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Juicing vs. Blending

by jenny sansouci on January 13, 2012

Here’s the juicer I use.

Here’s the blender I use.

Juicing vs. Blending – What’s the Difference?

I know this may be obvious to some, but I get a ton of questions about this. Some of the questions I get often:

  • What’s the difference between a juice and a smoothie?
  • What’s better for you – juices or smoothies?
  • What is a Vitamix? Can it make juice?
  • What’s the difference between a juicer and a blender? What can I make with each?

Believe me, there was a time when I didn’t know the answers to these questions. Whenever I heard someone talk about a Vitamix, I thought it was like…some contraption that helps you…mix vitamins?

But now I’m here to break it down for you. Here’s what you need to know.

JUICE:

Juicing is the method of extracting juice, and only juice, from fruits or vegetables. All of the pulp and fiber is removed, which allows the nutrients to assimilate very quickly into your body and bloodstream – this gives your immune system an immediate boost and feeds your cells quick, healing nutrition.

SMOOTHIE:

A smoothie is a blend of whole foods. Nothing is removed (except for non-edible things, like the peel of a banana). Smoothies are generally more of a thick, creamy texture than juices.

WHAT’S “BETTER”?

Juices and smoothies are both fantastic for different reasons.

When you juice, you can drink the nutrients of TONS of fruits/vegetables in one glass, since the pulp/fiber is left behind. I’ve made juice with 3 full heads of kale, which is way more than I could ever drink in a smoothie! Your digestive system gets a break because there are no solids to break down.

Smoothies leave nothing behind – you drink the whole food. You can load smoothies up with yummy things like almond butter for healthy fats. Smoothies are more rich and filling. While smoothies are easier on your digestion than solid foods, they are not as cleansing/detoxing as juices.

If you really feel your digestion needs a big cleansing break and you want to drink boatloads of nutrients at one time, go with juice.

If you’re looking to ease up on the intake of solid foods but still have “meals” that incorporate all of the fiber, healthy fats etc – smoothies are your ticket.

Ideally, you’ll do a little bit of both! There’s nothing I love more than a creamy green smoothie, and my favorite green juice is pure bliss in glass. BOTH are amazing!

EQUIPMENT:

Now that we’ve got that covered – what equipment do you need for each? (And what the heck is a Vitamix?)

JUICES:
To make juices, you will generally need a juicer. Juicers come in many shapes and sizes (and price points) so do your research and decide what’s best for you. I have a Breville Elite juicer which is great, but it’s also the only juicer I’ve ever owned so I can’t compare it to anything else. I’ve heard great things about the Omega, Hurom, and Champion juicers as well. Check them out, see what meets your needs.

How does a juicer work? Well, each one works a little differently. In my Breville, I feed the fruits and veggies into a spout. The pulp is removed and the juice shoots out into a cup.

Breville Juicer


Beautiful green juice!

 

SMOOTHIES:

To make delicious smoothies, you’ll need a blender. Any blender will do, really, but I use a Vitamix. Yes, a Vitamix is a blender. The Vitamix blender is so high-powered, that it turns everything into an super-smooth liquid with absolutely no bits and pieces. It’s IDEAL for making green smoothies. You only need to blend for a few seconds and you’re done!

BUT – no, you don’t NEED a Vitamix to make smoothies. Any blender will do! You probably have one sitting unused in your cabinet right now.

Vitamix blender loaded with goodies A lovely blended smoothie!

 

OK – so now the ultimate equipment questions:

CAN I USE A BLENDER TO MAKE JUICE?

Answer:

Yes, technically, you CAN use a blender to make juice. You’ll have to blend all of the ingredients and then strain the mixture through a cheesecloth.

 

Hot tip: Judge me all you want, but I think a (new, clean) sock works way better than a cheesecloth if you really want to get only liquid out! :)

CAN I USE A JUICER TO MAKE SMOOTHIES?

I don’t think so. Unless you want to make juice first and then add other stuff to it afterwards, but a juicer itself won’t make a blended smoothie.

My juicer I use

The blender I use

Juice & Smoothie Recipes

Get my juice recipes in one easy, printable PDF!

I hope that answers some of your burning questions when it comes to juicing vs. smoothies. Please let me know in the comments section below if there’s anything I haven’t answered!

