This Morning: Dr Sara on the pros and cons of juice cleanses
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Juice cleanses have risen in popularity over the years as people search for the most organic and natural ways to detoxify their bodies. But are they healthy? There have been numerous discussions among experts about whether this dieting method is healthy, or whether it can lead to “mental or emotional harm” as well as other health issues.
Kerri Ferraioli, a nutritionist at Food Sensitivity Specialists YorkTest branded them “dangerous”.
She said: “Fad diets like juice cleanses can be especially dangerous, promoting extremely low-calorie diets which can cause side effects such as fatigue and dizziness.
“On top of this, fad diets can cause dehydration and nutrient deficiencies, and lead people to develop yo-yo patterns where they continuously gain and lose weight.”
She explained that unless people consult their doctors, they must make sure they follow a balanced, intuitive diet that involves simply eating when hungry and stopping when full.
“This means you’ll always be eating what feels right at the moment, and you’re less likely to binge or overeat,” she added.
But when it comes to weight loss, while juice cleanses can lead to short-term success, this doesn’t mean it’s a healthy way to lose weight.
Wellness dietitian Amanda Beaver said: “Not only is rapid weight loss unhealthy, but it doesn’t last.
“The number on the scale may be lower, but that doesn’t mean any fat has been lost.”
Beaver explained that the weight loss people may see is mostly due to the lack of food in their GI tract and the loss of muscle experienced during a juice cleanse.
What’s more is that muscle loss slows metabolism, which may actually contribute to weight gain once a person starts eating regular food again.
“More than likely, any weight that was lost will be regained shortly after solid foods are reintroduced with the potential added downsides of a slower metabolism and bone loss,” she said.
Other experts suggest detoxing with food is a more beneficial way to lose weight.
Thomas Sherman, a professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology at Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, said: “I tell my students that a true detox comes with learning to cook a diet that’s rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans and lentils, seafood and oils, accompanied by daily exercise and a good night’s sleep.”
And Melissa Majumdar, a Georgia-based dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, worried that alongside any potential physical harm, detox diets could also cause mental or emotional harm.
She said: “Having unrealistic expectations about the intent and result can be disappointing.”
Rachael Hartley, a dietitian and nutrition therapist, agreed: “Liquid cleanses play into the restrict-binge cycle that often fuels disordered eating.
“Detoxing is a fad diet that’s part of the diet culture narrative that our bodies are unclean and require fixing.”
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