Raw (cold pressed) Juice cleansing has become such a craze that it has attracted a large customer base around the world, including China. Not only did cold pressed juice companies create fancy products and 3-day to 7-day juice fasting plans, they make claims that fasting will lead to weight loss and body detoxification. As result, people are paying big amounts of money to put themselves on regular juice-only diets, hoping to lose a few pounds or to improve their health through this quick-fix craze.
Juice cleansing, like any fad diet that demands extreme changes to one’s diet, can be detrimental to one’s health. For people who eat lots of animal products and not enough plant-based foods, juicing is an excellent way to add a wide variety of fresh produce of all colors into their diet. In addition, it is an effective way to supplement nutrients like minerals, vitamins, chlorophylls and antioxidants typically missing in our daily diet and food supply.
But on the other hand, if people rely solely on raw juices as their main source for energy and nutrients, juicing can become dangerous, especially for those who are diabetics, undergoing chemotherapy, and/or challenged with nutritional deficiencies. The average juice drink that can be found on any store or supermarket has between 60 – 100 grams of sugar; an amount that equals the sugar found in 2-3 cans of Coke. It takes about 4 medium oranges to make one 8-ounce glass of orange juice, and while it is rare for someone to eat 4 oranges in a sitting, no one thinks twice about throwing back that same amount of sugar (or more) in the form of juice. It adds up to a lot of sugar.
Juicing also skips the first step in the digestion process: the mechanical breakdown of food via chewing as well as the chemical breakdown via saliva. When drinking juice, the liquid spends very little time in mouth so the chemical process is by passed completely.
When a person lives on a juice-only diet, as a result, bloating and gas can occur, along with an increased risk of undigested food particles fermenting in the gut, causing indigestion. Even though raw juices add a tremendous amount of valuable micronutrients and phytonutrients to one’s diet, it still misses the important macronutrients like protein, fat and valuable dietary fibers. A juice-only diet can result in serious health issues.
And like most fad diets, juice fasting is not an effective way to keep any weight loss off. At first, some people do lose weight with juice fasting because of the restricted calories consumed. Long term, however, juicing can permanently lower the body’s metabolism as the body incorrectly assumes it’s starving and the person will likely gain the weight back.
As for juicing’s detoxification claim, people are attracted to it as they see it as a quick fix to their inappropriate lifestyle and/or environment pollution. The truth is, our body does an excellent job of detoxifying on its own: our liver, kidneys, and intestines filter the unwanted items we ingest and expel them through our urine, bowel movements, breath, and sweat. We don’t need to deprive ourselves with strict juice-only diets to detox, not to mention fasting adds additional stress to our bodies, and stress is yet in another form of toxin that our bodies have to process.
Moderation is the key to any diet. The best way to maintain a healthy weight is to make healthy lifestyle changes that you will be able to maintain throughout your life. If weight loss is needed to reach optimal weight, then replacing one meal with a vegetable-based juice can be beneficial, as long as the other “chewed” meals are well balanced. Vegetable and fruit based juices can also be drank as supplement to have a healthy diet and to give our bodies all the nutrients they needs and cannot get from our daily meals.
This is a guest post courtesy of FS Juice and their nutritionist Jacqueline Zhan Fraise.