It’s another Monday morning in Los Angeles. I scroll through Instagram while waiting for my coffee to brew and see the usual pics: the selfies, the no filter, the food porn, etc. My friends complain that Instagram pics are always obnoxious and irritating. These pics never irritated me… until one day, a certain trend erupted: juice cleanses. All of a sudden, everyone started instagramming about their juice cleanse diet.
#Juicing #Cleanse #Detox #FreshStart #HealthyLiving #Diet
#NoPainNoGain #ReFresh #ByeByeToxins #IHaveNoIdeaWhatI’mDoing
Why am I so vehemently against juice cleanses? They’re complete and utter nonsense. That’s why.
People go through with these cleanses to lose weight, detox their bodies, and absorb nutrients that they don’t obtain from their normal diets. These seem like sound reasons to go through with a diet. Now let me ask you, can you tell me how a juice cleanse actually delivers all that it promises? I’ve posed this question to numerous people when they’re on a cleanse and their answers are always something along the lines of “Umm, the company that makes it told me it works and my friends are doing it…I think it’s a good idea.”
So, your reasoning is that someone told you to and a bunch of other people are doing it too? Do you remember what happened the last time a bunch of people drank something because someone else told them to? It was the Jonestown cult massacre of 1978 when 900 people drank cyanide laced Kool Aid and died. Hope that puts it into perspective.
The makers of juice cleanses tout lofty claims: weight loss, detoxifying the body, mental clarity, improved digestion, the list goes on. I must admit, it’s a seductive and appealing concept. All you do is drink juice numbered 1-6 each day. They took all the hard work out of dieting. No cooking, no food prep, nothing. Just pop open the fridge, drink your meal, and lose weight. Who wouldn’t want to reach for a miracle button like this?
During the cleanse, your caloric intake is at a mere 1,000-1,200 calories per day, consisting of fruit and vegetable juice. There is also an occasional nut milk thrown in for a small dose of fat and protein, but besides that it’s just fruit and veggie juice. It’s essentially a starvation diet.
“But Michelle, all diets are hard” you say. I agree, weight loss is certainly not easy, but it should be done through a healthy method that actually leads to results. Juice cleanses deliver zero results and are dangerous to your health.
You’re probably still sipping the Kool Aid at this point. Let’s go through the claimed benefits of cleanses and I’ll explain how none of it adds up.
The first and foremost defense of juicing is that ingesting fruits and vegetables in juice form allows the body to obtain the maximum amount of vitamins and minerals possible. FALSE. In order for your body to obtain vitamins and minerals from produce, you need the fiber, which was eliminated in juicing, to absorb them. Produce are meant to be consumed in whole form: skin, pulp, flesh, roughage, and all. This is where most of the “good stuff” lies. For example, the white pulp in oranges holds massive amounts of flavanoids, which have great antioxidant power, but that was all thrown out to get the juice, oops.
Juicing essentially strips produce of fiber, nutrients, and most vitamins and minerals, leaving you with sugar water. Yes, it’s fructose, a natural fruit sugar, but it’s still sugar and a lot of sugar at that. When you drink a bottle of juice, there is not as much plant fiber as there should be when consuming this amount of fructose, so your body absorbs the sugar much more easily, causing your blood sugar to sky rocket and then crash abruptly. This is especially dangerous considering that many of those who undertake a cleanse are overweight or obese and may be pre-diabetic. Frequent shifts in blood sugar can shove a pre-diabetic into full on diabetes.
This violent fluctuation in blood sugar causes you to feel fatigued and dizzy. That’s not quite the “mental clarity” you were promised. In fact, the components of a juice diet hinder normal brain functioning. Since you are eating at most 1,200 calories, while an adult should consume an average of 2,000, your body is in starvation mode. Without a suitable intake of calories and nutrients, your body breaks down its fat into ketones, a form of low grade energy that fails to fuel your brain, making it difficult to focus on even the simplest daily tasks.
Your blood sugar isn’t the only thing subject to fluctuations. Without protein, you are deprived of amino acids, which are required by neurotransmitters to uphold your emotional balance, launching you into the throws of mood swings.
Not only will you be cranky, but you’ll also be hungry- VERY HUNGRY. Forget the fact that you’re taking in barely over half the amount of calories you require, you’re also missing out on the two biggest hunger satiating factors: fiber and protein. You need ample fiber and protein in your diet to feel full.
