The Pros and Cons Of Starting Your Day With Juice

By Isadora Baum

When it comes to starting your day off with breakfast, you might pair whatever you're eating with a tall glass of OJ or grapefruit juice. Or, you might even ditch food altogether in favor a morning juice.

Yet, while these juices might taste flavorful, they might not be the best option for AM fuel. OJ in particular isn't effective, as it is packed with sugar and low in other nutrients, leading to blood sugar spikes and lack of satiety. So, it's best to know which juices might actually benefit you over which could be problematic.

Here are a few juices that could be helpful in the AM, as well as those that should be avoided in favor of water, unsweetened tea, or coffee, instead.

Juices to Avoid

"The only time I am a fan of juice is when it's at room temperature, has fiber, and is either from vegetables, nuts, or lemons," says Dr. Elizabeth Trattner, a.p., Integrative Medicine practitioner and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) expert.

Juices that are too high in fructose, which can spike insulin and make the liver fatty, can be problematic for your health, she says. And, juice is not a meal replacement, she adds. In fact, "in TCM [it] can cause dampness, chi depletion and coldness," she says.

So, the ones to avoid? Those with "all fruit and no fiber, it doesn't matter what's in it. It is all fructose and too much of a glycemic load," she says. That means, straight OJ, sweetened teas, and juices that contain tons of fruit and no veggies are off limits.

It's just empty calories and sugar, and it won't tide you over.

The Best Juices to Have

Instead, choose those with fiber, veggies, nuts or nut milk for protein, and citrus, like lemons, to create balance in the body, she says.

smoothie
credit: Unsplash

Here are a few options from Trattner: spinach, kale, celery, ginger, and cucumber. This juice is high in antioxidants, fiber, vitamins A and C, and minerals, to promote better health and fill you up. Notice how green it is? That's a good clue that it's healthy.

Another one? Lemon, water, and ginger. It's "warming and alkaline and tonifies digestion in TCM," she says. Plus, it's also anti-inflammatory from the ginger.

And, juices that have some protein are always a good option in the morning, too. "Smoothies made with either coconut milk or almond milk, cacao, dates, vanilla and cinnamon for digestion," is a great option, she says. Here, blood sugar is stabilized with fat and cinnamon, and cacao is rich in antioxidants, she explains.