The juice and smoothie industry has conquered the United States. According to market research, juice and smoothie bars raise a total of $ 2 billion annually. But whether you collect a healthy amount of cash in a trendy juice bar or make your fruity drinks at home, it's important to understand the health benefits and implications of what you drink.

Fruit and vegetables are good for you – nobody would argue about that. The 2015-2020 nutrition guidelines for Americans suggest that we eat 2 cups of fruit and 2 1/2 cups of vegetables every day. When consumed at these levels, fresh produce can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer, while also helping you control your weight.

But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Americans can't get enough of it either. That is part of pulling juice and blending: both make it easier to get more fruits and vegetables in your diet.

The difference between making juice and blending is what has remained outside the process.

With juice, you essentially remove all fibrous materials, leaving only the liquid from the fruits and vegetables. With blends you get everything – the pulp and fibers that accumulate the product. Here we begin to separate the benefits of the two options.

Juicing 101

  • more concentrated amounts of vitamins and nutrients
  • easier absorption of nutrients
  • some juices contain more sugar than soft drinks
  • lack of fiber, which is essential for healthy digestion, controlling blood sugar levels and lowering the risk of heart disease

Blending 101

  • mixed fruits and vegetables retain all their fiber for a healthy digestion
  • the fibrous parts of fruit and vegetables fill you and also contain antioxidants

When you squeeze your fruit and vegetables, you may get more concentrated, easier-to-absorb nutrients. This is because most of the vitamins and minerals found in a fruit are usually in the juice – not the pulp and fibrous material that you would also get in a smoothie. But that is not the whole story.

Juices contain little to no fiber. Fiber is incredibly important for good digestion and good health.

Soluble fibers, such as those found in apples, carrots, peas, green beans and citrus fruits, dissolve in water and slow digestion, which helps control your blood sugar levels. Insoluble fiber contained in vegetables such as cauliflower, potatoes, and dark leafy vegetables add bulk to your stools and stimulate your intestines in action.

Fiber is not the only one present in fruit and vegetable pulp. A Study of 2012 compared the presence of phytochemicals – antioxidant compounds with potential anti-cancer properties – in grapefruit juice versus mixed grapefruit. The researchers discovered that the mixed fruit had a higher concentration of the useful substance because that substance is mainly found in the fibrous membranes of the fruit.

Proponents of juice suggest that eating fiber-free fruits and vegetables gives your body a break from the hard work of digestion. They also suggest that it improves the absorption of nutrients.

a analysis confirmed that beta-carotene, a beneficial carotenoid, obtained from juice products instead of whole food forms, resulted in higher blood levels of beta-carotene. Many studies find that higher levels of beta-carotene in plasma or blood predict a lower risk of cancer. The researchers stated that soluble fibers reduce the uptake of beta-carotene by 30 to 50 percent.

However, they also pointed out that blending is also beneficial. While the fiber remains present during mixing, the cell walls of the food are broken down. This ensures better uptake of beta-carotene.

For some diseases and malabsorptive conditions, dietary fiber with low fiber and few residues is recommended. Juicing would be appropriate in these cases.

Although the research is limited, there is anecdotal evidence from people who fast and clean juice and have reported a number of health benefits. That said, fiber is often under-consumption, which has harmful health effects. Therefore, consuming mixed foods more often than juicer foods can offer the benefits of both whole foods and juicer foods.

Sugar consumption is a major drawback of both juice and blending, says dietitian Kimberly Gomer, MS, RD, LDN. Gomer says that both juices and smoothies can raise blood sugar – but the effects are faster and more dramatic with juice.

With mixed fruit and vegetables, there are only so many that you can drink before you feel full. The pulp, skin and fibers help to increase the volume of the drink, so that you fill and your total calorie consumption is limited. But with juice you can consume the same amount of fruit and vegetables and you still don't feel satisfied.

Some commercial fresh juices contain the same amount or even more sugar than soft drinks. Research published in 2014 showed that fruit juices contain on average 45.5 grams of fructose per liter, not far from the average of 50 grams per liter of soda.

Minute Maid apple juice was found to contain 66 grams of fructose per liter, higher than both Coca-Cola and Dr. Pepper! Although smoothies have fewer, sugar should be a concern anyway.

Juicing has several advantages, including a higher concentration of nutrients per ounce, an increased consumption of fruit and vegetables and a better absorption of nutrients. It can also help people who have trouble eating their vegetables to tolerate the taste.

On the other hand, you miss important fibers when making juice. You might also miss other important compounds that are present in the pulp and membranes of the product.

With blending you get everything that the fruit and vegetables have to offer, but the pulpy texture may not be as tasty to some.

In both cases there is a reservation with regard to all benefits: sugar. Because of sugar, Gomer insists on caution, especially if weight loss is your goal.

Some experts believe that you can minimize the increase in blood sugar levels due to liquid calories by adding sources of fiber, protein or fat, such as avocado, chia seed, protein powder or unsweetened Greek yogurt. But others disagree.

"We do not recommend liquid calories," says Gomer. "To lose weight, always eat fruits and vegetables – do not drink them. If weight loss is not a problem, the smoothie wins the price over the juice."

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