When starting the new year the first thing that comes to mind normally is to try and cleanse the body of all the food and alcohol consumed from Christmas to New year.
One of the first things you might think to do is a juice cleanse as they have been said to help lose weight and cleanse the body of toxins.
This may seem like a great idea in theory however, juice cleanses aren’t as healthy as clever marketing has lead us to believe!
When it comes to a juice cleanse their biggest selling and marketing point is that they remove toxins from your body.
However, there isn't scientific evidence or research to support this! They never state how it removes toxins from the body and they never state which toxins they are trying to remove.
If you want to detox your body or your blood you don’t need to look any further than your own body.
Our body has our own detoxifying organs such as:
The liver which filters and detoxifies toxins in the blood coming from the digestive tract before being passed around to the rest of the body.
The kidneys which remove waste from the body via urine and balance the body’s fluids.
The intestines which get rid of waste and bacteria leftover from food, after the nutrients, liquid and salt are removed.
A juice cleanse not only doesn’t detoxify our bodies it can actually disrupt gut health.
Juicing removes the fibre in fruits and vegetables.
Fibre feeds the healthy gut bacteria that live in our gut - the microbes (healthy gut bacteria). The microbes thicken the mucus wall which leads to lower inflammation in the body and aids in our bodies digestion of food.
The lack of fibre in these juice cleanses can lead to watery stools. The watery stool can flush out the intestines removing bad bacteria but at the same time removing the good bacteria that our gut needs.
Juice cleanses are also targeted at weight loss.
On a juice cleanse you will lose weight due to the fact you would be consuming far fewer calories, however, the weight your body does lose isn’t necessarily healthy weight.
When participating in a juice cleanse there is a lack of protein in your diet which can be harmful as the body may start breaking down muscle for energy or the production of important proteins int he body, such as enzymes (this is not a good thing!).
You may begin to lose “weight” on a juice cleanse but it might not be the weight you want to lose.
So If you are looking to hit the reset button on your body whether that be weight loss or want to feel well-nourished and ‘detoxified’ from the Christmas and New year festivities. A balanced diet of protein, wholegrain carbs and healthy fats along with adequate hydration will support your bodies detoxifying organs and help aid you in your weight loss journey.
If your goals are to lose fat mass and improve your digestive health, you won't find the answers in a juice cleanse. It may seem like an easy quick fix but it's really just a Band-Aid over a larger problem. Work on your mindset, your relationship with food, your routine, exercise and sleep. Make sure your diet contains plenty of fibre from a wide variety of sources.
If you are struggling with weight management read some more information here.
If you are struggling with gut health concerns we may be able to help you. Learn more here!
By Chelsea Blissett - Nutrition Intern