It’s almost summer- sunny, hot, swimsuit weather. Perhaps the motivation to fulfill the New Year’s resolution of living healthier is finally bubbling to the surface. You’re internet service engine has been bombarded with phrases like “lose weight fast” or “ways to eat healthier.” Given its recent popularity, you may have come across the Juice Cleanse, a short-term diet that encourages you to drink fruit juice in replacement of a meal or two. But like any diet, we like to ask the same three questions:
What does it do? Is it safe? And most importantly, does it work?
If you read more than just the first two or three results on your interest search, you’ll find that the jury is still out on the effectiveness of this cleanse. Personal testimonials seem to praise it, while health professionals are still unsure. The idea behind the cleanse is to flush out toxins and replace them with the nutrients from fruits and vegetables. By drinking juice the idea is that you can take in more fruits and vegetables than if you were to try to eat them and this will give you energy and help you lose weight.
Sounds good right?
Sure, but it’s a little too good to be true. First most health professionals say that drinking juice doesn’t really “cleanse” your body. Apparently that’s what our liver and kidneys are for. Drinking juice gives us additional nutrients and vitamins but it doesn’t actively get rid of toxins.
Second, the idea that a juice cleanse gives you more energy has not been explicitly proven. Replacing healthy foods with processed junk does give you more energy because it give your body a purer form of calories, but this can be done by eating healthier in general, not just by juicing.
Finally, many health professionals warn that if you are looking to lose weight permanently, a juice diet is not the answer. Replacing full meals with a glass of fruits and vegetables will cause you to lose weight quickly but your body will not be able to keep the weight off once you start eating regularly again. This weight gain would of course be inevitable because is considered very dangerous to extend a juicing diet beyond a week or two.
Ok, so maybe a juice cleanse doesn’t do everything it claims to, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t juice. As mentioned before, juicing your fruits and vegetables ensures that you’re at least getting your daily recommended servings. Maybe you can’t stand to eat spinach by itself but by throwing a handful into your blended with some chopped apples and orange juice, you’re getting all the nutrients from the spinach in a drink that could pass for an all-fruit smoothie. It’s also considered better to create your own juice blends instead of just buying fruit juice. By blending it yourself you keep all the fiber from the ingredients, plus the thicker consistency will fill you up more than a watery juice.
So go ahead. Start your day out with a large glass of veggies and let your body soak up all those yummy nutrients. Maybe the actual juice cleanse is a little overrated, but the benefits from drinking your fruits and vegetables are not at all imaginary.