Juice cleanses and other detox diets continue to be a fashionable way to lose weight and reset for the new year but, the truth is, there is no strong evidence to prove that they do anything besides drain your wallet. In this article, we dive into the science to debunk these well-crafted marketing ploys.
What is a Juice Detox?
A juice cleanse or a detox, is a liquid-only diet that usually lasts anywhere from 2 – 10 days. During this time, a person will drink nothing but fruit and vegetable juices with the purpose of resetting their internal systems, removing toxins, losing weight, improving energy levels, or whatever other outlandish claims you’ll find on the internet. Celery juice cleanses, for example, are said to aid in digestion, reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure and improve overall nutrition status.
Do These Diets Really Work?
There is currently no solid research out there claiming that celery juice, or any juice for that matter, is required to flush out toxins from your body. Not surprisingly, depriving yourself from solid food for several days is unhealthy and could even negatively impact your ability to lose weight long-term. You’ll be glad to hear that our bodies are equipped with their own natural detoxification system. If you have proper functioning kidneys, intestines and a liver, then guess what – you’re already doing a great job of detoxing all on your own. Your kidneys are made up of millions of filtering units used to remove waste products from your blood-stream. If we didn’t already have a natural detoxification system, we would be in serious trouble.
What Are The Nutritional Risks of a Detox Diet?
When you’re feeling lousy after a weekend of partying or any other perceived “bad” behaviour, I totally get why it may seem like a sensible idea to reset with a “good” behaviour like a juice cleanse. We all want to feel our best and a cleanse may sound like a quick and easy fix. But restricting yourself for days from real food as a form of punishment for a “bad” behaviour is never healthy. What’s even more concerning is the effect that these detoxes can have on an individual’s metabolism and body composition. Yes, you’ll probably lose weight on a cleanse but it’s not due to the magical fat burning powers of celery juice. You’ll likely lose weight simply due to the fact that you’re consuming mostly water with a bit of carbohydrate. Being on such a low calorie diet can actually slow down your metabolism and guess what happens when you go back to eating normally? Weight gain all over again. This can leave you stuck in a restrict-binge cycle making it extremely difficult to lose weight and have a positive relationship with food.
Not to mention, you’ll be missing out on other important nutrients like fibre and protein. These nutrients play a vital role in keeping us full and aiding in weight loss. Without these nutrients, you may notice the following:
- More cravings
My advice, strive for balance and avoid the extremes. There’s nothing wrong with having green juice if you truly enjoy it. It’s an easy way to get in your vegetable servings but don’t rely on this as your only source of nourishment – choose fresh, whole fruits and vegetables more often than juice. That said, if you’re feeling kind of bleh after those holiday parties or a busy time in your life where self care has been neglected, instead of detoxing try out the following:
- Include a variety of fibre-rich whole foods into your diet while limiting processed foods
- Limit your alcohol intake and drink more water
- Make time for yourself to relax
Stick to a generally balanced diet and you shouldn’t feel the need to spend on expensive juice kits. Remember that a healthy diet is one that you enjoy and can stick to long-term!
What are your thoughts on juice cleanses and detox diets? Have you tried any? Any success? Let us know below!
This article was written by Gabi Abreu, BSc (Nutrition). Gabi is a certified clinical nutritionist, wellness blogger and founder of the Working Woman’s Health Collection. WWHC was created with the purpose of inspiring women to achieve a healthy relationship with food, while taking into consideration the busy lifestyles that we live today.