Cheers to drinking nutrients, in whatever form you choose!

 




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Charmaine January 23, 2012 at 11:31 am

Hi Jen! This may sound like a silly question, but what kind of sock? Like a thin white sock (like the girls’ kind that sometimes has ruffles at the top and gets folded over) or like a basic athletic sock that’s thicker?

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jenny sansouci January 23, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Any kind of sock should be ok!

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Anura January 25, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Great article, Jenny!

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jenny sansouci January 25, 2012 at 8:49 pm

thank you!

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Jennifer January 25, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Hey Jenny, what is the white stuff in your picture of the vitamix. Looks like marshmallows but doubt that’s it. Great article!

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jenny sansouci January 25, 2012 at 8:49 pm

bananas! and cut up apples.

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Colette Siwka July 2, 2012 at 10:05 am

Thak you very much. You gave me all the answers I was locking for! I am a begginer, so, very probably, I will come back with some more questions. I MUST lose a big ammount of pounds, and I hope the juicing and smooties will work!

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Kaley Cuoco September 18, 2012 at 8:00 pm

I don’t think one is better than the other. Juice and smoothie serve two different purposes. Juicing gives your digestive system a rest, while smoothie contains all the fiber to keep you satisfied as a replacement meal. I also have the breville 800jexl juicer. It is a bit pricy. If you don’t want to spend the money, a blender will probably work too…you just have to do a little more work.

PS. The sock thing is ingenious.

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Deidra September 21, 2012 at 7:31 pm

Does anyone know if you can juice asparagus?? I eat alot of asparagus and I notice when I do I feel tons better..don’t know what it is about it. It also helps me with water retention.

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Gabriela November 3, 2012 at 10:30 am

In a juiser I put whole fruits and vegetables, but in blender, I must cut and peeling all. I think this is all the difference.

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Kelly March 25, 2013 at 9:03 pm

Gabriela – a lot of the vitamins and minerals are found in the outer skins so if you have a blender that’s powerful enough, leave as much peel as possible. There is a big difference with a Vitamix and possible some other brands that are different then a regular blender in that they can break up the skins into smaller pieces, closer to being more like a juice. You could experiment but definitely remove the yellow part of an orange, leaving as much of the white as possible.

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Kelly March 25, 2013 at 9:04 pm

Oops, that should read the ‘orange’ outer part of the orange.

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Sarah January 3, 2013 at 3:06 am

Very informative, thank you for going into the details and differences of juicers and blenders. This is wonderful article! I’m planning on buying a juicer tomorrow.

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Erika February 6, 2013 at 2:35 pm

I’ve never used a juicer before but thinking about buying one… Curious about the pulp and “stuff” that gets removed from the juice though. What happens to it? Do you just throw it out or is it useful for anything?

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James February 13, 2013 at 6:21 pm

Great article.

I recently was a given a Champion Juicer, and we bought the ninja blender. So what we started doing was blending all the fruits and veggies and then threw it in the Champion Juicer.

Do you think it’s a bad ?

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Tristin March 11, 2013 at 1:34 pm

If you are juicing or doing smoothies, is it better to add additives like mesquite, bee pollen, maca directly to the blender/juicer/vitamix or do you recommend adding them afterward to your finished product?

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Cynthia March 12, 2013 at 7:01 pm

Thank you so much…great info for starting on my way

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Heather March 25, 2013 at 3:43 pm

Thanks! This was actually super helpful. I’ve been wondering if I really need to go out and buy a juicer when I have like 3 blenders collecting dust at home. Guess I should just invest in some clean socks! :)

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Kelly March 25, 2013 at 9:06 pm

Thanks for the comparison. I’m hooked on my Vitamix but I can see the benefits of drinking just the juice. Would you suggest though that adding a smoothie which has the added fiber is necessary instead of only juicing?

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reycorral09@yahoo.com April 17, 2013 at 6:27 am

Thanks this helped me out a lot

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gregg April 19, 2013 at 12:24 pm

I used to juice, but logic told me that while I was cleaning out the pulp a lot of nutritious stuff was going in the garbage. I got a vitamix and believe that I am now getting all the nutrients available. Let me say that the vitamix is not just a blender, it is what you use to blend your old blender. Admittedly, juicing renders a more easily consumed product, but a less nutritious one.
My daily blend:
two cloves garlic, healthy slice of fresh ginger, a bit of habanero pepper, lemon, lime, carrot, celery, cucumber, kale, half a red bell pepper, half a medium size beet, parsley, cod liver and/or flax oil and some V8 juice to add liquid. It’s not for everybody but I’ve come to love it.
Juicing is for wimps.

