Rethink that juice cleanse

Rethink that juice cleanse

Juicing has become a popular diet fad the past few years.

During a juice cleanse, a person typically goes three to 10 days on a vegetable and fruit juice diet without eating solid food. Benefits promised by the cleanse include weight loss and increased energy, as well as flushing toxins out of your body, but some experts feel juicing might not be worth all the hype.

To create juice, fruits and vegetables are put through a high-powered juicing machine. The process of crushing the vegetables and fruits into a liquid form removes all of the fiber and pulp from the ingredients. This is where a majority of the health benefits of these foods lie. By turning fruits and vegetables into a liquid form, essentially all of the fiber is removed, turning nutrient rich fruits and veggies into sugar filled drinks.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it’s more beneficial to eat whole fruit because it contains fiber, which helps a person feel full.

Another concern in juice cleanses is the bacteria associated with freshly squeezed juice. A study published in the Food Control Journal found unhealthy levels of bacteria in 43 percent of the freshly squeezed juice samples. For those juicing fruits and vegetables at home who are not thoroughly washing them, the juice they are making could be contaminated.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, harmful bacteria can develop in freshly squeezed juice in a very short amount of time, causing individuals consuming the juice to experience vomiting, diarrhea, fever or headaches.

Rosemary Mueller, a registered dietitian from Advocate Medical Group Weight Management in Park Ridge, Ill., says juice cleanses can cause health problems.

“It may cause diarrhea and subsequent mineral imbalance and can potentially interfere with medication absorption,” she says.

Many juice cleanses also claim to “remove toxins” from the body. However, the body naturally removes toxins on its own.

“Natural bacteria in your colon detoxifies food waste,” says Mueller. “The liver neutralizes toxins, the kidneys help flush them out and mucous membranes in the colon can keep unwanted substances from re-entering blood and tissue. The colon also sheds old cells about every three days, preventing a buildup of harmful material.”

Mueller suggests instead of detox diets, people should focus on drinking more water and eating more fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains and legumes, fish and other low-fat proteins, as well as small-moderate amounts of heart-healthy fats.

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  1. When it comes to your body and health you are the only “expert”. Having juiced for not 3-10 days, but 60 I can attest that this article is misleading. Micronutrients stay in fresh juice and the body does detox better while juicing. The answer why is simple, many people consume toxin laden foods. When your juicing or eating raw you are no longer consuming the these toxins. As for juices containing bacteria and being a health risk, absolutely, any food that you prepare becomes a health risk if you are not using clean surfaces. You wouldn’t make a sandwich on a surface where a piece of raw chicken was placed with out cleaning it. You don’t make fresh juice in a dirty juicer or not cleaning the produce. Juicing is not for everyone, but that doesn’t mean it’s not right for you or should be avoided entirely.

  2. How would a blender or juicer remove nutrients? I get the fiber part but….

About the Author

Tiffany Nguyen
Tiffany Nguyen

Tiffany Nguyen, health enews contributor, is a public affairs and marketing intern at Advocate Support Centers in Downers Grove, IL. She is a graduate of Northern Illinois University with a degree in public health. She is currently pursuing a Master’s in Business Administration focusing specifically on healthcare management at Lewis University. Tiffany enjoys hanging out with her friends, exploring new restaurants, and binge watching Netflix shows.