Juicing has recently become very popular. Do you juice for health reasons (i.e. adding more nutrients to your daily intake) or are your trying a detox juicing diet for weight loss? Juicing diets which are low in calories and often used for detox and weight loss can be harmful and an unsustainable way of loosing weight.

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Detox low calorie juicing diets, should you or shouldn’t you?

Juicing as a method of detoxing for weight loss has recently become very popular! But are detox juicing diets healthy? Today, I hope to share some interesting points for you to consider…

Detox juicing diets are not necessarily a healthy and sustainable way to lose weight, especially if the calories per day are too low (<1000 kCal). Very low calorie diets cause fast weight loss, however most of this would be in the form of water and muscle mass. When going ‘off the diet’ because let’s face it, who can just drink juices for days on end, you would most likely gain all that weight back, if not more (depending on duration of the very low calorie diet for). Another important point to consider is that when you lose muscle mass, you also do damage to your metabolism. Did you know that having a slow metabolism can be as a result of following too many FAD diets?

But I have heard that juicing cleanses the body?

This is a marketing ploy. The body has its own detoxification systems, which means that you really don’t need to juice to ‘detox-your-body’. Your liver, kidneys and the lymphatic system are the body’s detoxification systems and this system can handle most potentially toxic substances (WITHOUT juicing, and it has been doing so for years.)

How to assist your body’s own natural detoxing systems and to promote weight loss?

The answer is simple, eat a healthy balanced and varied diet (yet so much of us still struggle with this). So let us break it down. Here are six tips to get you started on eating a healthy balanced and varied diet:

  • Drink plenty of clean safe water
  • Eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables every day
  • Exercise regularly, at least 30 minutes on most days
  • Reduce your intake of alcohol and caffeine
  • Learn more about nutrition, portion sizes and how to eat for your body
  • Establish a regular eating routine that suits your lifestyle and your needs

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Remember, your psyche also needs to be healthy for weight loss to be successful. Dieticians play key roles in helping their clients establish a healthy relationship with food which is often one of the most challenging tasks.

But can there be any benefits to detox juicing diet?

The short answer, juicing detox low calorie diets are not proven to be effective and may do more damage than good BUT if the juicing is used as a part of a healthy eating plan it can be of benefit.

One of the benefits is a higher intake of micronutrients and phytonutrients (vitamins and minerals) but only if your previous diet/ eating plan was low in fruits and vegetables. It is important to note that you don’t need to juice fruits and vegetables to receive an adequate amount of micronutrients. Eating fruits and vegetables fresh and whole provides enough micronutrients and added fiber, a massive bonus!

A study conducted in 2013 was published in the British Medical Journal which found that nurses who ate whole fruit, especially blueberries, grapes and apples, were less likely to get Type 2 diabetes than those who drank fruit juices. Those who drank the juices were at increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes.

This can be especially applicable to your situation if you use more fruit in your juices than vegetables. For example, the average yellow Cold Pressed Juice of 450 mL = 38 g carbohydrate = just over 2 slices of bread equivalent in calories. Also remember that liquid meals digest much faster (1-2 hours) compared to more solid meals (3-4 hours) therefore you can expect feeling hungry again soon after a juice compared to a solid snack/ meal.

By adding a juice to your daily intake can help you focus on achieving optimal health in terms of getting all the nutrients your body needs.

Why not incorporate the following tips when adding a juice to your daily eating plan

  1. Use juicing as a tool and an add-on to your healthy eating plan
  2. Don’t lose your focus on eating lots of vegetables at lunch and supper and fruit as snacks.
  3. Make juices predominately from vegetables and watch how much fruit you add to juices.
  4. Use some interesting spices to add some spunk and flavour to your juices, such as fresh ginger, cinnamon and mint.

Most of us, if you be really honest with yourself, don’t eat enough vegetables so this is a fantastic way to get in extra nutrients!

Our favourite juicing recipe:

  • 1 large green apple
  • 1 large celery stick
  • 2 cups of spinach/ kale
  • ¼ cucumber
  • Splash of apple juice
  • Crushed ice

For further information on portion sizes, how to juice responsibly and any other nutrition advice, contact the Nourish Dieticians (Catherine Day and Kim Hofmann), helping you love healthy choices.

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