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Juicing is trendy. Look around and you’ll find new juice bars popping up all around the country. Proponents of juicing claim better health, more radiant skin, and weight loss from regularly consuming freshly pressed juice.
Too Much Hidden Sugar?
While freshly pressed juice is full of vitamins, mineral, and antioxidants, it is also full of fast-acting sugar. Once the juice is extracted from the fruits and vegetables, it leaves behind the precious fiber that is vital for good digestion and slowing down a spike in blood sugar. The amount of sugar will vary, depending on the blend of fruits and vegetables that are used in the juice recipe. A juice blend that is a 50/50 mix of fruits and vegetables will be very high in sugar. A better ratio of fruit to vegetables in juice is 20/80, with most of the vegetables being leafy greens, which are lower in sugar.
See also All About Juicing.
The Benefits of Fiber-Rich Smoothies
A better option would be to throw all of those vegetables and one piece of fruit into a high-powered blender along with some almond milk, protein powder, chia seeds (or other seed, such as ground flax or hemp), and some ice for a thick and filling meal or snack. Smoothies and shakes with this balance of ingredients will have a better macronutrient profile, lots of belly-filling fiber and all of the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants you need to decrease inflammation and promote better health. Plus, they are very satiating, which will help if you are trying to lose weight.
To really kick the nutrition profile of your smoothie up a notch or two, try adding one of these nutritional superstars: turmeric, cinnamon, matcha, ginger, raw cacao, raw nut butters, virgin coconut oil or avocado. You best bets for fruit will be berries as they are lower in sugar and higher in antioxidants and fiber compared to other fruits. Green leafy vegetables, like organic baby spinach and kale, blend easily into smoothies and do not have an overpowering flavor.
Don’t Drink Your Calories
Commercially prepared juices and smoothies can set you back a few hundred calories, which can hamper weight loss efforts. Studies have found that when people drink their calories, they do not compensate for them by eating less later in the day. Over time, the additional calories can add up to undesirable weight gain. In order to prevent this or promote a weight loss, choose a homemade smoothie rather than a juice, one that has ample protein and fiber to help you feel fuller for longer.
A smoothie a day can keep the pounds away, as well as reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer, as long as the ingredients provide a balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fat.
Get smoothie power! Try 5 Easy & Energizing Smoothie Recipes.
Registered dietitians Tiffani Bachus and Erin Macdonald are the co-founders and creators of URockGirl.com, a website dedicated to promoting wellness and a healthy, balanced lifestyle.