Everyone is aware that fruit and vegetables are beneficial for our health, therefore the idea of juicing/juice diets seem like a great way to add our daily servings to our diet. However, consuming just juice alone could lead to potential health problems. There are many different varieties of juice diets or cleanses, some require one or two meals to be replaced with a juice whilst others only permit liquids to be consumed.
One of the biggest claims of juice cleanses and diets is that it helps to detoxify the body – believe it or not, this claim has been bashed by medical experts who say that we don’t need any help in detoxifying our body as our liver, intestines and kidneys are highly evolved systems that rid our body of toxins and unwanted waste.
You’ve all heard of the positive attributes of juicing, but what about the negatives?…
1) Overall Weight Gain
Like most diets or fads it will be hard to keep any weight lost off after the diet when you make the transition of from drastically lowering your calories to consuming additional calories again.
When you start to consume more you will put weight back on and possibly more – living on such low calories is not sustainable.
Even if you were to follow the plan for a long time this could result in metabolic damage as your body will become used to surviving on little calories and weight loss will stall.
2) Weakened immune system
Most juices contain no source of protein and very little fat, yet we need protein to sustain and create new muscle tissue and help keep our immune systems healthy. The body will eventually start to break down muscle tissue if we starve it of protein for too long.
A lack of fat in your diet could also result in poor condition of your skin and hair. If you do juice, try adding a handful of nuts and half – to a full avocado to your juices as a source of plant protein and healthy fats.
3) Poor digestive system
Juicing fruits and vegetables often removes the fibre, a big claim of many juice diets is that by doing this it helps the body because it gives the digestive system a break, this is false as fibre is extremely important in keeping our digestive systems healthy and working correctly.
If you don’t consume enough fibre you may experience stomach upset, bloating, gas and constipation. The fibre that is removed through juicing also helps you to feel satisfied after eating.
4) Headaches, moods, dizziness
Juice cleanses or diets often result in weight loss but this is because it drastically lowers your daily calories, with most diets being under 1000 calories.
This could lead to dizziness, feeling nauseous, headaches, fatigue, moodiness and changes in bowel function.
5) Affect blood sugar levels
Because of the lack of fibre in some juice’s, the body absorbs more fructose sugar readily – this can affect your blood sugar levels, something which diabetics should be wary of. Symptoms of this include an increased thirst, tiredness and a dry mouth.
Juicing should not be a substitute for eating real food, eating frequently can stable your blood sugar levels. If you are anaemic it is especially important that you get enough iron in your diet, juices often lack this vitamin so you could worsen your condition, making you feel more lethargic and pale in colour.
6) Affect Your Long Term eating Patterns
Living off juice alone can leave you with nutritional gaps, you are unable to get all of your vitamins and minerals from juice alone and lacking in essential nutrients can make you more vulnerable to infections and sickness.
Juice is also not as satisfying as a whole meal, you’re more likely to want to snack and this could lead to binge eating. These kind of diets can reinforce the notion that food is the enemy, we need to promote a healthy lifestyle that involves fruits and vegetables along with whole foods.
Take home message
However, for a healthy person a three day ‘cleanse’ won’t do any harm, it is a harsh and regimented plan but this could have psychological benefits, the sense of achievement of pushing through the challenge could be rewarding.
Juice diets could be a great way to jump start a diet, it can help to control and curb appetites and cravings. The influx of concentrated nutrients can benefit the body, many people report feeling more energized. However, we must be careful not to let diets of this nature promote punishment for indulgence. Following a juice diet for too long could cause serious damage to your health and electrolyte balance. Juicing is not a solution for bad eating habits, it would be better to cleanse your diet instead of trying a cleanse diet.