Drinking fruit or vegetable juice on an empty stomach in the morning is a common habit for many people. Some claim that there are health benefits to this practice, while others argue that it may actually be harmful. In this article, we’ll explore the potential pros and cons of drinking juice first thing in the morning before eating breakfast.
Potential Benefits of Morning Juice
Here are some of the purported benefits of drinking juice on an empty stomach:
- May boost hydration and nutrient intake: Juice can provide fluids and nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants first thing in the morning when you may be slightly dehydrated from sleep.
- May aid digestion: Drinking juice before eating solid foods may potentially aid digestion by supplying nutrients and enzymes that help break down food more easily.
- May boost energy: The natural sugars in fruit and vegetable juices may help boost blood sugar and energy levels upon waking.
- May support weight loss: Some claim juice may support weight loss efforts by curbing appetite and cravings before breakfast.
- May support detoxification: The nutrients and hydration from juice may help flush toxins and support liver and kidney function.
However, more research is needed to substantiate many of these claims.
Potential Downsides of Morning Juice
Here are some potential cons associated with drinking juice on an empty stomach:
- Blood sugar spikes: Juice is high in simple sugars that are absorbed quickly into the bloodstream, which can lead to spikes and crashes in blood sugar.
- Reduced fullness: Liquid calories from juice may not be as filling as calories from solid foods, which could lead to overeating at breakfast.
- Tooth decay: The sugars in juice can contribute to cavities and dental erosion, especially first thing in the morning before brushing teeth.
- Gastrointestinal issues: Some people may experience bloating, diarrhea, gas, or reflux after drinking juice on an empty stomach.
- Nutrient deficiencies: Juices lack protein and healthy fats, so relying on them may lead to deficiencies in these nutrients over time.
Best Practices for Drinking Morning Juice
If you choose to make juice part of your morning routine, here are some tips to maximize potential benefits and minimize risks:
- Drink in moderation: Limit juice to 1 small glass (8 ounces or 250 ml) to avoid blood sugar spikes.
- Include protein: Pair juice with a source of protein like Greek yogurt or eggs to help stabilize blood sugar.
- Eat breakfast: Make sure to eat a nutritious breakfast after drinking juice to support satiety and nutrient intake.
- Brush teeth: Brush teeth before drinking juice to protect tooth enamel.
- Dilute juice: Add water to dilute fruit juices high in natural sugars.
- Avoid on an empty stomach: If you experience GI upset, try drinking juice with breakfast instead.
- Choose low-sugar varieties: Opt for low-sugar vegetable juices and greens juices when possible.
- Watch calories: Be mindful of extra calories from juice, especially if trying to lose weight.
Juicing vs. Blending: What’s Better?
There is debate over whether it’s better to juice or blend produce into morning drinks. Here’s a comparison:
In general, blending whole fruits and vegetables preserves more nutrients and fiber, leading to better blood sugar regulation and satiety. However, both juicing and blending can play a role in a healthy diet.
Best Fruits and Vegetables for Morning Juices
Here are some of the top fruits and vegetables to use as ingredients in refreshing, nutritious morning juices:
- Apples – Rich in fiber and vitamin C
- Oranges – High in vitamin C and antioxidants
- Grapefruit – Low glycemic index and high in vitamin C
- Pears – Good source of fiber and vitamin C
- Kiwi – Provides vitamin C, potassium, and antioxidants
- Berries – Full of antioxidants, fiber, and vitamin C
- Pomegranate – High in antioxidants and phytochemicals
- Watermelon – Hydrating and rich in vitamins A and C
- Carrots – Excellent source of vitamin A
- Spinach – Packed with vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients
- Kale – Loaded with vitamins A, C, and K
- Cucumber – Provides hydration and vitamin K
- Beets – High in folate, manganese, and potassium
- Tomatoes – Good source of vitamin C, lycopene, and potassium
- Celery – Contains vitamin K, potassium, and antioxidants
Aim for a combo of fruits and veggies to create a well-balanced morning juice with a range of vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds.
Potential Side Effects of Drinking Juice on an Empty Stomach
While juice can be part of a nutritious diet, drinking it on an empty stomach may cause side effects for some people, including:
- Heartburn or reflux: The high acidity of some juices may trigger these issues.
- Gas and bloating: Some people may experience GI discomfort from juices.
- Diarrhea: Fruit sugars and acids in juices can cause loose stools.
- Hypoglycemia: The blood sugar crash after juice sugar spike may lead to this.
- Tooth decay: Sugar and acid without brushing can erode tooth enamel.
- Headaches: Rapid rises and drops in blood sugar from juice can trigger headaches.
- Fatigue: Lack of protein, fat, and fiber in juices can lead to poor energy levels.
You can reduce the risk of side effects by diluting juice with water, opting for low-sugar vegetable juices, and always eating breakfast after juice.
Who Should Avoid Juice on an Empty Stomach?
Here are some groups who may want to avoid drinking juice on an empty stomach:
- People with diabetes: The spike in blood sugar from juice sugars may be problematic.
- Those with GI issues: People prone to reflux, diarrhea, or IBS may experience worse symptoms.
- Pregnant women: Rapid rises in blood sugar are not recommended during pregnancy.
- Children/toddlers: Juice doesn’t provide well-rounded nutrition for growing kids.
- People with kidney problems: The high potassium and acids in juice can exacerbate issues.
- People with gastritis or ulcers: Acidic juice can aggravate these GI conditions.
People in these groups may do better eating whole fruits and veggies and drinking juice only with meals.
The Bottom Line
Here are some key takeaways on whether or not juice on an empty stomach in the morning is a good idea:
- Juice provides hydration and nutrients, but lacks protein, fat, and fiber.
- The high sugar in juice can spike and crash blood sugar levels.
- Drinking juice alone may not provide lasting energy or fullness.
- Juice may trigger GI issues, tooth decay, and headaches in some individuals.
- Blending produces a more filling, nutritious drink with fiber intact.
- Enjoy juice in moderation as part of a breakfast that includes protein and fiber.
- Pay attention to how your body responds and avoid drinking juice alone if you experience side effects.
While juice can be a healthy part of your diet, it may be best to avoid drinking it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Having juice along with a well-balanced breakfast or snack is likely a safer bet for most people.