The question: “I started drinking juices to improve my health and lose weight, but I’ve actually gained a couple pounds since I started. What gives?”
The expert: Jaclyn London, M.S., R.D., a senior dietician at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City
The answer: More and more celebs say they swear by juicing—but London says it can also be a cause of unexpected weight gain. Why? When you drink juice, you’re getting all of the sugar in the fruits and veggies it contains—but none of the fiber that fills you up, says London.
“You’re also missing some of the other macronutrients, like protein and healthy fats, so you’re not feeling satiated,” she says. In other words, while your favorite green juice might pack beneficial antioxidants, it won’t leave you feeling as full as if you’d noshed on an apple or celery stalks. And if you’re too hungry, you can end up bingeing later on, says London.
So while you’ shouldn’t go on a juice-only diet, it’s OK to still have a morning smoothie or green juice—so long as you sip smart and don’t forget to take your juice calories into account. London says if you’re replacing a morning meal with juice, you should opt for one with fiber and protein. Choose a thicker, smoothie-like juice with ingredients like nut butters, chia, and cashew or hemp milk. Your drink should be around 200 to 300 calories and contain at least six grams of protein and five grams of fiber to keep you full. Green juices can also make good snacks, especially if you’re on-the-go. “Just look for one that’s about 100 calories,” says London. “As long as you take that into account, you should be OK.”