Just like many other diet fads in United States, “ juicing ” [replacing meals for juice] has climbed to top of the charts, but is it actually good for you? The bottles of green juice range from $3.99 – $12.99, and are packed with everything from kale and spinach to celery, cucumbers and parsley, so they have to be good for you, right? Not necessarily.

“Juicing” to replace a single meal (or all the meals in a day) has been proven to have negative benefits to your health. When we think of what cold-pressed juice is composed of (fruits and veggies) our first thought is, “well of course it’s healthy!’ But some companies squeeze a whooping 60 g of sugar into a bottle, so don’t be tricked by the green color. Some will argue that the sugar is coming from fruit so it’s healthy. Yes, the sugar is coming from fruit, but no, you don’t need 60g of sugar in one sitting.

So how should these juices fit into a daily diet? In moderation. There are some brands such as Evolution Fresh and Suja that have less than 10g of sugar per serving. In that case, these juices can be a great addition to the diet. Hear that? addition. These juices should never replace a meal. They are made up of only fruits and vegetables, and to create a balanced meal, your plate should comprise 50 percent veggies, 25 percent protein and 25 percent carbohydrate.

I love to recommend the juices (less than 10 g of sugar per serving) to my clients in specific instances. For example, if you are traveling and it is hard to get veggies in, these are a great option! They are also conveniently sold at Starbucks which is located at pretty much every Airport and street corner in the U.S. Have you ever gotten to the end of the day and realized that you barely got 1 serving of veggies into your diet? These drinks are a great option if you don’t have time to buy, prep and cook veggies. Juices are definitely lacking the fiber that fresh fruits and veggies provide our body with, but every now and then they can be a great option.

Summary: DO NOT replace your meals with a juice. You will cause your blood sugar to spike, crash and find yourself hungry (hangry) very soon after! Use the lower sugar varieties (10 g or less) as a healthy addition to different meals and snacks, especially while traveling or if you didn’t get many veggies in.

-by Samantha Previte, RD, LDN, CPT, www.dietitiansofpalmvalley.com 904-250-0075 @dietitiansofpalmvalley

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