We’re always on the hunt for the next best way to improve our health, from nutrient dense, edible shots to the latest fad in milk (FYI, it’s camel). But sometimes this hunt yields surprising and downright disappointing discoveries. While we’re psyched this study shows that loving your body makes you healthier, we’re not as thrilled about the bad news on juice cleanses. According to this NYT article, juice cleansing doesn’t detoxify your body at all, so we asked registered dietician Julie Miller to break down this misconception.
Julie begins with a very important distinction, saying that “juice and its whole fruit and vegetable counterparts differ nutritionally and metabolically.” She explains that “unlike juice, which is devoid of nutrients and fiber, whole fruits and vegetables are nutritionally dense and contain an abundance of nutrients packaged in fiber.”
Since fiber is something we’ve seen added to everything from granola bars to ice cream, it does make us question why we’re taking it out of our fruits and veggies. “Sometimes I hear that people are juicing to ‘cleanse their gut.’ However, I find this odd because the human gut does quite an excellent job of cleansing itself.” She explains that our kidneys, intestines and liver all work together to detoxify our body, not the juice cleanse itself.
Furthermore, Julie asserts that “humans are designed to digest fiber. We have long digestive tracts because it takes a long time to digest and absorb plant material. Study after study has shown the relationship between fiber intake and reduced risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and gastrointestinal disorders, to name a few.”
With the experts stating that juice cleanses don’t live up to their claims, why do people still experience a renewed sense of wellbeing? Julie said, “Perhaps the people who claim to feel better after juicing do so because they have removed junk foods or other nutritionally poor foods from their diet during the cleanse, and what they feel is not necessarily the effects of juicing but rather of removing unhealthy foods from their diets.”
She recommends instead to eat nutritionally dense meals and cut out processed and packaged foods. Finding a balance between carbohydrates, proteins and fats are key to having a body that can detoxify itself. If you need a reboot to get off the junk food train, a cleanse might work short-term, but she advises against long-term cleanses as they can lead to nutrient deficiencies.
What do you think about juice cleanses? Let us know @BritandCo.
(Photos via Getty)