Juice has developed a reputation as a quick and easy way to get a mega-dose of vitamins in just a few sips—but is it actually good for you?

Juicing—extracting the juice from fruit and vegetables—has become a popular wellness trend. But, when comparing juicing to eating whole fruits, the version derived from the juicer is nutritionally inferior.

By extracting the juice from fresh fruit or vegetables, you remove the food’s vital nutrients, including fiber, which can be found in the pulp and fruit skin. Fiber is essential to keeping us full, maintaining a healthy weight, and lowering our chances of developing heart disease. 

In addition, juicing packs on an excess amount of sugar that we just don’t need. For example, one cup of orange juice requires at least three medium oranges, which contain 14 grams of sugar each. That’s a whopping 42 grams of sugar in just one cup of freshly squeezed OJ. Mind you, the World Health Organization recommends that adults have no more than 30g of added sugar per day.

When counseling a new client, the first thing I do upon an initial assessment is analyze my client’s juice intake. Many clients of mine drop 1-2 lbs in the first week by simply removing all sugary beverages from their diet (and yes, that includes fresh fruit juice). It’s important as a Registered Dietitian that I stress we should be eating our fruit, not drinking it.

So, what’s my favorite alternative if I’m looking for something refreshing, sugar-free, and calorie-free, but with a kick? Cucumber water. Cucumber is one of the best vegetables to infuse into water—it works fast and holds up over time. The botanical flavor tastes like a spa trip in a sip.

To make, simply slice half a cucumber into thin rounds, add to 8 cups of cold water, and refrigerate for one hour to allow the flavor to fully infuse.