Juice diets have always been popular for the widely accepted concept that eating more vegetables in any shape or form will be healthy for your body. Green juice is one of the biggest and most popular health and wellness trends, but does drinking the juice of leafy vegetables help you lose weight?
Drinking green juice or doing a green juice fast can help you lose weight in the short term, but you may see an increase in weight gain when you start eating regularly. While drinking green juice in moderation can help with weight loss, it also has downsides, like lost nutrients and kidney damage.
This article will explain a couple of topics related to this question, including what green juice is, potential health benefits and potential downsides, and if green juice can help you lose weight. Keep reading if you want to learn more!
What Is Green Juice?
Green juice is a drink made from the juice of green leafy vegetables. While there is no official recipe, popular ingredients usually include spinach, celery, kale, cucumber, romaine lettuce, and mint with an occasional fruit to sweeten and improve the overall taste. After all, green juice tends to taste very grassy and bitter, and many people need some sweetening agent to make the beverage easier to drink.
Enthusiasts and fans of green juice prefer purchasing vegetables and juicing at home to guarantee freshness, but many commercial and specialty juice shops can make these drinks for you. These commercial and bottled green juices are often pasteurized, which extends shelf life, kills bacteria, and damages the nutrients and plant compounds that are heat-sensitive.
How Can Green Juice Help With Weight Loss?
Green juice can help shed those extra pounds and weight loss if you drink it instead of other unhealthy beverages, such as soda or sugary smoothies. If you’re drinking it as a snack and not calorie-dense goodies, such as cookies or chips, you can maintain a calorie deficit in order to lose weight. Drinking leafy greens is efficient and an easy way to boost your daily intake of nutrients.
You might want to do a juice diet that limits the intake of solid food and restricts calories while only drinking green juice, which can help you experience short-term weight loss. However, this weight loss is usually from the loss of water, and you’ll most likely gain the pounds back when you restart your regular meals. Weight loss eventually comes down to eating fewer calories than you expend.
If drinking green juice helps you avoid calorie-dense beverages or snacks such as milkshakes and ice cream, then juicing will help you drop some excess pounds. A study in 2017 found that those who juiced for three days lost about on average two pounds (0.91 kg), and there was “an increase in gut bacteria associated with weight loss.”
However, this weight loss can also be due to the severe cut in calories burned through the glycogen stores, which carry water- so the noted weight loss on the scale is not necessarily a loss in body fat.
If you plan on losing weight while drinking green juice, it’ll be more beneficial to drink green juice lower in sugar. Some vegetables that are lower in sugar include celery, kale, and spinach. Go light on the fruit and add more leafy green vegetables instead. Generally, it’s recommended to moderate the amount of green juice you drink a day to one 8-ounce (236.59-ml) glass.
Know Yourself When Juicing
The best way to juice is to think of green juice as an extra add-on rather than a meal replacement. Undertake a diet with whole grains, healthy fats, vegetables, and moderate portions of lean proteins with green juice to complement your daily meals. Drinking only green juice for more than a couple of days or long-term is generally unsustainable from a purely health perspective.
Be sure to have a conversation with your doctor if you’re about to do a regular green juice diet, especially if you have hypoglycemia or diabetes. You might want to add sweeteners or fruit that could make your blood sugar soar to high levels. Additionally, it’s noted to avoid juicing if you have a history of restrictive eating, as juicing can encourage disordered eating patterns.
What Are the Potential Benefits of Drinking Green Juice?
Green juice is not a replacement for a well-balanced and healthy diet, but it has much of the same health advantages as consuming more fruits and vegetables. Green vegetable juice is a fantastic source of many essential minerals, vitamins, and plant compounds.
For instance, kale and swiss chard have high amounts of vitamin A and vitamin K. Wheatgrass, another popular ingredient in green juice, is high in iron and vitamin C.
According to research, eating these leafy vegetables regularly will help minimize any risk of heart disease, mental deterioration, and inflammation as you become older. There’s also evidence that fresh juice has specific compounds that can function as prebiotics that promote beneficial bacteria’s growth in your gut.
What Are the Potential Downsides of Drinking Green Juice?
While green juice can help you consume more vegetables, it can also make you feel hungry. Compared to eating regular meals or even a protein smoothie, green juice lacks fiber, protein, and fat. Digesting nutrients takes time which helps you feel fuller for longer. Some people are satisfied with sipping green juice, while others note that it’s not physically satisfying.
Drinking green juice can be beneficial for your body, but long juice fasts only drinking green juice can be risky. Restricting yourself to just green juice means that you miss out on nutrients you get from a well-rounded diet. Over time, you will experience deficiencies that can weaken your body as you are not providing your body with the macronutrients and micronutrients you need daily.
Too much consumption of green juice may cause harm to your kidneys due to the high source of oxalate. Oxalates are considered an antinutrient as it stops your digestive tract from absorbing minerals in food and can lead to kidney stones. Recent kidney failure cases have been attributed to the consumption of too many oxalates from drinking green juice.
Therefore, moderation is critical, especially if you plan on including green juice in your daily diet.
How Can I Make the Best Green Juice?
If you’re planning to make green juice at home, here are some ingredients worth juicing:
- Kale: This leafy vegetable is chock full of B-complex vitamins and minerals, which can help you derive energy from other vital nutrients.
- Celery: This crunchy vegetable is an excellent source of natural organic sodium, which replaces the electrolytes lost from sweaty workouts.
- Cucumber: Not only is this vegetable refreshing, but it’s also a natural diuretic.
- Watermelon: This fruit has been found to reduce sore muscles after a workout. Additionally, this fruit can help sweeten up your green juice.
- Grapefruit: Not only does this fruit may keep you from feeling hungry, but it may also speed up your metabolism.
You might get the most health benefits from the green juice you make yourself. If you pick up a bottle of green juice at a store, select a drink containing more vegetable ingredients with low sugar content.
Some bottled and commercialized green juice can contain up to 50 grams (1.76 oz) of sugar and be more than 250 calories a bottle. Considering that a 15-ounce (443.6-ml) bottle of soda contains about 50 grams (1.76 oz) of sugar, the green juice may not be the appropriate “healthy” choice.
Green juice is made from leafy greens and is high in nutrients and plant compounds beneficial to your body. While consuming only green juice may help you experience weight loss on a short-term basis, it’s recommended to drink it in moderation as part of a well-balanced diet.
- Healthline: What is green juice?
- Simple Nourished Living: Dr. Oz’s Green Drink
- National Library of Medicine: Health benefit of vegetable/fruit juice-based diet: Role of microbiome
- National Library of Medicine: The effect of green leafy and cruciferous vegetable intake on the incidence of cardiovascular disease
- Men’s Health: What You Should Know Before Trying Juicing for Weight Loss
- SFGate: Health Benefits & Weight Loss With Drinking Green Juice
- National Library of Medicine: Oxalate nephropathy due to juicing: case report and review