The Truth Behind Green Juices

green juice

green juice image by Lecic / Shutterstock

Jack LaLanne would be proud: Green juice—a concoction made of veggies, fruits, and herbs—is taking over Boston. Several juicing spots have recently opened and more are on the way, including Pressed, in Beacon Hill; Nectar & Green, in the South End; and Mother Juice, in Kendall Square. Indeed, bottles of the verdant beverage may even unseat Starbucks cups, small dogs, and yoga mats as this summer’s must-have accessory.

But is juice a modern miracle or merely hype? With ingredients like kale (which is rich in vitamins K, A, C, and calcium), and spinach (which packs vitamin K, manganese, folate, magnesium, and iron), green libations do offer nourishment, says Anne Danahy, a nutritionist with Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates. Then again, they may also have you packing on unwanted pounds: “Most people don’t realize that fruit and, therefore, fruit juice, is pure sugar,” Danahy says. Not only will all that sugar up your caloric intake, it could also cause your glucose and insulin to skyrocket. So go heavy on the veggies, which have fewer carbs and calories, and some protein.

Finally, think of juice as a supplement, not a meal replacement. “While there may be a good dose of vitamins and minerals, it will not be the balanced variety of nutrients that you would get through a meal made from whole foods,” says Boston-based registered dietitian Ayla Withee. (If you must go all liquid, try a smoothie with healthy fats and fiber from the fruit and vegetable pulp and skin instead.) Seeking variety is also important in achieving a balanced diet. “Green plants provide certain vitamins and antioxidants, and red, orange, and yellow plants provide different ones, so mix it up and you’ll cover all the bases,” Danahy says.

Juicing Smackdown

How do four of Boston’s local juice spots compare? To find out, we put their pre-bottled, 16-ounce, cold-pressed* offerings head to head. 

juicing smackdown

Photograph by by Katherine Wolkoff/Trunk Archive

*Cold-pressed: The process of pressing liquid, or nectar, out of a fruit or vegetable sans heat. Ingredients are ground and then squeezed with amazing force, which leaves behind a pulp that is practically dry. Fresh cold-pressed juice has only a three-to-four-day shelf life.

1. Winner: Green Genes, from Cocobeet
Ingredients: Kale, spinach, cucumber, celery, apple, parsley, lemon, ginger
Subtly sweet with a spicy finish, Cocobeet’s version had the smoothest mouth feel and was the clear winner of our non-scientific taste test.
$10, 100 City Hall Plaza, Boston, 857-263-8598,

2. Green Juice, from Nourish Your Soul
Ingredients: Kale, romaine lettuce, parsley, spinach, cucumber, lemon, apple
Romaine was the star in this balanced, chlorophyll-packed drink, with the cucumber rounding out the sweet and savory flavors nicely.
$10, 15 Channel Center St., Boston; 17 Playstead Rd., Medford; 888-995-8423,

3. Green, from 4 Petal
Ingredients: Kale, spinach, celery, apple, mint
This juice from 4 Petal—the newest venture from the owners of B.Good—is made from kale grown atop a downtown parking garage and bottled in Mason jars. It was the darkest-green drink in the bunch, but also the sweetest.
$8, sold at B.Good locations,

4. #4, from Jugos
Ingredients: Kale, cucumber, spinach, celery, parsley, green apple
The tart green apple in this parsley-forward refresher left our lips puckered—and not in a good way.
$7, 145 Dartmouth St., Boston, 617-418-9879,