Harvard Women's Health Watch

Are fresh juice drinks as good for you as they seem to be?

Cold-pressed juices and smoothies can add fruits and vegetables to your diet, but they can also pack in calories.


Image: Mermusta /Thinkstock

According to food industry statistics, there's a healthy trend afoot. People are shifting from sugary sodas and processed bottled juice drinks to beverages like cold-pressed juices and smoothies. Sales of juice extractors and blenders lead the small-appliance market, and juice bars continue to spring up on city streets, in shopping malls, and even in supermarkets.

There are a couple of reasons people are taking to these beverages, says Kathy McManus, director of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital. "They think they are doing something healthy, and the beverages can be time savers. It can be faster to grab a smoothie in the morning instead of sitting down to breakfast."

fresh fruit coolerWhat is cold-pressed juice?

Cold pressing employs the same principle as the hand-crank citrus juicer your mother or grandmother might have used: the fruits or vegetables are squeezed between two metal plates to extract the juice. Modern juice extractors may chop or grind the produce before applying hydraulic pressure to separate the juice from the pulp.

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