The Scoop on the Juice Diet

The Scoop on the Juice Diet

Liquid fruit and veggie nutrition may sound healthy enough, but experts warn against them Even before the birth of bathing suits, every woman has dreamed of owning a perfectly shaped body. Today, men share this vision as well. With these lofty dreams come promises a plenty – a pill and a fad diet around every

Liquid fruit and veggie nutrition may sound healthy enough, but experts warn against them

Even before the birth of bathing suits, every woman has dreamed of owning a perfectly shaped body. Today, men share this vision as well. With these lofty dreams come promises a plenty – a pill and a fad diet around every corner, complete with your guarantee of achieving a flawless physique.

Many are obvious paths toward failure. Some actually make perfect sense – like the “juice diet.” It’s a recent diet trend gaining popularity. After all, we’re supposed to eat lots of fruits and veggies, right? Right! But, keep in mind, the optimum word is “eat.” Let’s take a closer look at what those who choose the juice diet are consuming.

Drink the Fat Away

The basic juice diet consists of processing fruits and vegetables through a juicer, extracting the juice and discarding the flesh. The idea is to load your body with nutrients from these vitamin and mineral packed plant foods. Sounds healthy enough. And even better, discarding all that difficult-to-digest fiber gives your gastrointestinal system a rejuvenating rest, which is thought to decrease toxicity levels in your body, as well as excessive fat. Thus, weight loss occurs.

A regular juice diet “meal” might include a combination of cucumber, pineapple, spinach, carrots and celery juices. Enthusiastic juicers often consume five-to-six of these drinks each day in place of their regular meals, and the fat begins to fade away. There’s just one not-so-minor detail missing … protein. Supporters of the juice diet claim they get their protein from leafy green vegetables, including kale, spinach and collard greens. Which is true, to some extent.

Women should eat around 46 grams of protein per day, and men should eat around 56 grams, advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Including leafy green vegetables in your diet can increase your protein intake somewhat. However, meat, fish legumes, nuts and seeds have higher amounts of protein necessary to meet the required amounts we need to stay strong and healthy. Daily protein deficits can lead to muscle loss.

Experts and the Juice Diet

Most doctors believe the juice diet needs more research to support many of its claims. Manuel Villacorta, RD, the founder of Eating Free, a weight management program, agrees. “I have not seen any research or science paper to support that cleansing is happening from juicing,” he says. Physicians agree that the kidneys and liver naturally cleanse the body daily.

In addition, doctors believe certain medications and prescription drugs may interact with the juice diet and could possibly cause adverse effects. For example, some fruits and vegetables are high in vitamin K – like kale and spinach. Large amounts of these vegetables, consumed daily – as in a juice diet – may change how blood thinner medications like Warfarin work.

Furthermore, the diet may not be a good idea for people with certain health conditions such as diabetes. “Drinking so much juice could lead to unstable blood sugar levels” warns Liz Applegate, director of sports nutrition at University of California, Davis. Juice diets are high in sugars, making them a poor choice for diabetics using insulin to control blood sugar.

Some juice diet recipes call for spicy vegetables, such as cayenne pepper, which could irritate the colon. This is significant for people who have sensitivity or digestive problems like Irritable Bowl Syndrome.

In addition, the diet has been proven to cause headaches, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, moodiness, stomach pain and hunger pangs. “Be prepared for changes in bowl function and frequent bathroom visits,” Applegate adds.

Sustainable Weight Loss

Nutritionists agree that adding fresh vegetable and fruit juice to a well balanced diet is a good idea. But all or nothing fad diets like the juice diet, which offer quick weight loss, are simply not sustainable. As soon as you return to your old food choices, the fat returns. Yet, lost muscle lost is harder to regain.

To achieve healthy, permanent weight loss, you must make long-term lifestyle changes. Eating reasonable portions of whole, unprocessed foods, avoiding junk food and incorporating exercise into your daily routine is the only way to stay trim and fit and feel great.

To start a life-changing plan you must first believe in yourself. Your diet should never be about torturing yourself. Rather, it should be a pleasant journey to a happier you and a healthier life. Find the foods and exercises you enjoy and make them a habit.

Remember Dr. Seuss when it comes to your ability to make the right choices. “You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes, you can steer yourself any direction you choose!” Take responsibility for your weight and your health. It all begins and ends with YOU!

By Diana Dunne

 

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