The wellness world is quick to offer up a smoothie or juicing recipe, or recommend the latest healthy hotspot, but few people know the difference between the two produce-based beverages. To help break down each sip’s unique place on the nutritional spectrum, we tapped into the knowledge at the wellness-driven resort, Carillon Miami Beach. Staci Shacter, author of The Meat and Potatoes of a Healthy Meal Plan, and haute hotel nutritionist, Marissa Ciorciari, are here to straighten out the myths and misinformation about juices and smoothies.
What is the basis of a smoothie?
STACIE SHACTER: Smoothies use the whole fruit, so [when making one] you don’t need to use as much fruit as you would if you were juicing.
Is the whole fruit nature of a smoothie good or bad?
SS: This is good since fruit tends to be high in sugar. Because the whole fruit ends up in your cup, smoothies are also high in fiber. Soluble fiber has been shown to help with lowering cholesterol and stabilizing blood sugar. Insoluble fiber has been shown to help with keeping the digestive system healthy and vigorous, and preventing and treating constipation. However, too many dark green fibrous vegetables in a smoothie will not be palatable. For this reason, you may want your smoothie to have mostly fruit or mild tasting vegetables like cucumber, romaine, or celery, and smaller amounts of dark leafy greens.
And what about juices — how do they differ from smoothies?
SS: Juicers are different from blenders since juicing separates the liquid from the healthy fiber, and only the liquid is consumed.
What are the benefits of juicing?
SS: Juicing allows for more vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients per serving than a smoothie: This is partly because you can consume higher quantities since it does not contain the fiber. More importantly, the amount of greens you can convert to juice is much greater than what you can put in a smoothie. Unlike with smoothies, with juicing it is better to use primarily vegetables with smaller quantities of fruit.
Are there any drawbacks to juicing?
MARISSA CIORCIARI: Yes, there are. While some enzymes and other bioactive ingredients can become enhanced in the juicing process, others are lost due to the heat and physical process.
Are there any additional drawbacks to having a juice or smoothie?
MC: Many juices and smoothies can be high in calories and simple sugars. This can occur from large amounts of high-fructose fruits and added sugars added to the recipes. If over consumed, the calories can add up leading to weight gain. For this reason, I often recommend many juices include a higher proportion of either leafy green vegetables, celery, fresh herbs, and even beets or carrots to reduce total sugar content.
SS: Variety is key! Yes, kale is good for you, but so are other greens. For juices, use celery, cucumber, romaine, collards, escarole, parsley, spinach, chard, cilantro, basil, fennel, mint, dandelion greens, beet greens, etc. Add a little apple to this blend for a really tasty drink! A low-carb way to balance flavors is to add lemon, lime, or ginger to your juice: This will help balance out the bitterness of the greens or the earthy taste of beets.
So what’s the bottom line on these two produce-based drinks?
MC: Cold pressed juices and smoothies are beneficial to the average individual in moderation or used daily, and when kept in relatively low sugar content.