Are juices, smoothies and fresh fruit the same thing?

With the emergence of – crudivorisme – which basically consists of eating raw vegetables, juices and smoothies have suddenly taken on a new importance in our lives. These two drinks are the recognised stars of detox cures and are often seen as a direct alternative to eating the 5 a day. But are these drinks really an equivalent to a portion of fruit and veg? Well, not really…..

What is in a juice?

Fruit juices and vegetables juices are natural products which are derived from fresh fruit and fresh vegetables. They can be made by manually squeezing the fruit or via a juice extractor or centrifuge. Each one of these techniques separates the juices from the fibres.

Juices do not have identical nutritional properties. Fruit juices made with a 100% juice are only made up of fruit juice, as if they had been squeezed at home. Putting in additives is not permitted. 100% fruit juices can exist with or without fruit pulp. Juices with pulp have a small quantity of fibres which is obviously not the case for juices ‘without pulp’. As for  other juices, they can be made from a juice extract or from a juice concentrate, with or without sugar, additives and food preservatives. In these type of juices, there is almost zero pulp and in general, a higher sugar content. When fruit is stripped of its fibres, the absorption of nutrients is faster and therefore satiety is less, as is its nutritional quality, as the fibres play a preventative role in cardiovascular disease.

What is in a smoothie?

In general, a smoothie is a drink composed of mixed fruits and / or vegetables using a blender. Vegetables and fruits can be peeled or not, and milk or vegetable juices can be added to make them more fluid as smoothies tend to be thicker than juices. This consistency is due to the presence of fibres, but it’s important to point out that because they are blended, they are stripped of their natural composition so their usefulness and effects are somewhat reduced.

So are juices, smoothies and fresh fruit really comparable?

  • A different fibre composition – a different satiety

When fibres are extracted from fruit, all we are left with are the fruit’s or vegetable’s natural sugar as well as the vitamins and minerals. Even if the sugar is natural, it remains a simple sugar. Simple sugars provide a quick source of energy which increases your glycerol (level of sugar in the blood) but offers very little satiety. Fibres help regulate the release of energy at a slower rate, as well as providing better satiety and nourishing the intestinal microbiota. If we had to class these products, first of all, we’d rank fresh fruit which has a  level of satiety, then the smoothy, of which satiety is limited as the fibres are liquidised and then finally, fruit and vegetable juices where there is almost zero fibres.

  • One fruit = one smoothie = 250ml of juice

The second difference is based on the quantities consumed. It’s easy and practical to eat an apple every day. But would you be able to eat 2 or 3 kilos of apples per day?  Probably not…But what about drinking a bottle of juice each day? That’s much easier…..and probably the ‘daily’ for most of you, no? Well, 1 litre of juice is more or less the equivalent of 2 to 3 kilos of fruit. …..

And so yes, that’s the trap with smoothies and juices. It’s hard to limit your consumption. Indeed, with their pleasant taste, these drinks are easy to consume and you can easily end up drinking large quantities without realising it. With no need to chew the process of ingestion isn’t slowed down and with no fibres, these drinks have less nutritional benefits and less satiety which is the physiological signal that tells you to stop consuming. So to respect a balanced diet, a smoothie should contain the equivalent of a portion of fruit or about 150g of mixed fruits and vegetables, ditto for the juice.

Not all are equal in vitamins.

Fruits and vegetables are nutritionally beneficial in their content of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. However, certain preservation techniques used for industrial juices and smoothies, such as pasteurisation or sterilisation for example, can cause a loss of vitamins and minerals (especially vitamin C which oxidises very quickly) which makes these drinks much less beneficial than fresh fruit.

So what to choose?

In the end, fruit juices and smoothies generally contain as many sugars as sodas. A fruit juice, a smoothie, a coke or an ice cream usually contain the equivalent of 5 to 6 sugar cubes in a 250 ml glass. But because of the minerals and vitamins they contain, fruit juices and smoothies will always be a lot better for your health than sodas. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that we must deprive ourselves of them. It is simply important to pay attention to the amount consumed; ideally you shouldn’t surpass a glass of 250 ml of fruit juice or smoothie a day. Homemade drinks are THE SOLUTION, opt for fresh and organic fruits and vegetables, remembering to clean them properly before consumption.

Final tip: vegetable juices don’t have as much sugar as fruit juices. To reduce the amount of sugar in your drinks and to vary the tastes, consider incorporating them into your homemade juices and smoothies. Celeriac, Kale, Cucumber will all bring a touch of originality to your drinks.

If you want to start a detox cure, including homemade juices and smoothies come and discover our detox program.

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