Thinking about doing a juice detox? Emma Bangay decided to sort some facts from fiction.
A flatter stomach? Glowing skin? A cleansed system? A lot of people looking to lose weight for summer will consider a juice cleanse - but is it actually worth it?
MYTH: Juice cleansing depletes the body of necessary nutrients.
“The consumption of nutrient dense, solid food can certainly contribute to promoting a healthy body and mind,” explains Bannie Williams, Nutritionist and Product Manager for Organic Avenue Australia. “However, juice cleanses, or detoxes can also be implemented as part of a healthy routine to flood the body with additional nutrients, give the digestive system a break and to assist the body with its natural detoxification process.”
FACT: Some research has shown that juice detoxes don’t have any health benefits.
There isn’t a huge amount of research in regards to the long-term health benefits of juice cleanses. However, each cleansing experience is unique, and not all health benefits are effective immediately afterwards Bannie points out.
MYTH: Juice cleansing should be done religiously to reap benefits.
There are no set rules in regards to how regularly juice cleanses should be done. “Everybody is subjective, and cleanses can be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle when required by the individual,” says Bannie. For some this is every two months, others it’s every season and some people may want to reboot just once a year.
FACT: Juice detoxes are not about weight loss.
Juice cleanses can have many positive health outcomes if consumed as part of a healthy and balanced lifestyle, Bannie explains. The main health benefits associated with juice cleanse are:
• Giving the digestive system a break from animal products, gluten, and refined sugars which in turn can improve digestion and decrease bloating after a cleanse.
• Giving the liver and internal organs a break from metabolizing substances including sugar, excess sodium, alcohol, and caffeine.
• A boosted immune system as a result of increased nutrient intake and the consumption of anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory ingredients.
• Eradication of toxins out of the body and increased antioxidant intake.
MYTH: You can maintain your busy daily schedule whilst detoxing.
Although juice cleanses are usually nutritionally formulated to ensure you can maintain your current lifestyle/exercise regime, it is generally recommended to select a time to cleanse where you don’t have any additional stressors or life/work demands, Bannie advises.
MYTH: Once you detox, your body then re-toxes faster.
"There is no evidence to suggest that the body re-toxes faster after a cleanse or detox,” Bannie points out. However, "after a detox, it is recommended that the consumption of processed and non- organic foods are kept to a minimum to maintain the benefits,” she adds.
FACT: Drinking soup doesn’t break the rules of juice detoxing.
Soups can be a great addition to a cleanse or detoxing program, especially in winter and the cooler months provided they are nutrient dense and don’t contain any preservatives or additives,” Bannie explains.
FACT: There is some very dangerous juice cleansing options on the market.
“There are a number of detoxing and cleansing “gimmicks” on the market, which claim to have cleansing and health benefits,” Bannie cautions. “However, this isn’t always the case, and it is advised to research before choosing a cleanse and opt for a brand or program that is credible and preferably organic.”
MYTH: You don’t have to consult a GP if you want to cleanse.
“It is always advised to refer to a GP before making any significant dietary changes, including cleanses, detoxes and fasts,” Bannie insists. Generally speaking, cleansing isn’t recommended for children, the elderly or those with a compromised immune system, she adds.
FACT: It isn’t safe to juice cleanse for up to a week or more.
“Cleanses are usually safe for either a one, three or five day period. However, it is always recommended to seek advice from a GP prior, especially if it is your first time or are considering cleansing for over five days,” Bannie says.