Juices, Smoothies and UGo
There has been a recent craze about health foods, and even more recently, health drinks. From after-gym protein shakes and smoothies to liquid cleanses, there seems to be an ever-growing number of options out there. It seems that there are more and more convenient ways for people to stay healthy and get their nutrition on many budgets; from the $5 on-the go snack at the grocery store, to the $12 cold pressed juice at your local health store.
Obviously, there have been ongoing debates on what the healthiest form of meal consumption is, and many health experts have their own claims surrounding what’s best for your body. Unfortunately, a huge number of the so-called “gurus” have limited knowledge in nutrition and medicine, and their opinions are based on false information. So where do you go?
While there are many fruits and vegetables that have a variety of health benefits, the way you consume them does affect how your body metabolizes them and, as a result, which of these nutrients are absorbed by your body. So what’s better – smoothies or juices? Well, that really depends on what you are looking to accomplish, but here’s my (ALMOST UNBIASED) breakdown:
Juices are extracted nutrients of fruits and vegetables caused by breaking down cell walls and collecting the liquids within. It is also separated from all the solid material.
Pros: Juice does not contain the fiber of the plant and some of the nutrients that remain within. Juice offers a high concentration of nutrients that can be quickly absorbed by your body. In addition it leaves the majority of nutrients in tact by limiting oxidation during the process of making it. Cold-pressed juicers ensure the fruit is quickly transformed to juice and sent into a cup, which limits exposure to oxygen.
Cons: Since juice separates the liquid from the solid fiber, it lacks any solid material. This means the sugar is quickly absorbed by your body and causes a glycemic spike, which is fine if you are about to do some rigorous exercise, but bad if you are doing your daily routine. This means you have a spike of energy as your body quickly absorbs the sugar in your juice (similar to drinking soda) and then a crash, where you can experience a loss of energy and a bad mood.
Smoothies involve blending the entire fruit or vegetable into a mixture that includes the nutrients within the cell wall as well as all the fiber within the plant.
Pros: This means that the drinker gets the benefit of improved digestion through the fiber intake as well as the nutrients lying within it. Fiber also helps slow down nutrient absorption, so you don’t have a high glycemic spike especially since the fiber slows you down from gulping it down in a few seconds (which helps you digest it better).
Cons: Using a blender – especially a high-speed commercial one- introduces an air vortex that mixes air into the mixture at up to hundred of miles an hour. This causes oxidation (the same thing that causes apple slices to turn brown in the air) where oxygen causes the nutrients to break down. Since smoothies have a lot of plant surface area due to breaking it down into small parts, and the air is hitting it quickly, this can cause a notable amount nutrient break-down.
I wanted to figure out a way to get the benefits of both juices and smoothies – a way to keep all the great fiber of the plant while not breaking down its important nutrients. The way we did it at Ugo was to create a machine that creates a smoothie, which limits the amount of oxygen mixed in.
Instead of using a traditional blender, we use an immersion blender that blends the smoothie right in the cup. Not only does the immersion not mix oxygen in the smoothie, its blades are much slower. The blender we use spins at less than half the speed of commercial blenders at smoothie stores and also has smaller blades, which reduces the speed at which the mixture is circulating. In addition, we did all this while lowering the blend time through using sensors and automating the entire process.