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Tina May 13, 2013 at 6:48 pm

Hey Jenny,
Thanks for your explanation. I heard that vitamix blend fruit/veggie very fine, and I wonder if it taste like juice? I plan to make some veggie drink. Will you recommend a juicer or vitamix? It’s a bit expensive to have both.

Thanks

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Mel May 17, 2013 at 12:49 am

Thanks so much for this article! While at Costco today the Vitamix salesman extraordinaire pretty much discredited my Breville juicer and smashed it to bits with all his cool recipes and 2500 hp jargon and had my hubby wanting me to sell my juicer and get a Vitamix lol. I absolutely love my juicer and feel so great after drinking my juices and cannot get over how much nutrition you can get in just one juice! I love it! However I can also see the benefit of using a blender like the Vitamix to make smoothies to incorporate more of the fiber and vitamins from the vegetables and fruits that we miss out on from the juices. Thanks again and if anything we will be owning both the Vitamix & Breville :)

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Jeannine June 1, 2013 at 6:57 am

Great article! I already own a Breville juicer and have been on the fence about whether or not to also buy a Vitamix—you have convinced me that both are worthwhile having in my kitchen! Thanks!

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Brandon June 2, 2013 at 3:56 pm

I have a Vitamix and love it. I have been contemplating buying a juicer also. I strain my juices through a nutmeg bag and it works ok. I am just wondering if there is a difference between doing this strain and a juicer? Thoughts?

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Andrew Schruers June 9, 2013 at 3:09 am

I have both and my juicer has been gathering dust since I got my VM. Save your $. They are just to time consuming to clean.

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Andrew Schruers June 9, 2013 at 3:10 am

“Too time consuming” as it were

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Andrew Schruers June 9, 2013 at 3:05 am

I have been down both roads, actually 3 different ones. Started off with a high speed centrifugal juicer, like your breville. Mine was the jack lalane model for under $100. It was fast and not too bad to clean, but just did a terrible job with greens. A bunch of kale or pound of spinach would yield less than a cup of juice and a ton of pulp (waste). So I did my research and spent close to $400 on a top of the line greenstar 3000 twin gear masticating juicer. It has 2 “screws” that crush and smash most anything run through them. Excellent for greens and hard fruits and veggies, but left a wet pulp when juicing soft fruits like citrus or cucumber. But all that aside, after a few months of everyday juicing and lengthy cleaning, I tired of spending nearly an hour just to make a quart or two of juice. And the juice oxidized so fast I had to basically chug it down within an hour or two. It gave me good energy but also quite a sugar rush and consequent crash. Plus I never felt full afterwards. That is along with the fact that I was throwing away more pulp than the juice it produced. I was raised to not EVER throw food away, especially spendy organic stuff. It killed me. Tried to use it for other stuff, but after the time spent chopping, peeling, juicing, Nd cleaning, it ended up in the compost heap. So after a few months of use once or twice a week, both juicers became too much of a hassle and expense to use often. Constantly reading and learning, I discovered green smoothies. This sounded like the answer to my prayers. No waste, no crash, feel full, all the fiber for health, quick prep and cleanup, cheaper, and last longer without oxidation. So I tried my first green smoothie with my $75 cuisinart. Chunky, mealy, and inedible. More research. Discovered high speed and high powered blenders like vitamix and blendtec. But which is better? After touching both units, the choice was easy. Blendtec feels flimsy and hollow. Plus the electronic buttons will surely be the first thing to break. VM felt sturdy, heavy and solid. Plus they’ve been around for 80 years. 2 years after my purchase and I still use my vitamix every single day. My garden supplies a ton of greens in winter and citrus from our trees. I love it so much. 10year warranty is awesome too. A full blender gives me 64 oz of smoothie. Half gets added raw protein for breakfast, and half without for lunch. Could not be happier with my purchase. Juicers are great dont get me wrong. But an appliance is only good if you use it

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Lynda Lee June 10, 2013 at 10:22 pm

