Posted by Trevor Cray

The big fad for the last few years has been juicing for weight loss, cleanses and detoxification. This fad has predominantly been driven by marketing campaigns designed by companies trying to sell their overpriced juicer or their cleansing vitamins and detox supplements. Rather than falling for the hype generated by pseudoscience marketing campaigns and bloggers, we should be examining the science behind juicing to discover if it actually does make us healthier.

What is Juicing?

Juicing is a process that extracts juices from fresh fruits and vegetables. This usually strips away most of the solid matter, including seeds and pulp.  The resulting liquid contains most of the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants naturally present in the whole fruit or vegetable.

Does Juicing Work For Healthy And Effective Weight Loss?

Most juicing diets and juicing fast consist of eliminating all solid food for anywhere between 3 to 30 days and sometimes as long as 60 days. You can lose a tremendous amount weight depending how long the juicing diet lasts. But to be perfectly clear, anytime calories are excessively restricted any individual will certainly lose weight. More often than not, severely restricting diets don’t result in body fat loss. Rather, restrictive diets cause the body to believe it is starving and the body will begin to cannibalize valuable muscle tissue. This is an important distinction because any nutritional program should strive to help an individual maintain body weight while reducing body fat. So almost immediately we can begin to unravel the health claims of most, if not all, juice diets.

Secondly it is important to understand that a juice diet is extremely hard to maintain long term for several reasons. As we already discussed, most juice diets require you to severely restrict or eliminate all over forms of food. This means no chicken, eggs, salads, nuts, or even quality carbohydrates. As vegetables and fruits generally do not contain large amounts of calories, there is conceivably no way to consume all your required daily caloric needs. This again means that your body will be craving calories and the macronutrients that it is being deprived of over the course of the diet. What we have seen far too often in our own gym is clients (against our advice) begin a juice diet only to discontinue the diet after a few days due to hunger, fatigue, mood problems, sleep problems, and certainly workout performance problems. Any nutritionist or personal trainer should know that consuming adequate calories is absolutely essential to reducing total body weight, increasing workout performance, and most importantly reducing total body fat. Additionally, even though you might lose weight in the short term, you will put this weight back on. The weight that is lost is mostly water and muscle. By cutting out protein and fat, you will leave your body wanting to conserve fat and turn to burning muscle for energy. This is the exact opposite of what most of us want and what you should be trying to achieve. Unfortunately, as soon as you start incorporating solid food back into your diet, most of the weight that was lost will return and sometimes even more.

Again, it is clear that the claims made by the various companies trying to sell you juice diet or detoxification products are simply misleading you. Unfortunately for everyone who believes these claims, the end result of a juice diet or juice cleanse will almost certainly not result in sustained and long term fat loss.

So why do people believe juice diets or juice detox program will help them? The answer is very simple, because marketing campaigns tell them so. Below is a quote from a very popular juice cleanse and detoxification diet program:

 “You need this juice cleanse to rid your body of these toxins “. Or “it will prevent you from getting and treating cancer”.

 While this claim seems very positive and inspiring, there is absolutely no scientific evidence supporting the claim that juice diets are effective in the prevention or treatment of cancer. But it should be noted that eating a well-balanced and vegetable rich diet that supplies your body with the proper caloric intake can certainly make you a healthier person. There is ample research that demonstrates this fact, demonstrating that you would be far better off avoiding sugars, processed carbs, and dangerous chemicals than you would spending thousands of dollars of an ineffective but highly marketed product such as juice diets. Most popular juice diets cost between $50 to 60 per day and home juicers can cost up to $400. Add this altogether and you could be needlessly spending thousands of dollars per month on claims that are scientifically false.

So the important question that many of you have right now is, what should I be eating for health and efficient weight loss? You should be consuming whole fruits and vegetables every day in ample supply because they have extremely beneficial fiber and antioxidants found in their skin. Unfortunately for those who juice all of their fruits and vegetables, many of these valuable nutrients are often eliminated in the juicing process.

We hope that it is abundantly clear that most, if not all, juice diets and detoxification programs provide very little benefit to you. Instead, you would do extremely well to consume whole fruits, vegetables and nutrient rich foods. These foods will help you safely and effectively lose weight by proving your body with the calories and nutrients it needs to sustain energy throughout the day and during strenuous activity such as working out.

 

Trevor Cray, MS, CSCS is a personal trainer with an extensive knowledge base in personal training for weight loss, fat loss and sports performance.  His philosophy in health and wellness education is remarkably comprehensive and not only utilizes the latest technology and research to create individualized training programs but extends to lifestyle changes with support in daily routines such as grocery shopping and healthy cooking.   

For more information about how to change your diet and start an exercise program, contact Trevor at 253 347.6162 or by email at trevor.cray@unlv.edu.

 

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