Fresh juice vs smoothie: Which one is better for you?

A nutritionist weighs in.

By Contributor • 3 years ago • HEALTH & FITNESS


While fruit is packed full of vitamins and antioxidants, there is such a thing as eating too much of it, especially if it starts to replace other foods in the diet. 

Thanks to the anti-sugar crowd, fruit often gets lumped with other high-sugar foods.

It is true that fruit contains the intrinsic sugar fructose and that some fruits contain more fructose than others (like mango, banana, lychee, dates, cherries, and grapes), yet many fruits have a low glycaemic index. 

So when it comes to choosing fruit as a snack or dessert, I’m all for it – especially if it’s replacing a refined sugar treat.

However, when it comes to fruit drinks, just keep in mind that it’s likely to be less filling and therefore easy to go over recommended daily amounts. Ultimately, it’s best when we eat our calories, not drink them.

So, Juice vs Smoothie: Which One Wins?

juice vs smoothie: woman making a smoothie
Image: istock

Smoothies, using a combination of veggies and fruit are superior to freshly squeezed fruit juice because they retain the fibre, rather than simply extracting the juice.

Our bodies are designed to metabolise the amount of fructose contained in 2-3 serves of fruit a day, but it’s easy to go over that amount when you are drinking it in juice form rather than filling up on whole fruit. My book contains lots of healthy ideas for balancing fruit in your diet.

Below are the pros and cons to consider if you are a juice or smoothie drinker:

Fruit juice: Pros & Cons

Image: iStock

While freshly squeezed juice is certainly healthier than store-bought juices that often contain as much added sugar as fizzy drinks, juice doesn’t contain the fibre or filling qualities of whole fruit. Juicing extracts the liquid content of the whole fruit. The fibre is discarded.

Still, fresh juice can offer amazing nutritional benefits. Particularly, if you use a ratio of 1:4 fruit to vegetables and choose blended juices that keep the flesh rather than pure juices that discard the fibre. Juices made at home using the Nutribullet or Vitamix are good options.

 Remember, half a cup of freshly squeezed juice counts as one serve of fruit, so try it in small portions and water it down.

Also, freshly squeezed juice has a high acid content that can erode tooth enamel.

Smoothies: Pros & Cons

juice vs smoothie
Image: Mandy Sacher @wholesome_child

Unlike juicing, blending uses the whole fruit. That’s why smoothies are a step up from freshly squeezed juices. Because they contain the fibre, they are far more filling than juice.

Be aware that smoothies on the menu in restaurants may contain ice-cream. Sometimes, they also contain frozen or flavoured yoghurts that are high in added sugar.

It’s always best to check and even better to make your own so you really know what’s in it. 

healthy smoothie is usually a combination of milk (almond, rice, soy, coconut or regular), ice and a blend of fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and in some instances a protein powder . Try this version with beetroot and strawberry that is packed with folate, vitamin C and fibre.  

For a healthy smoothie:

  • Ensure they contain protein from plain unsweetened yoghurt, soaked cashew nuts or almonds or nut butter.
  • Ensure they contain healthy fats from sources like chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts, avocado or coconut flesh.
  • Great additions to smoothies include easily disguised vegetables like spinach, kale or beetroot.
  • If you need to sweeten the smoothie, use a little raw or Manuka honey.
  • Don’t discard any leftover homemade smoothies. Freeze any leftovers in popsicle moulds. These make great mid-afternoon snacks.

Words by Mandy Sacher, paediatric nutritionist, author & founder of Wholesome Child

To learn more about Mandy Sacher please visit the Wholesome Child website. Her book “Wholesome Child: A Complete Nutrition Guide and Cookbook” is available to purchase online and through iTunes, and you can connect with Mandy on Instagram and Facebook.


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