By Reem Abdulrahman Jassim al-Muftah
Juicing is very popular and what has become more popular is the juice cleanse diet or as some call it, detoxing. When this new healthy trend came out years ago, I went straight to it and gave it a try before actually researching the pros and cons and confirming the strongly marketed benefits. I tried a three-day juice cleanse that was supposed to do a quick reboot for my system with the potential effects of detoxing my body, increasing my energy and possibly losing fat and improving my overall health. I didn’t struggle that much and thought it was a smart way to refresh my overall well-being. The only thing is, I didn’t know of its highly potential risks or the best way to use juice and gain the claimed benefits.
There are a variety of juice cleanses that includes fruits, veggies and other ingredients such as spices, superfood powders, seeds and non-dairy milk. Some encourage on making pressed juice and some ask you to blend to make smoothies. This is the critical part, experts say that juiced cleanses are potentially harmful as they are full of sugar and have no fibre. Fibre is what actually helps your body cleanse itself and detox. Fibre also controls your appetite which is critical if you do want to lose some weight. Yes, it is true that drinking fresh fruit juice does wonders for your body, but of course, when it is full of pulp, fibre and good enzymes only — drinking juice does support and aid digestion. Blending your juice does not contain as much sugar or have as much roots and leaves. This fibre is needed to make a nutrient dense smoothie and to also make you feel more satiated, meaning it reduces hunger. Juicing might help you lose fast weight either through decreasing water retention, bloating and/or getting rid of fast calories, but once you stop, it is highly probable that you will gain it back and faster than expected.
Another big factor of juicing is the freshness of the juice or smoothie. When you buy store bought blends you are buying mass-produced and fruitier versions rather than vegetable-rich ones due to the pasteurisation process. The fresher the better, so do not be incentivised to buy the easy way out as it is not necessarily the best for you.
A big issue for me is that there are limited studies around the actual benefits of juice cleanses and if they are actually safe. A huge problem with juicing is that they lack vital proteins, essential fats and numerous vitamins and could be dangerous for those who have health problems. Another important side effect to note is the unpleasant feeling of most common symptoms such as dizziness, constipation, diarrhoea and nausea. Not getting the fibre needed to help slow down the entrance of sugar into your blood stream, you are most likely going to feel changes in your energy and mood levels. Another symptom might be dry skin.
Your body needs amino acids for it to detox, if you aren’t getting them through food, it is low when it comes to juice and smoothies. Therefore, juicing and blending are good components of a well-balanced diet as they help you increase your fruit and vegetables intake, therefore more of those nutrients supporting your overall health that you do not usually ingest. You can also add fish oil, lots of leafy greens, protein powder and grasses to increase the benefits. Just do not forget the best option of all, eating whole fruits and vegetable and foods that include those essential nutrients your body needs.
In conclusion, juicing is not so beneficial for your health and has many risks, but if incorporated throughout and into a well-balanced diet you can reap many benefits. Remember, always do your research, do not be afraid to consult a physician and always be safe when it comes to anything you want to do, especially when it comes to your health.
* The author is a wellness advocate and influencer @keys2balance.
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