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Juice cleanses: Are they worth the hype?

Juice cleanses: Are they worth the hype?

When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, there are a whole range of diets, nutritional information and other factors that you can bring into play. One of the most popular health trends that has endured over the past few years is that of juice cleanses, which are often also referred to as juice detoxes, or fasts. As a dieting and health measure, it's right up there amongst the most controversial, but just what is a juice cleanse?

In this article, we'll examine just that, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of this prominent healthy eating plan.

What exactly is a juice cleanse?

There are a great many variations of what a juice cleanse may entail. On a basic level, it is defined as abstaining from solid food for a determined period of time, replacing it with juiced fruit, vegetables, and other healthy foods. Which of these goes into the juice depends upon the length of the diet, and some cleanses even allow for a minor intake of food.

However, the majority of them do not, and some products - defined as 'toxins' by juice cleansing proponents - are completely banned. These include sugar, alcohol, caffeine and gluten. The end goal, too, always remains the same - to help the dieter lose weight and to rid the body of toxins. But does it work? 

A juice cleanse can lead to weight loss - but is such a restrictive diet necessary?A juice cleanse can lead to weight loss - but is such a restrictive diet necessary?

The weighting game

It is true that by committing to a juice cleanse in an effort to lose weight, the dieter may well see particularly fast results. However, the loss is not down to burned fat and a lower intake of calories; more, it's to do with water and muscle decreases that naturally come with undertaking such a diet, according to Joy Dubost, of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, speaking to Live Science. Additionally, over time, repeated juice cleanses could lead to bone mass. What's more, it's not a weight loss that lasts.  

In an article for Real Simple, registered dietician Marissa Lippert states that once the juice cleanse is finished and you start eating solid foods once again, the weight will pile right back on, leaving you no better off than when you first started. Ms Lippert also states that because juice cleanses are so restrictive in what sustenance they allow, they can lead to craving for such things as sugar and carbohydrates.

"[This] makes it easy to spiral back into not-so-great eating habits once you complete it," said Ms Lippert.

Toxic trouble

On a daily basis, we take in a great raft of toxins via the food we eat and the air we breathe, amongst other factors. Take a look at these statistics provided by the Global Healing Centre. In the air alone, we inhale some 200,000 toxins over 24 hours. A further 150,000 come from water, and a staggering 325,000 from food. Others come in drinks, stress and a slew of other factors, totalling up 2.1 million over a period of just one day. The body expels, on average, around 1 million in the same period, meaning that over twice that again remains in our bodies.

One of the biggest aims of the juice cleanse centres on ridding ourselves of these toxins, but does it successfully accomplish this goal? The fact is, not all toxins are as bad as the word would have you believe.

"From a nutritional perspective, toxins are found naturally in foods that we eat such as herbs, cabbages, potatoes and foods with cyanogens," said Dr Kelly Pritchett, to iTriage Health.

On a daily basis, we take in a great raft of toxins via the food we eat and the air we breathe.

Dr Pritchett also states that the human body also does a pretty good job of cleansing by itself, especially if you stick to a healthy eating plan replete with a variety of vitamins and minerals. 

Are there any health benefits to juice cleanses at all?

There can be, but not what you might first imagine. 

"Juice cleanses may teach us to eat better or become more conscious of the foods we put in our body; they also promote eating more fruits and vegetables and avoidance of processed foods," said Dr Pritchett. 

However, so far, serious scientific evidence is lacking with regards to whether or not these juices actually do expel toxins or maintain a good level of health.

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Juice cleanses: Are they worth the hype?

Juice cleanses have grown in popularity over the years, but just how healthy are these diets? We take a look at the weight loss and detoxing aspects of the trend.

When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, there are a whole range of diets, nutritional information and other factors that you can bring into play. One of the most popular health trends that has endured over the past few years is that of juice cleanses, which are often also referred to as juice detoxes, or fasts. As a dieting and health measure, it's right up there amongst the most controversial, but just what is a juice cleanse?

In this article, we'll examine just that, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of this prominent healthy eating plan.

What exactly is a juice cleanse?

There are a great many variations of what a juice cleanse may entail. On a basic level, it is defined as abstaining from solid food for a determined period of time, replacing it with juiced fruit, vegetables, and other healthy foods. Which of these goes into the juice depends upon the length of the diet, and some cleanses even allow for a minor intake of food.

However, the majority of them do not, and some products - defined as 'toxins' by juice cleansing proponents - are completely banned. These include sugar, alcohol, caffeine and gluten. The end goal, too, always remains the same - to help the dieter lose weight and to rid the body of toxins. But does it work? 

A juice cleanse can lead to weight loss - but is such a restrictive diet necessary?A juice cleanse can lead to weight loss - but is such a restrictive diet necessary?

The weighting game

It is true that by committing to a juice cleanse in an effort to lose weight, the dieter may well see particularly fast results. However, the loss is not down to burned fat and a lower intake of calories; more, it's to do with water and muscle decreases that naturally come with undertaking such a diet, according to Joy Dubost, of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, speaking to Live Science. Additionally, over time, repeated juice cleanses could lead to bone mass. What's more, it's not a weight loss that lasts.  

In an article for Real Simple, registered dietician Marissa Lippert states that once the juice cleanse is finished and you start eating solid foods once again, the weight will pile right back on, leaving you no better off than when you first started. Ms Lippert also states that because juice cleanses are so restrictive in what sustenance they allow, they can lead to craving for such things as sugar and carbohydrates.

"[This] makes it easy to spiral back into not-so-great eating habits once you complete it," said Ms Lippert.

Toxic trouble

On a daily basis, we take in a great raft of toxins via the food we eat and the air we breathe, amongst other factors. Take a look at these statistics provided by the Global Healing Centre. In the air alone, we inhale some 200,000 toxins over 24 hours. A further 150,000 come from water, and a staggering 325,000 from food. Others come in drinks, stress and a slew of other factors, totalling up 2.1 million over a period of just one day. The body expels, on average, around 1 million in the same period, meaning that over twice that again remains in our bodies.

One of the biggest aims of the juice cleanse centres on ridding ourselves of these toxins, but does it successfully accomplish this goal? The fact is, not all toxins are as bad as the word would have you believe.

"From a nutritional perspective, toxins are found naturally in foods that we eat such as herbs, cabbages, potatoes and foods with cyanogens," said Dr Kelly Pritchett, to iTriage Health.

On a daily basis, we take in a great raft of toxins via the food we eat and the air we breathe.

Dr Pritchett also states that the human body also does a pretty good job of cleansing by itself, especially if you stick to a healthy eating plan replete with a variety of vitamins and minerals. 

Are there any health benefits to juice cleanses at all?

There can be, but not what you might first imagine. 

"Juice cleanses may teach us to eat better or become more conscious of the foods we put in our body; they also promote eating more fruits and vegetables and avoidance of processed foods," said Dr Pritchett. 

However, so far, serious scientific evidence is lacking with regards to whether or not these juices actually do expel toxins or maintain a good level of health.

Juice cleanses: Are they worth the hype?
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