

 

 Pros of Smoothies

  • You get all the fibre as part of the drink
  • Provides a great filling complete meal with the right ingredients
  • More slowly digested and subsequent release of sugars

 

Concerns of Smoothies

  • It’s easy to add unhealthy fillers to smoothies
  • Can be very high energy (kj)

Smoothies are a far better option for those with diabetes or pre-diabetes, as long as high sugar additions are avoided, i.e. ice cream, flavoured yogurts etc. The best bases for smoothies are water, coconut water, nut, diary or coconut milks, and then add nuts, seeds and other healthy proteins and fats.

 

So juices or smoothies?

The truth is that both can be a fantastic addition to your diet, depending on your personal needs and situation. They are an efficient way to eat much needed fruit and vegetables, but need to be part of a balanced diet.

As with all dietary habits, try to avoid extremes as these can be harmful and generally aim to have more vegetables than fruit.

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Kylie Gerrard is a Scarborough-based wellness coach and owner of the online store HealthFuel.

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