JUICE CLEANSES: GOOD OR BAD? MYTH OR REALITY?
I write a lot about the incredible health benefits of including whole foods such as fruits and vegetables in your diet. They are just plain amazing for your body. Juice cleanse diets have become increasingly popular in the past decade in an effort to add more of these powerful health-boosting fruits and vegetables into your diet. How convenient is it to just drink your way to health? Juicing has been promoted as a cure for every conceivable health condition. Juice cleanses are said to decrease the body’s parasites and candida build-ups, cleanse the liver, kidneys and/or gallbladder. Juicing involves extracting the juices from these fruits and vegetables. Supporters claim that juicing can improve nutrient absorption. Others say it strips away the needed fiber and that these juice cleanses are just not supported by scientific evidence.
Should juicing be part of your lifestyle and diet? Is juicing good or bad for you? Are the incredible nutritional claims the real deal? Below are the top four juice benefit claims – Are they myth or reality?
JUICING CAN HELP YOU SHED WEIGHT:
The hype is that juice cleanses lead to weight loss because you are replacing simple carbohydrates, processed and packaged foods, refined sugars and unhealthy fats with pure juices.
Reality: It is true, a juice cleansing diet can lead you to make healthier food swaps and dietary choices, which most likely will lead to short term weight loss. To lose weight on any diet, you must create a calorie deficit, which means eating fewer calories than you burn. Most juice diets consist of 1,000 calories per day. This results in a large calorie deficit for many people. However, once the calorie intake goes back to normal, you'll likely regain some, if not all, of the weight.
Juice does not contain fiber like whole fruits and vegetables. But it does contain lots of naturally occurring sugar that can mess with blood sugar levels, creating cravings and energy level drains. Plus, juice diets may be unsatisfying because they lack this fiber, lack protein and the benefits of solid foods that are all so important for the feeling of fullness. You are much better off following a more sustainable diet that includes all of these awesome fruits and veggies in their whole food forms.
JUICING CAN PREVENT CHRONIC DISEASE:
There's plenty of evidence linking whole fruits and vegetables to reduced risk of disease, but studies for fruit and vegetable juicing are harder to find. Many diets are filled with processed, sugary, fatty and high-caloric foods that lead to chronic diseases. Juice cleansing can encourage us to rid our diets of trans-fats, saturated fats and processed foods and may decrease the development of these chronic diseases.
Reality: There is limited evidence available to link fruit and vegetable juices to a reduced risk of diseases. More evidence suggests that consuming a long-term diet filled with nutritious whole foods, fiber, vitamins, minerals, vegetables, proteins, healthy fats and high antioxidants does support disease reduction and prevention.
JUICING CAN SLOW DOWN THE AGING PROCESS:
Free radicals are molecules that cause damage to your body over time and basically cause aging. Think of these molecules like rust on a car. When you increase antioxidants in your diet (which aids in helping to fight the free radicals), you can reduce the number of free radicals in your body and therefore slow the aging process i.e. reduce the rust on our bodies. Cleansing with juices filled with fruits and veggies high in antioxidants has been said to support this free radical/aging battle.
Reality: Again, the best diet for healthy aging is a long-term, wholesome diet filled with whole foods, fruits, vegetables, fiber, vitamins, minerals, vegetables, proteins, healthy fats and high antioxidants. The human body is amazing and if you feed it the fuel and nutrients it needs to be strong, it will work hard to fight against free radicals.
JUICING CAN PURIFY THE BODY:
The hype is that juice cleansing can help stimulate your body to eliminate waste and toxins. Bodies need water to thrive, as water is the main ingredient of every fluid in your body and affects every function of your body. The idea is that when you juice cleanse, you take in more fluids that you normally might.
Reality: Drinking plenty of clean water each day will help your organs do their detoxification jobs without the need for juices. Plus, eating your whole vegetables has so many more health and nutritional benefits than drinking the same vegetables in liquid form.
The Truth & Reality:
Juice cleanses can help to add important vitamins, antioxidants and additional nutrients important to your health, especially if your diet does not include these fruits and vegetables. However, the research supports the healthier option of eating whole vegetables and fruits for a smart weight loss diet, the prevention of disease, the slowing of aging and the detoxing of your body. I, for one, will be opting to eat rather than drink my vitamins.