Have you ever felt so desperate to lose weight, that you would almost try any diet out there just to lose the weight? It is the time of year that many of us are looking for the proverbial 'quick fix' to shake of the excess weight we gained during the festive season.
Most people start their search towards weight loss on google - probing for diet trends that promise quick results.
When searching for "the best diets for weight loss" - 63 100 000 results appear. There are so many diet advice out there, that searching through just a few will probably leave you feeling confused, panicked and miserable!
For the next few weeks, I will be reviewing some of the most popular diet trends and what their possible benefits and disadvantages are. This way, you can make an informed decision about the route of weight loss you decide to take.
First up, is Juice diets.
Juicing has been made famous by various Hollywood actresses, like Jessica Alba, Gwyneth Paltrow and Salma Hayek.
What is Juicing?
This diet has many names ranging from juice detox, juicing, juice fasting, juice cleansing. During a juice fast or -cleanse, a person limits their diet to only fresh vegetable and fruit juices and water for anywhere from a few days to several weeks. The fast/ cleanse focuses on freshly made, unpasteurized juice, so store-bought juices wouldn't be allowed - although some juice diets might specify the use of specific juice products.
What does Juicing claim to do?
Juice cleanse-/ fasting diets guarantee quick weight loss - up to 15kg weight per week. It also claims that juice contains more vitamins and minerals than whole fruit / vegetable and that your digestive system gets a break from digesting fibre. It also claims to cure many conditions: from cancer to glowing skin.
Is Juicing Good for Weight Loss?
Weight loss is achieved by reducing the number of kilojoules you consume in a day. Weight loss will probably happen due to the caloric restriction and omission of fat in the diet. It will however be gained back when you return to normal eating. In the long-term, juicing may lead to increased insulin levels - which increases fat storing. Because entire food groups (proteins, fats and certain carbohydrates) are excluded, your appetite will increase - leading to large cheat meals. In the long term, protein and fat deficiency cause a decrease in metabolism which can lead to further weight gain. Depending on the type of juice - juicing might lead to weight gain due to the high content of fructose sugar in fruit juice.
Possible benefits of Juicing
For those that struggle to meet more than 5 fruit and vegetables a day, juicing can be a way of consuming more fruit and vegetables.
Research indicate that increasing fruit and vegetable intake may protect against certain disease like cancer, heart disease and strokes- but when eating actual fruit and vegetables, legumes, seeds and nuts as part of a healthy diet.
Possible negative effects of Juicing
- Because various food groups are omitted from the diet, you will be missing out on many key nutrients which may cause deficiencies if a juice diet is followed for too long e.g. iron and vitamin B deficiencies.
- Including 4 or more fruit in a juice serving can lead to the consumption of a large amount of kilojoules and sugars.
- Most juicing machines call for removing skins from produce - therefor reducing the benefit of many phytonutrients and fibre.
- Juicing can be very expensive and time consuming. Because homemade juices are not pasteurized, it cannot be stored.
- Juices are less filling than whole fruit and vegetables due to the absence of fibre, protein and fats.
- Juicing is not safe for everyone - especially not for those with diabetes and insulin resistance or those on certain prescribed medication. Always consult your doctor before going on an extremely restrictive diet.
- Juicing is not sustainable
Will Juicing detox my body?
Your body relies on your own liver, lungs and kidneys for detoxing and is constantly filtering out, breaking down and excreting toxins and waste products. While phytonutrients in fruit and vegetables might assist with detoxing, you are missing out on protein that forms a very important part of the detox process.
Juicing might be beneficial to those who do not reach their 2 - 4 fruit and 3 - 5 vegetable servings daily. But it is better to include fruit and vegetables juices as part of a balanced that that includes proteins, fats, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds - instead of on its own.
1. Spring cleansing: Assessing the benefits of and risks of detox diets. Today's dietitian, Vol. 10 No.5 P. 34. May 2008. [http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/tdmay2008pg34.shtml
2. Do juice cleanses work? [www.Huffingtonpost.com]
3. Detox diets for toxin elimination and weight management: a critical review of evidence, Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, 2015.