Excellent posts & info about JUICING VS. SMOOTHIES… I feel like a dunce asking this question… BUT, I am still confused. I thought the Vitamix would ‘pulverize’ fruits & veggies & make them a ‘liquid-like’ consistency. Generally, I don’t want a semi-thick veggie smoothie (even with fruits). I want more liquid, BUT I want the fiber… How can I determine the consistency of the Vitamix before purchasing one? I am returning a Ninja Pro 1660 model that reviews said would give a ‘Vitamix-like’ texture to veggies. The texture is still too thick for me. I don’t need ‘juice thin’ texture, but not alot of texture. Any suggestions / comments will be appreciated. Thanks so much.

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jenny sansouci June 12, 2013 at 9:12 pm

Hi Lynda, the Vitamix will make it extremely smooth, but it won’t be a juice. I highly recommend it.

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Ric August 2, 2013 at 7:32 am

To thin out a smoothie I just add clean filtered water or almond milk.

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Jeff Rowell October 4, 2013 at 1:25 am

Hey folks, I just finished a 21day juice and smoothie diet or cleanse, whatever you wanna call it. I feel absolutly fantantastic, I have tons of energy, no more naps after wk, I really do feel good. An added bonus on top of the detox was losing 17 very unwanted pounds. Try it, in the beginning it was difficult but you’ll get used to it.

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Jeri James November 18, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Thanks for the help answering my question about the difference between juicing and “smoothering”:) My hubby and I just did a 2 day cleanse with green smoothies and funny to say, he lost weight and I gained. Super weird…by the morning of the day we broke our cleanse, I had finally dropped some poundage. I typically eat a low cal diet anyway and my thought was that with all the pulp n stuff, it may have taken longer for my body to process what was happening?

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MAUREEN November 20, 2013 at 12:09 pm

with all these new juicing powerful blenders that pulverize the whole fruit, would it be the same to use a juicer then blend the juice with the pulp in a blender?

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Kayla December 11, 2013 at 10:26 am

Hi, I’m new to all of this and i loved your article. It really helped me understand the true difference.. but, I’m curios about the vita mix.. you said it makes things very smooth in a matter of seconds, and someone else mentioned that its advertised to an “almost” juice like consistency. Thats great! but sometimes i don’t want it that smooth if that makes sense? will the vita mix allow me to make thicker, creamier stuff as well? Thanks in advance! :)

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Hung January 2, 2014 at 11:29 pm

Awesome article! Very informative, clear, and concise. I’m glad I clicked on this one first in my google search.

You mention in your article that you juice to detox more and make smoothies for like “full meals.” In that case, do you drink more smoothies regularly and detox with juice once in a while? What do you recommend? Thanks!

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Jamika February 27, 2014 at 2:03 pm

I want to start juicing and travel a lot for work. I was thinking of getting the nutribullet because it’s compact and I can pack it in my suitcase and just get fruit/veggies from the local market….however is that a juicer or a blender? Is the nutribullet a good brand to start with?

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jenny sansouci February 28, 2014 at 5:10 pm

Nutribullet is fab. It’s a blender, not a juicer.

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marilu diller March 2, 2014 at 3:29 pm

what is raw protein added to the smoothy in one of the above wonderful articles.. they were very helpful. have a breville, and looking at the vitamix. All suggestions are welcome.

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Stella March 2, 2014 at 10:23 pm

Dear Jenny,
Thank you so much. I find your article very informative and exactly what I was looking for. It did respond to all the questions I had, but the difference between having a masticating Juicer and a Vitamix. Can the Vitamix keep all the enzymes as the masticating juicer? If I were to buy only one machine, I guess that you would recommend to get the Vitamix since it can juice provided I strain the pulp. Is that correct?

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jenny sansouci May 1, 2014 at 5:47 pm

Yes. Vitamix for the win.

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Gail Pask June 29, 2014 at 11:52 am

Loved the article. What is the difference between a vitamix and a Nutribullet. I juice but need something for smoothies. Which is better. Thanks, Gail

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Gail Pask June 29, 2014 at 11:54 am

Is vitamix or Nutribullet better?

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Paul September 7, 2014 at 9:22 pm

Hi Jenny thanks a million for your advice I am new to all this. Your article was very helpful.

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