I mean that in the nicest way of course. I ask because I was reading today’s paper and the front page story was about the controversy about juice cleanses. There are a lot of mixed opinions about juicing in general.
The article pointed out that in our area more than a dozen juiceries offer cleanses that tend to go anywhere from 3 to 10 days, and during that time, they recommend the clients drink 5 to 7 bottles of cold pressed juice per day with a seed or nut-milk to provide the protein.
They aren’t cheap either. The 3 day cleanses range between $150 to $225 and the 10-day cleanse is $750.
For people with no health issues, a short term juice cleanse is ok according to one dietitian. Some people sometimes feel they need that little boost or jump start to their system, but according to this same dietitian people would get a better bang for their buck if they ate the produce whole.
Folks with health conditions like diabetes or kidney issues should talk to your doctor before even considering a cleanse.
One problem with a juice cleanse is that the lack of fat can inhibit the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and they provide inadequate protein which can reduce muscle mass.
Another dietitian suggested a better cleanse for the body is to give up caffeine, alcohol and excess protein (like those 16 ounce steaks) for a period because this would allow the body to function more efficiently.
The other problem is that you are missing the fibre. One of the jobs of fibre in the body is to slow absorption of sugar into the blood stream. With that much pure juice, you can get a real sugar spike.
If you haven’t seen it, there is a great documentary I first saw on Netflix called Fat Sick and Nearly Dead. It was about a guy who from Australia who felt all of the above and decided to do nothing but juice for an extended time.
My first concern, besides those issues I have already mentioned, is that juicing can be really expensive. To get one little glass of carrot juice, you need to juice nearly a 5 pound bag of carrots. Now I love carrot juice, especially when mixed with a little apple juice, but as a snack, not as a meal.
I find at least for me, I also don’t get the feeling of satiety (being full) from just juice. That is another benefit of the fibre being present – it fills you up.
I am distinguishing between juicing and smoothies by the way. We have what I call our Monster Blender, and it can handle whole fruits and veggies as well as ice. I use that to make smoothies so that I am getting the whole fruit of vegetable benefit. Again though, I have to say this is an occasional thing, particularly for breakfast.
Recently I was able to see the sequel to the above documentary surprisingly called Fat Sick and Nearly Dead 2. It was interesting to see how the guy realized that maybe he got a bit carried away doing nothing but juice, but the most telling thing is when he went back to the dietitian in New York he met in the first documentary, she said she would never recommend doing what he did.
It was also interesting to see how he followed up with an American truck driver he met last time. The guy was a physical wreck and so he got him juicing too and there were some short term results. In the sequel, this same truck driver had gained much of the weight back because the juice diet was just not sustainable.
It kind of goes with the weight loss company you see on TV that will deliver meals right to your door. (No names mentioned). The problem then is that as soon as you stop the meals, the weight can very easily come back on. Why? Simply put, having prepared meals delivered to you doesn’t teach you portion control or how to cook healthy and certainly doesn’t address the reasons behind the eating problem. The “Why” is not addressed.
Richard Simmons told me a long time ago that diets do not work. You have to re-educate yourself on how you eat but almost more importantly Why you eat.
Juicing and juice cleanses (in my opinion which after all is what this blog is – my opinion) are just another short cut. If you think you have a toxin build up in your body, remember that most of that will be taken care of by your liver and kidneys. That’s kind of their jobs.
The other thing is that if you feel like crap, look carefully at what you have been eating. If you live on a constant diet of fast food or vending machine food at work or quick bites on the go – those are the bigger areas to be addressed.
According to a quote in this article in the paper by registered dietitian Nicole Fetterly “There’s certainly no scientific evidence to support that (cleanses) and we do have detoxifying organs that are working in our body continuously. Our liver and kidneys are constantly detoxifying the body”. See, it’s not just my opinion.
The other dietitians they interviewed said much the same thing. I know this blog post may generate a lot of comments, but that’s OK. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but as has been said, the scientific evidence just isn’t there.
If you want to feel better, just stick to real food and avoid the processed foods as much as possible. My rule when I read the ingredients on a label is that if I can’t pronounce it, I don’t eat it. If you want to make some pure juice as part of your diet, that’s great. It just shouldn’t replace meals.
I know most say the juice cleanse it to detoxify, but I also speak to people who juice to lose weight. Again, it’s a short term solution with short term results.
Until next time, have a healthy and happy day!