Spring is in the air and that means plenty of us are trying to trim down in time for summer. But in our quest for that perfect summer figure, I see many folks fall into the trap of wanting a quick fix! Juice cleanses have increasingly become all the rage in the weight loss and wellness sector, but are they really all they're cracked up to be as an effective means to lose weight?
There's no doubt that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is essential for good health because they are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that help to ward off illness and boost vitality and healthy immune function. When it come to fresh juices, the major health perk stems from the fact that they deliver a concentrated dose of nutrients that are absorbed directly into your bloodstream, providing instant energy. When your body does not have to digest food, it redirects its energy to eliminating accumulated toxins, hence they aid the detox process. However in the case of juicing fruit, it's not only the concentration of nutrients and antioxidants that you are accessing, but a big whack of FRUCTOSE - or fruit sugar!
Unless you have been hiding under a rock lately, fructose is one of the major enemies to our health, not only because it is highly fattening, but because of it's links to every chronic illness and disease. Now I'm not saying that the fructose in fruit can be put into the same class as the processed forms of fructose - like high fructose corn syrup - but what I am saying is that fructose from fruit is still a form of sugar, and when you look at the amount of fruit used to make your average fresh juice taste good, it amounts to be way too much in my view. In the case of a juice cleanse, your only source of calories comes from drinking fresh juices for several days, and if you're consuming three or more made on fruit in a day, this amounts to a very hefty dose of fructose, with no fibre to offset the insulin response, because its been extracted.
This is where juice cleanses containing lots of fruit come unstuck in my view. Sure they may alkalise your body and take the stress off your digestive system, and they're a heck of a lot better than consuming processed sugar and junk food any day of the week! BUT....consuming large amounts of fructose from fruit juice, even if it is raw and fresh, does nothing to help reduce your sweet palate and causes your pancreas to work over time with the excess production of insulin. So any weight lost on a juice cleanse, can quickly pile back on when you return to normal eating.
So is there a better detox option when it comes to juice cleanses? Well let me say that I am actually a BIG fan of raw fresh juice - and I start each day with one, but the big difference is, I make mine from vegetables with just a tiny amount of fructose from the juice of 1 lemon and 1/2 a grapefruit. You can check out my signature Green Goddess recipe here. For those of you who are new to juicing, you may want to start by adding 1/2 a green apple, or perhaps one kiwi to this recipe, until your palate adjusts to having less sugar.
If you are keen to do a juice cleanse, then I recommend a maximum of 2 -3 days combined with my alkalising vegetable broth - all of which you will find in my e-book as part of the Strip Back and Alkalise cleanse. It's highly effective for accelerating detoxification and alkalising your body, but be warned juice and broth cleanses are not for everyone and I recommend only doing it on a weekend when you have the opportunity to rest.
And one last tip when it comes to juicing or juice cleanses, always be sure to use organic produce - except for lemons and grapefruits as you are removing the skin. The last thing you want is a hefty dose of chemicals from the pesticides and herbicides sprayed on conventional fruits and vegetables.