If you’ve been considering substituting food for a juice cleanse full of liquefied veggies and fruits, you may want to rethink this diet plan. While detoxing your body and flushing out toxins sound appealing, many are still questioning the safety and benefit of this new diet trend.
What is a Juice Cleansing Diet?
Juice cleansing goes by many names. The most popular names are “juice fasting”, “juice detox” and “juice diet”. Regardless of its name, it’s basically a way to detoxify and nourish your body, control your appetite, cut calories and give you energy through liquefied fruits and vegetables. Many think juice cleansing nourishes your body and cells with:
Individuals doing a juice cleanse consume only fluids, such as vegetable and fruit juices or blended raw fruits, veggies smoothies. They do this up to three times a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) to replace solid food.
Is a Juice Cleanse Diet Plan Safe?
There isn’t any solid evidence that says juicing is the magic solution for health and weight loss. However, there’s also not a lot of evidence saying it’s really bad for you either. If you don’t have any underlying health conditions, like heart problems or diabetes, you’re overall a healthy person and you only “cleanse” your body for a few days, a fruit cleans shouldn’t harm you. Therefore, if juicing makes you feel better, then by all means, go for it.
In one study, juicing for one week resulted in an abrupt reduction in triacylglycerol levels and LDL cholesterol (this is your bad cholesterol). But, a week later, the levels went back to normal.
One word of caution though — if you have an eating disorder (or did) or you have a negative attitude towards eating which could harm your mental or physical health, stay away from this and other fad diets. Also, never make any extreme eating habit changes like juice cleansing without talking with your doctor first.
Cleansing could cause some side effects such as:
- Stomach pain
- Feeling light headed
- Difficulty thinking
- Hunger Pangs
Remember, juice cleansing should only be a short-term solution since you won’t be getting the protein from meats.
Why Do People Do it?
Many people do juice cleanses because they want to get a head start on losing weight or they’re trying to flush out toxins from their bodies. Although cleansing may seem to work in the beginning, it’s not meant to be a long-term strategy for losing weight and could even be harmful. Now, you’ll most likely lose weight by restricting your calories through these cleanses, but typically, those who lose weight with juicing tend to gain the weight back.
People also do juice fasting to benefit from the vitamins and nutrients the juiced fruits and vegetables provide that they would otherwise miss out on.
They feel by cleaning out their digestive system of these toxins, they’ll feel brand new the next day.
Some may even think it gives them healthy hair and nails.
Potential Alternatives to Juice Cleanses
While sipping on delicious juices all day sounds like a good idea, those who have tried juice cleansing will tell you it’s far harder than it sounds. Besides, there are other alternatives you can try such as:
1. Soup Cleanse
Juice cleanses tend to eliminate the fiber you normally get from fresh fruits and leave you with a load of fructose. Soups, however, still come with those healthy vegetables, but still have the fiber and don’t cause a “sugar crash” like juicing could.
2. Raw Food
Raw foods like uncooked fruits and vegetables and plain nuts will make the cut. A plant-based, raw diet for several days can help you:
- Lose weight
- Flush out toxins
- Encourage good health
- Increase energy
3. Limiting Certain Foods
For example, you can cut out booze or carbs for one week.
4. Choose Your Snacks Wisely
With snacking, instead of grabbing that bag of chips, reach for a juicy pear or crunchy carrots instead. Basically, any vegetable or fruit will do. There are even dried forms of fruits you can enjoy like dried peaches, tangerines and apples. These, however, may be high in sugar and calories so be sure to read the labels.
Why not exercise? Working up a sweat and getting your blood pumping is a great way to get rid of those toxins which in many cases are stored in your fat cells. Exercising is also a great way to lose weight and stay in shape.
If you’re in good health and you absolutely must go on a juice cleansing diet plan, then go ahead. But, limit this fad diet to only a two or three days so your short-term calorie- and nutrient-deficits don’t lead to actual health issues. Take note, any weight lost during your cleansing time, you’re likely not going to keep it off for very long. Above all else, check with your doctor before starting a juice cleanse.