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Navitas Organics Blog

Ask the Chef: Smoothie vs. Juice

Posted by Julie Morris, Navitas Organics Executive Chef on Jul 6, 2014 11:30:56 PM

Q: What's the difference between a smoothie and a juice?

A: Both superfood smoothies and superfood juices are two of the most talked about healthy habits for the wellness-minded. Despite their similar “colorful liquid in a glass†motif, there is definitely a difference between the two, and understanding the basic principles of each will help you better support your health goals!

Smoothies refer to a blended drink. In this form of beverage, a combination of whole fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and even grains are combined with a liquid (and sometimes other ingredient boosts) and pureed in a blender, resulting in a thick frosty beverage. In addition to their healthy vitamins and minerals, smoothies also usually contain fiber, fat, and protein - major macronutrients that keep us feeling full. Because this form relies on a base of whole foods, smoothies are very satiating and can be used as a snack or even meal replacement.

Smoothies may seem “smooth†(for lack of a better word!), but in fact they still retain a lot of texture or “mass.†If you were to pour the smoothie through a fine sieve or cheesecloth, a much thinner liquid would result, with a fibrous mass left behind in the mesh. This lightened liquid, essentially, is juice! Hence, juice is just produce - fruits and vegetables - that have been ground down and pressed to extract their fiber. Important to note is that along with the fiber, most of the fat and protein will also be left behind. The resulting juice becomes a very concentrated source of micronutrients - vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals - that are digested extremely easily by the body. Most people prefer to use a juicing machine to create a juice as it offers a more efficient extraction, but the blender method mentioned above will work as well.

There's no “better†when it comes to smoothies and juices, it comes down to your own personal needs. A smoothie will be quicker to make and more filling than a juice - the perfect healthy snack or light meal. A juice will be more cleansing and more nutrient-dense because it packs more produce in often with less calories (i.e. you might only be able to fit a couple pieces of fruit and a small handful of greens in 2 cups of smoothie, but the same 2 cups of juice might include 5 or 6 servings of produce). Personally speaking, I do both: drinking a smoothie after a morning workout, and usually a juice as a mid-afternoon energy boost!

One last “in-between†liquid is plant-based milks, which are creamy non-dairy beverages made from blending nuts, seeds or grains with a large amount of water. Since they're so thin, they're not considered a smoothie, and since they're not made with fresh produce, they're not exactly a juice. Nevertheless, these milks can be easily incorporated into your daily diet, as we go over in depth here.

Regardless, whether it's smoothies or juices or milks, you have a very good reason to cheers!

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