Super sludges, when made correctly, are the easiest way to get your fruit fix
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Smoothies have made waves in the fitness and active lifestyle community for years. It’s one of the easiest and most creative ways to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet. Turning them into a drink lets you bring around a boost of vitamins and minerals wherever you go. Smoothies are similar to juices, but what’s the difference? A lot.
The thing about smoothies (or shakes for some of us) is that they’re a blend of a bunch of whole fruits and vegetables—skin, seeds, and all. The rule of thumb for nutritionists is that consuming something closer to the actual fruit is best, and smoothies let you do that. You aren’t just extracting one thing from the fruits, but you’re also eating the pulp and fibers. Smoothies are easier to play around with because you can mix different fruits or vegetables to the drink, and they wouldn’t taste as odd. Think about it, juicing leafy vegetables like kale or spinach gives off a weirdly unpleasant taste. But with smoothies, you’d barely even get to taste these greens.
However, some fruit and vegetable combinations just don’t mix. For example, you should never mix high protein foods, like guava and spinach, with starchy ones, like potatoes and corn. Why? Because your body needs to be acidic to process protein and alkaline for starch so when the two are together, they neutralize each other and hinder digestion. Leafy greens are also best paired with fruits because some non-leafy vegetables make it slower to digest fruit. One example is orange and carrots that, when eaten together, can actually cause heartburn.
Another downside though of smoothies is that you can end up eating way more than you intended. While smoothies are conceptually low-calorie, adding, say, two or three fruits with other calorie-heavy stuff like milk or chocolate will throw your diet off. You might end up unknowingly drinking more than a meal’s worth of calories.
One of the primary benefits of juicing is that it makes nutrients readily available to you. When juicing, the water and nutrients are extracted while the rest of the fruit or vegetable is discarded. In a way, you can better consume nutrients because you don’t have fiber getting in the way of digestion, but this also becomes a disadvantage.
All the other things that juicing discards has their health benefits, too. Like fiber. Less fiber means it’s less filling, so you won’t be able to have juices as replacement for snacks or meals like what some people do with smoothies. Fiber also helps slow down fructose absorption according to a New York Times article. It’s for this reason that drinking juice without any other food can make your blood sugar spike.
Taking everything into consideration, it’s no surprise that smoothies have replaced juices in the health drink category. Between the two, it’s the closest you can get to eating whole fruits. Just be wary of how much you’re adding in so that it doesn’t end up with more calories than you intended.