Juice detoxing; also known as liquid dieting, juice dieting or juice fasting has been around for years and still seems to be a popular choice for many.
In this article we’ll take a look at what’s involved in a juice detox, why people do it and whether or not it’s actually safe to do.
What is juice detoxing all about?
A juice detox comprises of a blend of water, fruit and raw vegetables which are liquidized and consumed in place of regular solid meals.
The concept behind juice detoxing is that it acts as an all over cleanser.
The body ‘flushes out’ free radicals and other harmful pollutants which reside in the food we eat as well as the environment around us. Getting rid of these toxins is thought to bring about a number of health benefits including weight loss, improved concentration, higher energy levels and strengthening of the immune system.
It is also thought that juice detoxing allows for a greater absorption of essential vitamins and antioxidants, as they are ingested in their purest forms.
Why do people choose to go a Juice detox?
For a number of reasons really. Many people are looking for a fast way to lose weight and this form of dieting certain lives up to that expectation.
Take for example:
Beyonce Knowles who reportedly lost 20lbs in just two weeks for her role in Dreamgirls, after going on a juice diet consisting of a blend of syrup, lemon juice, water and cayenne pepper.
50 Cent took this to the extreme and looked emaciated to the core after losing 54lbs in 9 weeks on a liquid diet. Yep that was for movie role too. By his own admission he literally starved himself throughout the whole period!
But weight loss isn’t the only reason for choosing this form of dieting. Some people go on religious or spiritual fasts and believe the process of cleansing the body of solid foods brings a greater level of clarity.
Others do it for health or medical reasons which require them to abstain from solid food for a short period of time under the instruction of their medical practitioner.
Are there any side effects associated with juice detoxing?
Yes! And the alarming thing is that many medical experts and nutritionalists can’t seem to agree on the effectiveness of juice detoxing or even other forms of detox, particularly for weight loss purposes.
I’ve listed a number of the most common juice detox side effects here:
- Stomach problems: The high acidic values in certain fruits many lead to stomach upset or ulcers if taken on a prolonged basis. Particularly true of citric fruits like lemon, lime and tomato.
- Constipation: Increased chance of constipation due to the lack of fibre intake when drinking juice alone. Juice by itself does not provide enough roughage in order to keep your bowel movements regular.
- Weakness and fatigue: In direct contrast to the increased energy some people experience whilst on this type of detox, you may actually find a decrease in energy levels. Particularly if participating in an extended detoxification process. There are just not enough vitamins and nutrients in juice alone to sustain the energy levels required for the longer term.
- Malnutrition: Protein or calcium deficiencies may occur with prolonged detoxing.
- Dehydration: Now you may be wondering how on earth that’s possible with all the liquid you’re drinking. However, most of these fruit and vegetable juices hold natural diuretic properties. Diuretics cause the body to actively flush out fluids. You’ll find your urination levels will increase and if those fluids are not rapidly being replaced, dehydration is most likely to occur. You’ll find a list of diuretic fruits and vegetables below.
- Diahorrea: Fruit sugars (fructose) when taken in high quantities, as in the case of juice detoxing, can lead to diahorrea. Which in turn gives rise to dehydration as mentioned above.
- Reduced metabolism: As there isn’t much mastication and ingestion of solid food going on, there’s little much for your body to burn. Your metabolism therefore slows down as a consequence. The danger with this is that when your body starts to process solid foods again, there is an increased chance of weight gain. This article on how to burn calories fast discusses this in more detail.
- Mood swings: Your blood sugar levels are likely to be lower whilst on a juice detox, which makes you more susceptible to mood swings. You’re likely to notice feelings of irritability, anxiousness or even depression.
- Miscellaneous: Nausea, vomiting, headaches, migraines, skin breakouts, low blood pressure and bad body odour.
List of the main diuretic fruits and vegetables:
|Diuretic Fruit||Diuretic Vegetables|
How long is it safe to be on a juice diet?
Most nutritionists say no longer than a week. In fact one to three days seems to be an appropriate and less riskier amount of time to be on a juice detox. Remember, the longer you stay on this diet the more likely you are of developing nutrient deficiencies and other side effects.
Is juice detoxing safe for everyone?
No. It’s not advisable for the following groups:
- Pregnant women
- Nursing mothers
- Under 18s
- People who are pre or post operative
- Those taking prescription medicines
- People with health and medical problems such as diabetes, kidney disease, low blood pressure, nutritional deficiencies or eating disorders, terminal illness, disorders of the stomach or intestinal track and other chronic forms of illness
As you can see, these diets can cause you serious harm if not followed carefully and sensibly.
If your mind is set and you want to start a juice detox make sure you have fully researched what’s involved before taking the plunge.
As always, I strongly suggest you seek out the advice of a qualified nutritionalist, dietician or medical practitioner before starting any form of diet; particularly any weight loss program which has the potential for rapid or dramatic weight loss.
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