Skip This, Sip That: Navigating Juices On the Go
Is Green Actually Good?
With health food and juicing being trendier than ever (yay!), it's now easier than ever to find cold-pressed, organic, and natural juice products on the shelves of places like Target, Costco, Starbucks, and even Walmart.
But buyer, be wary: what's in your juice? Before you grab green, read the label. Just because it looks healthy doesn't mean it is healthy. Granted, there's no harm in putting fruits and vegetables in your body—we're big advocates of that. But if you're monitoring your sugar intake, you may want to take a closer look at nutrition information before cracking open a to-go bottle of greens.
A big factor to look out for? Apple juice. Many prepackaged green juices use it as a base, and it's super high in sugar. Some of these green drinks will have as much (if not significantly more) sugar as a can of Coke. Seriously. While fruit juice is definitely better than high fructose corn syrup, it's still important to educate yourself and be mindful of what you're consuming. Here's a quick guide to four staple brands you can find in most store shelves: Naked, Suja, Odwalla, and Evolution Fresh.
Naked: Green Machine vs. Peachy Almond
At first glance, you might guess that Green Machine was the lower sugar option. After all, the juice on the right looks like a smoothie or milkshake! Surprisingly, Naked's Green Machine has over 50 grams of sugar. That's significantly higher than an average can of soda—a 12-ounce can of Coke has 39 grams of sugar. We searched for another green offering from Naked, but even the Kale Blazer has about 34 grams of sugar.
The Peachy Almond Nutmilk is still on the high side with 26 grams, but it's still half the sugar of Green Machine. With high levels of protein and a good chunk of your daily magnesium, vitamin E, and iron, this is a lower sugar, tasty alternative that'll leave you feeling full.
Suja: Green Delight vs. Twelve Essentials
The organic Green Delight smoothie from Suja is definitely packed with vitamins and minerals thanks to whole, natural ingredients, but the high-sugar banana, apple, and mango will spike your daily intake (40 grams of sugar in a 12-ounce bottle).
If you're cutting back on sugar, opt for Twelve Essentials. At only eight grams of sugar per 16-ounce bottle, you're getting all greens, with a little mint tea, lemon, and ginger. This is probably the closest you can come to a fresh cold-pressed juice from a restaurant or cafe in a prepackaged bottle from Whole Foods or Target.
Odwalla: Original Superfood vs. Groovin' Greens
First indicator of sugar content: smoothie vs. juice. The Original Superfood from Odwalla has been a grocery store go-to for quite some time, but many of us have been mindlessly sipping 51 grams of sugar per bottle. If you've been grabbing this "green juice" because you're trying to make a better, less sugary choice, it's been tricking you!
Try Groovin' Greens. While 36 grams of sugar is still pretty darn steep (thanks for that, apple juice), it's still lower in sugar than the Original Superfood. Keep in mind that the label mentions this juice is "not a significant source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, [or] iron."