When trying to reduce carb intake, many people turn to juice as a lower calorie beverage option. But not all juices are created equal when it comes to carbs. The carb content can vary greatly depending on the fruits and vegetables used. So which juices contain the least amount of carbohydrates?
The Lowdown on Carbs in Juice
The carb content in juice comes mostly from naturally occurring sugars. When fruits and vegetables are juiced, the pulp is removed, leaving the sugary juice behind. Some fruits and veggies have more natural sugars than others. The ones highest in carbs include:
On the other hand, fruits and vegetables that contain fewer carbs include:
When making juice, fruits and veggies can be combined in different ratios. The more low carb veggies you use compared to high carb fruits, the less the carb content. Herbs like mint and ginger add flavor without carbs too.
The Best Low Carb Juice Options
Based on typical carb counts, here are some of the best low carb juice options:
|Juice||Carbs per 8 oz|
As you can see, juices made from veggies like cucumbers, spinach, kale and celery are lowest in carbs, with only 3-5 grams per 8 oz serving. Compared to an 8 oz glass of orange juice which has about 21 grams of carbs, these low carb options contain a fraction of that amount.
Creating Tasty Low Carb Juice Combos
Sticking to straight vegetable juices can get boring fast. Luckily there are lots of delicious ways to mix and match produce to make flavorful low carb juices. Here are some tasty combo ideas:
|Green Goodness||Cucumber, kale, spinach, celery, ginger, lemon|
|Mint Refresher||Cucumber, celery, lime, mint|
|Spicy Tomato||Tomato, carrot, chili pepper, basil|
|Tropical Zinger||Pineapple, ginger, lime, mint|
|Morning Energizer||Orange, carrot, ginger|
|Berry Blast||Raspberries, blackberries, lemon|
When mixing fruits and veggies, stick to a 3:1 veggie to fruit ratio. That means for every 1 fruit, use at least 3 veggies. This ensures the carb content stays low. Herbs, spices, lemon/lime, ginger and chili peppers can all add lots of flavor without the carbs too.
Other Tips for Low Carb Juices
Here are some other tips for keeping your homemade juices low in carbs:
- Avoid high sugar fruits like apples, grapes, mangos and pineapples as the main ingredients
- Use more non-starchy veggies like cucumber, spinach, kale, celery and broccoli
- Add lemon/lime juice instead of fruit juices for flavor
- Mix in herbs like mint, basil, parsley or cilantro
- Spice it up with ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, chili pepper and other spices
- Drink juice soon after making it to avoid losing nutrients
- Pair juices with protein like eggs or nut butters to help staying power
- Dilute fruitier juices with plain or sparkling water
Are Juice Cleanses Good for Low Carb Diets?
Juice cleanses involve only drinking juice for a period of days or weeks. Unfortunately this is not an effective strategy when limiting carbs. Here’s why:
- Most cleanse juices contain a lot of high carb fruits like apple, orange and pineapple
- Not eating solid foods can cause blood sugar spikes and crashes
- Cleanses are very low in protein, fat and fiber
- It’s not a sustainable long-term eating pattern
For carb conscious eaters, juice cleanses are best avoided. You’re better off eating a balanced low carb diet with vegetables, healthy fats, proteins and fiber. But enjoying the occasional low carb juice in moderation can add nutrients and variety.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to juice, the veggie-based and low sugar options are your best bet for keeping carbs low. Focus on juices made from cucumber, spinach, kale, celery, broccoli and other non-starchy vegetables. Mix in small amounts of low sugar fruits like berries if you want more sweetness. Adding herbs, spices, ginger and lemon/lime amps up the flavor without adding carbs. Drink your DIY low carb juices in moderation along with a healthy well-rounded diet.