You’re getting it wrong. Really wrong.
It seems everywhere we look, we’re confronted with some sort of health kick. Whether for weight loss, clearer skin, or the dreaded detox, everybody is peddling something for our perceived self improvement. And one particular healthy lifestyle swear-by which seems to be everywhere, is juice cleansing.
There’s a lot of hype about the old three-day, five-day and ten-day liquid detoxes. They’ve racked up massive popularity in recent years, but the results are still decidedly mixed.
According to dietician and author of The Perfect Juice, Gabrielle Maston, juicing can be extremely beneficial to your health, if it’s done right. In Maston’s mother’s home country of Ecuador, juicing isn’t just a hippy fad; it’s a cultural fixture. So if there’s anyone who knows how to mix up a tasty health-giving potion right, it’s Maston, who says when it comes to juicing, there’s four things we’re getting very, very wrong…
1. Thinking green juices are going to cleanse our livers
One of the most common myths we hear about juice cleanses is they detox the liver. However, according to Maston, this is just not the case.
“Detoxing is a myth. The human body can naturally detox itself; we have a liver that processes toxins like alcohol.”
The liver can be likened to a mechanical filter. As blood flows through it, toxins pass into the liver cells, then a series of enzyme reactions convert these toxins into a less harmful state, before they’re naturally excreted.
“Our liver detoxes 24/7. This is without the use of juices and supplements. If it didn’t, we wouldn’t be able to live,” explains Maston.
2. Thinking a juice detox will cure chronic illnesses
While the fibre and nutrients contained in juice are beneficial in terms of general health, juicing itself is not going to cure cancer, or any other serious ailment.
“Although food is used as medicine in many instances, curing disease isn’t one of them,” Maston says.
“Cancer especially, is a complex condition and the cause has not yet been found. You may feel better drinking juices if you are ill, but it won’t cure aliments.”
There are benefits of avoiding toxins if you have a health condition, but just eating healthy, rather than stressing over juices, is typically enough.
3. Thinking a juice fast will help us shed pounds
Bad news, all you detoxers. Weight loss is (unfortunately) probably the biggest myth surrounding juice cleansing. While you may feel like you lose some serious jiggle, according to Maston, it’s superficial, not permanent.
“Fibrous filled juices can help you eat more vegetables, and provide you with a filling meal, but on their own they won’t solve weight problems,” she says.
“Doing a two-week stint of juicing alone for weight loss and not eating anything else isn’t advised. Generally speaking, cleanses are very low in energy, which means you will lose weight quickly, but you will also gain it back quickly.”
The reason juice fasts often result in temporary weight loss is due mainly to water loss. Overall, your metabolism will actually be slower than when you first started the cleanse as a result of being forced to come to a grinding halt when you suddenly start depriving your body of necessary calories.
4. Thinking you’ll get more nutrients from juicing than eating
We’ve all heard this one; food consumed in liquid form is far more nutritious than its solid counterpart. However, Maston asserts even if you are blending your ingredients rather than juicing them, you’re still not going to access extra nutrients.
“Blending your food doesn’t unlock more nutrients. The nutrient content of liquid food compared to chewing your food is exactly the same,” she states.
“The only advantage of juicing is it provides you with more opportunities to eat more vegetables, rather than cramming them into your main meals.”
Therefore, if you’re not a fan of fruits and vegetables on their own, blending them is a good idea, as you’ll get your daily dose disguised as a delicious smoothie. But as for any extra nutrients, don’t go looking at the bottom of your cup!
And for an example of how to do juicing right; take a look at this easy-peasy recipe from The Perfect Juice…
3 1/2 oz (100g) mixed berries (frozen or fresh)
1 tsp probiotic powder
1 tsp chia seeds
1 cup of water
Blend all ingredients together in a high speed blender, pour into a tall glass and serve chilled. It’s that easy!
Images via giphy.com, tumblr.com and instagram.com.