In every glossy we see A-Listers clutching something that resembles Shrek! Is juicing the new Atkins diet, or is this a genuine health movement that is here to stay?
What is it?
In simple terms juicing is getting vegetables or fruit, putting them into a machine to squeeze the juice out. Subscribers of this practice argue that it’s a good way to rid the body of built up toxins from everyday eating, but is it the real deal?
Juicers are opting for concoctions of kale, beetroot, cucumber, ginger, carrots, spinach, lemons and oranges. Even wheatgrass seems to be a firm favourite amongst some.
When we juice our vegetables though we lose all the fibre that comes with them. Fibre is something we need for a healthy digestive tract and by removing this we remove the benefits it brings for maintaining healthy gut bacteria.
People juice for a variety of reasons, some because it makes them feel better, some want to ‘detox’ and some because they’re after quick weight loss.
Weight loss will be a by-product of juicing but all this weight will come from depleting your glycogen stores (carbohydrates). Your weight on the scale will drop, but as soon as you eat solid food your glycogen stores will fill up and this weight will soon go back on.
Be careful when depriving yourself of any one thing, as you’re more than likely to go on a bingeing spree post-completion and be back at square one.
Now the issue here is people will juice again to get the weight off and fall into the cycle of juicing, eating, juicing etc. This is not a good thing to do from both a health point of view and a psychological one.
If you juice to give your digestive tract a rest and to have a true cleanse, then do so but do supplement with protein (this vital macronutrient is often left out), as it is impossible to detoxify with the absence of amino acids.
Is it for me?
We’d much rather see someone ‘detox’ by eating a well balanced and whole-food based diet first and foremost. Don’t throw the baby out of the bathtub and try everything at once. Include protein, carbohydrates and good fats in your diet and move on from there. If you want to try juicing, do so, but not as a weight loss method and not for a prolonged period as you will lose out on the essential vitamins and minerals required for everyday lifestyle. Add a juice daily into your nutrition to see how it works for you.