By Andy Pilides
So what is juicing? Fruit and vegetables are squeezed and pressed until they are extracted of their natural juices. This juice is then drunk throughout the day in replace of all meals and snacks. On average, a juicing diet will suggest you follow the liquid regime for a minimum of 7 days, some regimes are seen to last for up to a whopping 90 days suggesting this is enough time to complete a full cleanse and healing process.
Many juices will be a concoction of vegetables such as kale, cucumber and spinach and also fruits such as lemons, grapefruit and blueberries. This all sounds pretty healthy right? It is, you're correct. However, it's not the contents of the juicing diet that is the problem, the problem lies in what the diet doesn't contain.
Firstly, let's look deeper in to what our food contains in terms of macronutrients. Macronutrients come in the form of protein, carbohydrates and fat and are used for your body's organ functions, energy and growth. You will often see these listed on the nutritional label of most food products. In order for your body to function in a healthy way, a combination of fats, protein and carbohydrates should be consumed. Following a juicing diet hugely lacks in two vital macronutrients, being your proteins and your fats. Your diet is then forced to solely rely on just carbohydrates, which is not ideal for optimal health. Including fats and proteins within your diet looks after your blood sugar levels, increases bone density, strengthens hair and nails and promotes optimal strength and energy levels.
Fibre, along with water, is vital for keeping our digestive system running regularly. Fibre is found in the skin and pulp of your fruit and vegetables and in-fact is one of the main reasons they are so good for us! Ironically, juicing is said to cleanse and detoxify the body but in actual fact eliminating high fibre foods from your diet will do more long-term damage to the function of your digestive system than good.
Our bodies do amazing things, detoxing, digesting and processing everything we eat and drink daily. Your body does this by itself, and has been doing it this way since the day you were born, it therefore doesn't need help from a week-long juicing diet you once read the recipe for online. One of the most important roles given to the gut is to break down and simulate food. Consuming food solely in liquid form is one of the ways you can down-regulate your gut's function, especially if this is done for prolonged periods of time.
Physical Side Effects
The initial 'amazing' feeling people reportedly get when starting their juicing diet soon subsides once weight loss settles and side effects begin to appear. Dizziness, constipation, headaches and lack of energy are all very common physical side effects you can expect to gain from your juicing diet.
It's proven that when your body lacks solid food you become hungry. Yes you will feel as light as a fairy but those juices really do pack a punch when it comes to their calories. It's not uncommon for a freshly pressed juice to rack up the same amount of calories as a well-balanced and filling meal.
If you're looking to lose weight and keep it off, then juicing is not the answer. Initially the pounds you drop will be in the form of water weight, as you are no longer eating solids and food with density. Once this initial water weight loss has settled the scales will do too. This is the moment many tend to give up, binge and revert quickly back to their original way of eating.
Pounds for lbs.
Don't expect that removing all this food from your diet and switching to juice will be cost effective either. Whether you make your own or buy your juices pre-made and bottled you will soon notice buying a bit of fruit and veg isn't as cheap as you once thought. Typically an average recipe for a juice drink will contain a mixture of 5-7 fresh fruits and vegetables. With many juicing diets suggesting 4-6 juices a day for a minimum of 7 days you can soon see how your costs will mount up.