Do you want to be healthier, more energetic, have clearer skin, detox your system, eat more fruits and vegetables and even drop a few kilos? According to the latest health fad all this can be yours in three to five days.
Over the last five years the juice cleanse business has been booming. A juice cleanse requires drinking only fruit and vegetable juices for three to five days. Advocates claim it will detox your body by letting your gut rest from digesting food and focus on eliminating toxins in your system. Other benefits include consuming a large amount of vegetables and fruit, rehydrating your body, reducing your appetite, resting your liver, increased energy, weight loss and encouraging healthier habits.
These cleanses are especially popular amongst young women and when you look at the marketing it’s not hard to see why. Brands like Natural Detox Drinks and Schkinny Maninny, promise you’ll “Get high on healthiness, extra wriggle room in your jeans and compliments on your complexion”, promoting juice cleanses as a healthy and easy way to lose weight.
Buffy-Ellen Gill is the founder of Be Good Organics – an online food, skincare and health store, and an award-winning researcher and writer. She agrees that the marketing of juice cleanses is unfair on women, especially young girls, who may be looking for a quick and easy weight loss solution. “The dangers in my opinion are young girls getting into these cleanses as a way to lose weight quickly, and not doing them in a sound and appropriate manner,” she says. As juice cleanses can reduce your calorie intake to under 1000 calories a day, regularly undertaking juice cleanses can damage the metabolism. During a cleanse the body thinks it’s starving and lowers your metabolism – done often enough, it can be permanent. The promoted quick weight loss is also usually attributed to water weight, regained once the cleanse ends.
Many nutritionists and experts are critical of the benefits promoted by juice cleanses. They argue the body already has an inbuilt ‘detox’ system through our liver, kidneys and intestines and therefore doesn’t require any additional cleansing through juice detoxes. Buffy says there is also a bigger risk amongst young women to be “too extreme” with juice cleanses and unaware of the potential dangers. Juice cleanses can leave out critical nutrients your body needs to function, such as protein and fat, and juicing removes nutrients you gain from eating fruit and vegetables. Not to mention they’re expensive, a three-day cleanse will cost you around $200 and a five-day upwards from $300.
This doesn’t mean we should avoid juicing completely. Most critics of juice cleanses encourage including fresh vegetable juices as part of your diet, rather than eliminating food. “Incorporating a slow cold pressed vegetable based juice each day or every second day I think is a wonderful moderate way to help cleanse the body and assist in lifting energy levels, skin tone, and overall wellbeing,” Buffy says. Buffy also advises that for most people a sensible one-day cleanse is fine, provided you are drinking at least 6-10 beverages including two higher energy juices or nut milks.
Some businesses, such as Pressed Juices, approach juicing as more than just cleanses, selling their vegetable and fruit juices individually and promoting their products as a beneficial addition to a daily diet.
So if juice cleanses aren’t the answer to revitalising our system, what is? Buffy encourages a holistic plant-based organic approach to diet and lifestyle focusing on fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seed and grains. So really it’s what we already knew. Swap those short-term diet fixes for a long-term holistic approach to healthy eating and you’ll be bouncing out of bed in the morning in no time.