Everyone wants a quick, painless way to losing weight. And the thought that consuming nothing but decadent juices might just be the way to cheat the system seems rather appealing especially when this approach has received endorsements from some of our beloved celebrities like Beyonce, Oprah Winfrey and Salma Hayek.
Even the world of business has jumped on to the bandwagon, endorsing juice-cleansers as the best way to spring-clean your insides thereby giving you the perfect start to mental clarity and regulation of digestion.
But is the juice-cleanse really the healthy approach?
In this article, we separate the fact from the fiction as it relates to this dieting fad.
Juicing to detox
There is the sad misconception that embarking on a juice-cleanse helps the body detoxify. But the truth is, the body does this naturally, primarily through the action of the liver, kidneys and gastrointestinal (GI) tract. These organs help remove toxins or harmful substances that should not be stored in the body, scientists say.
According to Joy Dubost, a dietitian in Washington, D.C., and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, since the body is always in a natural state of cleansing itself, a person does not need to do a juice cleanse or follow a liquid detox diet to be healthy.
Juicing to improve energy and health
This is another big, fat lie. In fact, Dubost opines that a juice cleanse offers people a false sense of security that they are doing something beneficial, when in fact people who do these cleanses are doing anything but that.
During the first few days of a juice cleanse, she explains that a person initially burns their glycogen stores for energy. Using glycogen (the stored form of glucose) pulls a lot of water out of the body, which can show up as weight loss on the scale.
A cleanse could also lead to side effects such as a lack of energy, headaches and shakiness due to low blood sugar. Over time, a cleanse may lead to constipation from a lack of fiber, as well as irritability, she added.
Once a person returns to their regular eating habits, that individual could gain all this weight right back, Dubost said. Although she understands that some people may experience a psychological lift from a cleanse, such as perhaps feeling ready or motivated to adopt healthier eating habits, she still doesn't promote the practice.
Juicing to shed some pounds
After years of research, Dubost believes that cleansing is ineffective as a long-term solution to weight loss. She said that a person may shed pounds in the beginning of a cleanse, but this is due to a loss of water.
She noted that the loss of water weight comes at the expense of a loss of muscle, which is a steep price to pay. Weight loss is not always about the numbers on a scale, it’s also about the ratio of body fat compared to lean muscle mass, she pointed out.
In other words, the desired outcome of a weight-loss program is to lose more fat than muscle. She said that this might not happen on a restrictive diet like a cleanse, because it’s low in dietary protein and calories, and while doing one, someone might not have the energy to exercise, which can build muscle. Having more lean muscle and less body fat means burning more calories and boosting metabolism, in the long run.
Cleanses are usually low in protein.
Researchers have also found that many juice fasts and liquid diets involve consuming no protein at all, or have very low amounts of it which is needed on a daily basis to build healthy immune cells and regenerate muscle following a workout.
Fruits and vegetables have only small amounts of protein; however, some prepackaged juice plans may include a nut-milk beverage, such as cashew or almond, as one of the daily drinks, which offers a little protein and fat.
Consuming fruit and vegetable juices for three days may not be harmful for a healthy person but chances are that you may soon fall ill.
A juice-cleanse is low in calories
Prominent Dieticians say that depending on which cleanse a person does, and how many bottles of juice or glasses of & quot;lemonade & quot; they drink, the calories that a person winds up consuming daily can range from about 800 to 1,200 calories. When done for 10 days, the low-calorie intake that comes with doing a Master Cleanse or other regimen could send the body into starvation mode, meaning it will try to conserve calories by slowing down metabolism, because the body is unsure when it will be fed again.
While cleansing, people commonly experience side effects such as headaches, fatigue, difficulty thinking, moodiness, stomach pain and hunger pangs. Cayenne pepper, which is used in the Master Cleanse plan, can irritate the colon, dieticians say, making this regimen a concern for people with sensitive digestive systems, such as irritable bowel syndrome. Other side effects of the Master Cleanse may include bad breath, dizziness, diarrhea and a white tongue.
In addition, juice cleanses are not a good idea for people with diabetes who may be on medication to regulate insulin activity, studies say. Drinking so much juice could lead to unstable blood sugar levels.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and people with compromised immune systems or advanced heart, liver or kidney disease should also avoid juice cleanses.
People taking the blood-thinning drug Coumadin should stay away from them because some of the green juices could contain vegetables high in vitamin K —such as kale, spinach, parsley and celery — which can lessen the drug’s effectiveness.