The Truth About Juice 'Cleanses'

The Truth About Juice 'Cleanses'

Ro Huntriss  - EXALT Clinical Lead Dietitian - Jan 2021

We are often asked the question, "are juice cleanses safe...are juice cleanses healthy?" So we asked our Clinical Lead Dietitian Ro Huntriss to share her thoughts. Ok let's start with the basics:


So what exactly is a juice 'cleanse'?

A juice cleanse is generally marketed as a detox diet where liquefied fruit and vegetables are consumed for a short period of time. These often come with claims of weight loss, detoxing the body, supercharging your energy levels and boosting your immunity.

the problem with juice 'cleanses'

poor ingredients

Juice cleanses typically consist of just of fruit juice and water. This leaves you feeling hungry, tired & can cause nutritional deficiencies.

Dubious pseudo-science

Juice cleanses often come with claims of 'detoxing' the body, looking & feeling younger, supercharging your energy levels and 'boosting' your immunity, yet NONE of these claims are backed by any peer-reviewed studies.

not sustainable

Weight loss through many juice cleanses is simply through starvation with just 400kcal per day. When you finish, the weight just PILES back on as your body is protecting itself against future shocks. No more yo-yo diets.

harmful to your health

A diet made up exclusively of juice is deficient in protein, healthy fats, vitamin B12, and fibre. When juiced, fruit and vegetables lose the majority of their fibre meaning the sugar content is absorbed into the blood quickly increasing the risk of hunger, mood swings and cravings.

low in protein

Juice diets lack protein, which is required for maintenance of muscle mass as well as to support the body with growth and repair and hormone production. Consuming too little protein can also result in anaemia, physical weakness, oedema and impaired immunity.

Along with there being no scientific evidence to show that following a juice diet can significantly benefit our health, they could in fact be harmful. Although consuming fruit and vegetables in the form of a juice is not bad per se as they do contain antioxidant nutrients and folate (1) and can increase a person’s intake, a diet made up exclusively of juice is deficient in protein, healthy fats, vitamin B12, and fibre.

When juiced, fruit and vegetables lose the majority of their fibre meaning the sugar content is absorbed into the blood quickly increasing the risk of hunger, mood swings and cravings (2) all of which are undesirable consequences.

Juice diets also lack protein which is required for maintenance of muscle mass as well as to support the body with growth and repair as well as hormone production. Consuming too little protein can also result in anaemia, physical weakness, oedema and impaired immunity (3). Protein and fibre also help keep us feeling full.

Claims that a juice cleanse can detoxify the body are not accurate. Detoxification is a process that is carried out in a highly sophisticated way by our liver, kidneys, lungs and colon to remove toxins such as ammonia, waste products, drugs and alcohol.

There is no scientific evidence to suggest diet can aid these processes (4). A further unpleasant side effect of juicing can be diarrhoea; juice enthusiasts often suggest this is a sign your body is ridding itself of toxic substances but this is not the case, it is because of the high fructose content of juice. This can lead to poor water absorption, risking electrolyte imbalance headaches and fatigue.

JUICE DIETS AND WEIGHT LOSS

Juice diets provide a very low calorie content compared to what our bodies require so you will lose weight when following such a detox as you are in a significant calorie deficit. You will lose fat mass but you will also lose water mass too. When you follow a low-carbohydrate diet such as a juice diet, your body drops water weight.

Water is generally used to store carbohydrate in the body in the form of glycogen; when our carbohydrate intake drops, our glycogen stores deplete, meaning water is no longer needed to store it, resulting in a water weight loss. Due to the major calorie restriction juice diets are often only sustainable short-term, but should not be followed for a prolonged period of time due to the insufficient nutrient provision they offer. Inevitably the dieter quickly goes back to their usual pattern of eating within a short space of time, meaning any weight loss will be temporary.

Another concept to be aware of when considering a long-term significant calorie restriction is that the body can start to reserve its energy, lowering metabolism and slowing down weight loss, sometimes known as “starvation mode” so weight losses may not be as great as you may expect over time.

HOW TO SAFELY LOSE WEIGHT AND KEEP IT OFF

Losing weight at a realistic pace for you is a good way to reach a healthy weight and to maintain this long-term. It is recommended that to lose on average 1 lb per week, you need to create a calorie deficit of 500 calories per day. General advice recommends to eat three regular balanced meals, exercise portion control, and substitute high-calorie food for healthier, lower-calorie alternatives. Exercise can further help to aid weight loss and keep you healthy, helping you to reach your goals.

If you have any health conditions or take medication, you should seek advice from a registered dietitian, nutritionist or your GP before embarking on any weight loss intervention.

HOW DO EXALT HIGH-PROTEIN SMOOTHIES DIFFER FROM JUICE CLEANSES?

A high-protein EXALT smoothie is calorie controlled and could be used in place of one of your daily meals. EXALT smoothies are designed to be consumed as part of a healthy diet. One high protein smoothie provides all 9 essential amino acids, as well as a range of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and all three macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats). Its three-phase release of the protein can help to keep you feeling fuller for longer with a sustained protein release over seven hours to stave off hunger and cravings. It is sweetened with stevia, which has no calories and does not impact blood glucose or insulin levels compared with free sugars (7) providing a sustainable way to manage weight whilst offering a more balanced nutrient provision.

two NUTRITION plans from exalt:

Healthier Weight Loss from exalt

Our weight loss plans are designed by our clinical-lead dietitian for healthier, sustainable weight loss. We have two types of plan below. 
Say buh-bye to yoyo dieting baby! 👋🏼🙅🏻‍♀️

EXALT RESET

A two week expert-designed healthy, sustainable weight loss plan. 28 drinks, tailored meal plan & ongoing support.

The EXALT Life

This is our science-backed take on a juice cleanse. 2x juices & 4x protein smoothies per day.

About The Author

Ro Huntriss - EXALT clinical lead dietitian & nutritionist
BSc (Hons), PGDip, MSc, MRes, RD

We’ve been working with Ro as our clinical lead dietitian and nutritionist from the very beginning, to ensure our juices and smoothies provide everything your body needs to lead a nutritious and healthy, balanced lifestyle.

With several years’ experience working in the NHS and as an academic author, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition and the 2020 Public Health England, Ro is the perfect person to have at the forefront of our EXALT weight loss plans.

In the past, she has acted Clinical Lead Dietitian for Europe’s largest dietetic digital healthcare company, and most recently, her studies have focused on lower-carbohydrate diets for type 2 diabetes.

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