To Juice or not to Juice?

As human beings we seem to constantly be on the hunt for a quick fix. In a world that chases instant gratification, we are surrounded by opportunities to make things better now. When it comes to improving our bodies, everything from detox teas to fat-burning supplements are waved in front of us with the promise of mind-blowing transformations in a matter of days. Enter the fast-growing craze of juicing. While there are certainly many benefits to juicing, there are a few things one should be aware of before embarking on a juice-only cleanse.

The ABC’s
Packed with vitamins and minerals, juicing has become a popular way to not only cleanse and detox but also as a way to lose weight in a seemingly healthy way. Juice cleansing, also known as juice fasting, is a diet in which a person abstains from solid foods while only consuming fruit and vegetable juices. Typically lasting from three to ten days, juice cleanses promise many benefits, including flushing out toxins from the body, improving gut health, and nourishing the body with more nutrients than one would usually take in if adhering to a regular diet of liquids and solids.

The good
Even though juicing has received a lot of criticism by doctors and nutritionists, there are a few facts that cannot be denied. By embarking of a diet solely consisting of fruit and veggies, you are irrefutably going to take in a huge amount of nutrients. Additionally, if you’re more partial to a good cheese burger and pack of Pringles and your diets normally consists of little fruit and veg, a juice cleanse is a great way to reintroduce these to your body over a short period of time. Juice cleanses are also great for hydration. Most people are unknowingly dehydrated -drinking less than the recommended two litres of non-caffeinated beverages per day. Juice cleanses provide the body with plenty fluids, keeping it hydrated throughout the day. Adequate fluid intake helps the body function optimally, enhances energy, and helps flush out toxins more effectively.

Note:a juice cleanse once every few months is not enough if the rest of the time all you’re eating is pizza. Fruit and vegetables should play a prominent role in everyone’s diet, regardless of what you’re trying (or not trying) to achieve. Juicing is a brilliant way to get LOADS of nutrients in over a short period of time -but you still cannot out-juice a bad diet.

Juicing and weight loss
By not taking in solids for a consecutive number of days it’s difficult for the scale to increase by a significant amount. Quite simply, it comes down to basic maths. If it’s not going in it’s not going to show on the scale. If you’ve ever over-indulged at Christmas lunch and hopped on the scale the next day, chances are you’ve been disappointed. This is because your body is still holding onto and trying to digest all the turkey, roast potatoes and mince pie. And guess what? It’s not a big deal! The human body is remarkable -it adapts. So, what does that mean for juice-cleansers? It’s likely that you will lose weight while you juice. Your body has no solid foods in it and thus the scale will reflect accordingly. The bad news is that this is more often than not just water weight. To lose weight youneed to maintain a calorie deficit, that is, consume fewer calories than you burn. Because juice cleanses lack solid foods, you will likely not be taking in more than about 600-1000 calories a day. In this sense, while on a juice cleanse you will be functioning on quite a significant calorie deficit and therefor will often experience weight loss. However, after you complete the cleanse and return to normal calorie consumption, you will likely regain most, if not all of the weight you lost.

 

The bottom-line
So, to juice or not to juice? Well, that depends.
Countless studies have been done on the effects of juicing, both yielding positive and negative results. There are arguments for both sides and unfortunately there is no definitive answer as to whether you should rush out and invest in a week’s worth of cold-pressed juices or ditch the idea altogether. It comes down to what you are trying to **achieve** with your cleanse.

As explained above, if weight loss is your goal you are likely to be disappointed once you return to regular eating. However, if you’re simply looking to detox and cleanse your body after a few days (or weeks) of indulging, go for it. You will almost definitely consume more raw and unprocessed nutrients by replacing every meal with a juice, but just be aware that you’ll also likely experience some symptoms of food-deprivation such as fatigue, headaches and irritability. Also ,be sure to keep in mind the duration of your cleanse. Because juice cleanses should not be used for weight loss, it is not advisable to juice for more than a few days at a time. At a certain point you need to give your body what it needs, and a lot of what it requires comes from solid, protein-rich, fibrous, fatty foods! Ultimately, the choice is yours. You know your body better than anyone so make a decision based on that.

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