The smoothie vs juice debate has been around for a long, long time. But yesterday, a look into Super Bowl-winning quarterback Tom Brady’s diet gave us an idea of which side he favors.
We took a peek into his fridge and saw nothing but whole plant-based ingredients! Okay, chocolate too.
What does Tom Brady do with all those whole fruits, vegetables, and greens? He eats them as is, turns them into a salad or other meal, or blends them into a smoothie.
What does he not do with them? He gives no indication of turning them into juice.
Yet, USDA-compiled data shows, as of 2018, Americans were consuming most of their fruit as apple and orange juice! They drank 17.9 pounds of juiced oranges and 13.7 pounds of juiced apples that year.
Judging from his fridge and kitchen-counter bowl’s contents, Tom Brady’s a big fan of both fruits. And every morning or before every game, he drinks a fresh fruit smoothie.
However, his extensive interview in the January 2021 issue of Men’s Health magazine makes no mention of juice! So why is he smart for choosing the smoothie side in the smoothie vs juice debate?
Smoothie vs. Juice: The Fiber Difference
Juicing is one of the worst ways to get our fruits and vegetables. Why?
Because it removes one of the fruits’ most vital nutrients – fiber!
Fiber, which we can only get from plant-based ingredients, is essential for healthy digestion. Fiber Fueled author Dr. Will Bulsiewicz writes:
“Of all the essential nutrients, this may be the greatest, most prevalent deficiency.”
Stripping the fiber from fruit has significant health consequences for anyone concerned about sugar intake. “Dr. B.” explains:
“When you juice your fruit, you are removing most of the fiber and artificially concentrating the sugar! Fruit juice is a sugar beverage, created by manipulation of a whole food.”
Compare the nutrients in one small orange to those in 1 cup of orange juice:
- 45 calories
- 2.3 grams of fiber
- 9 grams of sugar
1 cup of orange juice:
- 134 calories
- 0.5 grams of Fiber
- 23.3 grams of sugar
In other words, the OJ contains three times the calories and 2.5 times the sugar of the orange!
The sugar in a whole orange is healthy only because we consume it as nature intended –with its fiber intact! And not only the fiber but the polyphenol phytonutrients attached as well.
What about America’s 2nd-favorite fruit juice?
In this NutritionFacts video, Dr. Greger goes as far as to warn, “So, apple juice, in this respect, may be even worse than sugar water.”
Green and Veggie Juice vs Fruit Juice
Juicing greens and veggies is better than juicing instead of apples and oranges, but far from ideal. As Dr. B says, “I’m not anti-juice; I’m just pro-smoothie.”
Juice – especially cold-pressed veggie and greens juice – is superior to many other drinks. But it falls well short of a smoothie made from veggies and greens.
Think of it this way:
- Bad: Cow’s milk, beer, and soda
- Fair: Juice
- Good: Smoothie
- Best: Whole fruits and vegetables
My Smoothie vs Juice Decision: Take Juice off the Menu
Wait? Am I not the founder of a juice bar?
Yes – but in 2020, I took juice off the menu. The decision wasn’t popular with all our customers, one of whom asked:
“How could you sell juice all these years, and now you’re saying that it’s not good for me?”
I should’ve done more research on the smoothie vs juice question before opening my restaurant. I regret not providing exclusively the healthier one during its early years.
But the research I’ve done since starting the plantbased.com blog showed me we could do better. Now, whole-food Produce Blend smoothies have replaced all our cold-pressed juices.
The decision has hurt our business a little, and the finance team still encourages returning juices to the menu. As a matter of principle, we won’t.
The sad reality is that only 3 percent of Americans get enough dietary fiber. The average American consumes less than half of the American Heart Association’s recommended 25 to 30 grams per day.
In the smoothie vs juice debate, we have a clear winner: smoothies!
So let’s join smoothie-fueled Tom Brady and fill our refrigerators with vegetables, fruits, and greens. Then rinse and enjoy them as is, toss them into salads or soups, or blend them up in whole-food, fiber-rich smoothies!