Low calorie detox diets and cleanses have become very popular recently. If you do juice, do you do it for health reasons (adding nutrients to your diet) or are you trying to detox or cleanse for weight loss? If your answer is the latter, this could be harmful to you. Juicing diets are low in calories and are an unsustainable way of losing weight. Hopefully by the end of this article you will have many points to consider to help decide if detox juicing diets are healthy.
Detox juicing diets are usually very low in calories, approximately <1000kcal a day. This does not necessarily make it a healthy and sustainable way to lose weight. This very low calorie diet will cause rapid weight loss, but most of this will be from water and loss of muscle mass. When you are done “detoxing”, because let’s be honest, who can drink juices for days on end, you will most likely gain all the weight back, if not more. Losing muscle mass is doing yourself a disservice. The greater your muscle mass, the faster your metabolism. A fad diet such as this will certainly damage and slow down your metabolism.
Have you been juicing because you were told that it will “cleanse” your body? Your body has its own detoxification system made up of your liver, kidneys and lymphatic system. These can deal with the most potentially toxic substances, and has been doing so for years, without juicing!
Your body does not need “juice” to detox. This is a marketing ploy.
So how can you boost your body’s own natural detoxing system to help with weight loss? Eat a healthy, balanced and varied diet. This answer is so simple yet most of us struggle with this.
Here is a reminder of a few dietary guidelines to get you started with eating this way:
It’s important to be aware that your mental state and spirit play a crucial role in weight loss. It needs to be in a healthy place for weight loss to be successful. Visiting a Registered Dietitian can play a vital role in helping you develop a healthy relationship with food which is often one of the most challenging tasks.
So, are there any benefits to juicing?
Since we only advocate for evidence based practice, the research proves that low-calorie juice diets are not effective and can do more harm than good. However, it can be of benefit if used as part of a healthy eating plan. If your current dietary intake is low in fruit and vegetables, then juices can help make sure you get enough micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals. But it’s important to remember that you don’t need to juice fruits and vegetables to get in enough of these nutrients. Eating them whole will provide this plus the bonus of fibre.
Sugar in fruit can also add to the equation if you use more fruit in your juices than vegetables. Let’s look at an average cold pressed juice of 450ml – this contains 38g of carbohydrate which is equal to just over 2 slices of bread. Since it is a liquid, it will digest much faster (1-2 hours) compared to a more solid meal (3-4 hours). So, this means you will be feeling hungry again soon after a juice versus a solid meal or snack.
To conclude, adding a juice can help to get all the nutrients your body needs if it is included in the right way. Remember to use it as an “add-on” to your healthy eating plan. Don’t forget about including whole vegetables at lunch and supper and fruit as a snack just because drinking a juice will be easier. When making juices, use mostly vegetables and be mindful of the fruit you include. Make them interesting by adding fresh ginger, mint or cinnamon.
For more information on healthy eating, portion control, how to juice correctly and any other nutrition advice, book an appointment here.