For some, going on a juice cleanse was a vehicle to achieve various other health goals ranging from detoxification, improving skin complexion, reducing water retention and improving energy.
On the other hand - there are sceptics denouncing the effectiveness, claiming they are dangerous and ineffective in both weight loss and detoxification.
To help us understand the fact, we asked our Vitable nutritionist to weigh in on the topic and debunk the myths surrounding the trend.
A juice cleanse is whatever the individual makes of it. Usually, it consists of drinking only vegetables or fruit (or a mixture of both) for a period of time. Typically, this is anywhere between 1-14 days. Usually, the intention behind the cleanse is to 'detoxify' or to lose weight.
Typically, the body will be in a calorie deficit whilst on a juice cleanse which may lead to short term weight loss. However, this does not mean it's a healthy way to lose weight.
Not only is rapid weight loss unhealthy, but it often doesn't last. Often the weight loss you see on the scale is due to a lack of food in your GI tract and a loss of muscle experienced during the cleanse.
Further to this point, consuming only liquids can cause your metabolism to slow down. This may incidentally lead to weight gain once you go back to a normal diet incorporating whole foods.
Your body may also experience unwanted bloating and distention once solid foods are reintroduced. This can lead to discomfort and digestion difficulties.
Although often viewed as a 'quick fix' solution. There isn't actually any scientific evidence to show that juice cleanses actually increase the detoxification process.
Our livers are highly effective at detoxing on their own. In fact, the fibre found in whole fruits and vegetables has been found to assist in the detoxification process. Therefore, the act of eliminating this in a cleanse can actually hinder your liver's capacity to effectively detoxify.
The cleanse can result in nutrient deficiencies. Juice is almost completely lacking in protein and vitamins such as B12. Depending on how long the cleanse goes for, this can be seriously harmful to your health.
The juices are often high in sugar. Although it is in the form of fructose, it can still cause spikes in blood sugar levels.
The lack of fibre in juice can cause issues for your gut microbiome. The healthy bacteria in your gut have no fibre to feed off, and this may also lead to constipation.
Due to the juices often being so low in calories, a strict cleanse can result in headaches, dizziness, inability to concentrate, a reduction in bone density and muscle loss.
There are definitely some positives. For many, the modern diet and lifestyle mean that they are constantly grazing throughout the day. A sedentary lifestyle combined with long work hours means that our digestive systems rarely get a break for an extended period of time.
A juice cleanse allows your body to have a break from constantly digesting food. This could reduce bloating and the build-up of food in your system, and give your body a chance to reset.
Secondly, for those who don't get their recommended servings of fruits and vegetables in their daily diet; juicing could help. Providing each juice has a healthy balance of both fruits and vegetables, could aid in meeting your vitamin requirements.
That being said; both of these results could be achieved by reducing your eating window each day and increasing the amounts of whole foods in your diet.
If you are interested in doing a cleanse, my advice would be to blend fruits and vegetables and consume them in smoothie form. This will ensure that there is fibre maintained in the liquid whilst getting your daily serve of fruit and vegetables.
If the cleanse is for weight loss or detoxification, your body detoxes itself and is highly resilient inability to do so. A diet of whole fruits and vegetables, healthy fats and good sources of protein (organic fish, chicken and red meat) in combination with regular exercise is a safe and long term approach to weight loss.
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*Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. Vitamin and/or mineral supplements should not replace a balanced diet.