As soon as green juice reached peak trendiness, juice stores and companies became as ubiquitous as Starbucks. It’s also easy to make juices at home, with plenty of affordable juicers on the market. Since most people aren’t getting their recommended 6–8 servings of vegetables a day, drinking a green juice can help you reach that goal and enhance a healthy diet.
However, watch out for these five common mistakes so your green beverage doesn’t prevent you from losing weight:
It’s easy to think of green juice as a healthy addition to your day, but, just like soda, juices contain anywhere from 100–300 calories depending on the serving size and ingredients. If you’re adding a green juice each day without subtracting anything else from your diet, it could prohibit you from losing weight, and you could even add a few pounds.
Moreover, a juice isn’t a good meal substitute. Use your juice as a mid-morning snack or pair it with a protein-packed salad for lunch.
Green juice should be packed with mostly vegetables and only a small amount of fruit, if any. If your drink contains mostly fruit, you’re likely going over the amount of sugar you should have in one sitting and you’ll suffer a sugar crash later. The calorie count might be higher, too. A good rule is to make green vegetables the base of every drink and to try not to add more than one or two fruits or sweet vegetables like carrots and beets.
It’s tempting to make or buy several days worth of juice for convenience sake, but if you’re truly after the health benefits, it’s best to drink green juice as fresh as possible. The more light and air the juice is exposed to, the more nutrients and antioxidants will be destroyed.
While the occasional green juice can play a nutritious role in a well-balanced diet, a juice cleanse isn’t sustainable for weight loss. You’ll be missing valuable protein, fiber and healthy fats the body needs to function optimally. There’s also no scientific evidence that drinking only juice for any period of time detoxifies the body.
Sip your juice slowly and even try to let it swish around your mouth a bit if you can. Digestion begins in the mouth, so taking your time to drink the beverage allows your digestive enzymes to start doing their job while you absorb nutrients. This helps you feel fuller and helps prevent overeating later.