The fatigue, dizziness, and hunger will make you feel drained, but the osmotic diarrhea you will be pounded with will LITERALLY drain you, and I mean DRAIN. Juice is chocked full of carbohydrates, which absorb water in your body, so you will need to be near a bathroom at all times. This does not sound comfortable. You went on this diet to lose weight and make yourself look more appealing. Please, tell me how appealing you are now that you’ve turned yourself into an upside down volcano. I’m just going to let that mental image sit with you.
The laxative effect of a juice cleanse is harmful to your digestive functioning. After your digestive system receives an added “push” from the juice, your body figures that it no longer needs to expend energy on digestion and concentrates on other areas, which causes you to feel constipated after the cleanse is over. Sometimes, irreversibly.
The proponents of cleanses state that putting your gut at “rest” from breaking down solid food revitalizes it. NEGATIVE. Our intestines actually work optimally with a constant flow of nutrient and fiber dense food. For example, the intestine requires glutamine, a breakdown product of protein, for nourishment. The bacteria lining the intestine need plant fiber to reinforce and replenish the intestinal cells in order to prevent foreign bacteria, chemicals, or food from leaking into the blood stream. A gut “rest” does anything but revitalize, it can even lead to irreparable nerve and muscle damage of gut tissue.
The website of a particular juicery advises customers that any dizziness, fatigue, hunger, and diarrhea are all signs that the cleanse is working. The worse you feel, the more toxins you had in your body to clean out. All this pain is just your body fighting to purify you. Last time I checked, this is supposed to be a diet, not an exorcism. No weight loss method should put the body in such a volatile state.
Speaking of “cleansing,” there is no scientific evidence that juicing can detoxify your body. In fact, the human body’s organ systems have evolved over the past 2.3 million years to expel toxic substances. Your liver, kidney, and intestine have detox covered and do not need any help from juice. If anything, a cleanse is toxic. In starvation mode, your body breaks up your muscle mass for energy into ammonia and uric acid, two toxic compounds, and flushes them into the blood stream. In addition, the previously discussed blood sugar fluctuations can damage the kidney’s ability to filter blood. Thank goodness your organs are there to detox you from the effects of your “detox.”
After reading all of this, I know what last shred of hope you’re holding onto. You just want to lose weight. If you can drop ten pounds, you’ll unabashedly take the risks. You will drop ten pound or so, there’s no denying that. Of course you’re going to lose weight when depriving yourself of fat/protein and eating only 1,000 calories. Oh, and guess what? You’re going to gain back fifteen. A juice cleanse wreaks havoc on your metabolism. In starvation mode, your body is preparing itself to be more thrifty with food that will be ingested later so that calories will not be burnt up as easily as before. Like I said, the human body has evolved a system of checks and balances to keep everything in order. That includes slowing down your metabolism when an extreme caloric reduction occurs to prevent starvation. As soon as you start eating normal food, your body will hold onto those calories. You’ll gain all that weight back and then some. Repeated cycling through weights can permanently slow the metabolism, making it even more difficult to achieve and maintain weight loss.
Many people notice that their body feels more “flabby”, for lack of a better word, after a juice cleanse. The new flab is explained by how your body has depleted all of its primary energy stores during this extreme low calorie diet and has turned to breaking down muscle mass for fuel. The ratio of fat to lean body mass increases, causing one to see “pooch” in areas they did not see it before. Also, lean body mass is needed to help fuel the metabolism. Losing muscle mass slows your metabolism and stunts future weight loss attempts.
There you have it: no detox, no improved digestion, no increased absorption of vitamins/minerals, no mental clarity, and certainly no weight loss.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but now you see that juice cleanses are useless as well as dangerous. There’s nothing magical about juicing, which teaches us all a valuable lesson: there’s no magic in healthy eating. A balanced diet packed with whole grains, lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables is the way to look your best. Let me clarify that it is okay to drink juice as part of a meal, just not your entire meal.
Now that you have the scoop on juice cleanses, do yourself a favor: stop it. If you’re on a cleanse now, chuck that bottle (preferably at the head of the juicery’s creator) and eat a decent meal. How about some salmon, grilled veggies, and brown rice? At the very least, please stop posting pictures of your juice bottles to look cool. There’s nothing cool about giving yourself diarrhea, none of us need or want to know that.
Thanks so much for reading, friends. With this knowledge, I hope that you “flush” the juice cleanse and opt for a balanced diet and exercise instead.
Until next week,