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Juice cleanses are the latest in detox diets. The likes of Ellie Goulding, Gwen Stefani, Sofia Vergara, Nicole Richie, Salma Hayek, and Gwyneth Paltrow endorse the weight loss method, by drinking nothing but pressed or fresh juices extracted from fruits and vegetables for a certain period of time. We ask experts if it’s just another fad, or a trend that’s here to stay.

Healthy Way To Detox?
Juicing fans claim that your body absorbs more nutrients from juices than from whole fruit, because you get the vitamins and minerals without the fiber. Juices require less of the stomach’s digestive process, and the nutrient-rich concoctions help repair the gut and allow food to be assimilated quickly through the intestines. Going on a juice cleanse means you’re automatically eliminating dairy, gluten, fermented, and processed food. A juice cleanse re-hydrates the body and energizes it.

Juice for even tone complexion

“Juice cleanses can be a healthy way to detoxify the body,” says Daphne Olivier, a registered, licensed dietitian in private practice in Louisiana. “The benefit of juicing is that the plethora of nutrients that come through vegetable juices is significantly more than what you would get through eating the vegetables. These vegetables have nutrients that will allow the body’s natural detoxification processes to do their job.”

She adds that a cleanse for 1-5 days can be beneficial if supplemented by clean foods and elimination of toxins like alcohol, tobacco, additives, preservatives, and food dyes in foods and beverages, and pesticides sprayed on foods.

If you’re not very fond of fruits and vegetables, a juice cleanse is a good way to get them into your system—you can fit in a lot of fruit and vegetable servings in one glass of juice. Choosing fruits and vegetables of different colors gives you a good mix of vitamins and minerals.

“The pros of juice cleanses are short-term weight loss and perhaps a renewed commitment to healthier eating,” says Lyn-Genet Recitas, nutrition expert and Executive Director of Nutrition, The Plan & LG Kitchen.

Not Enough Juice
The biggest advantage of juice cleanses is that it helps the body detox, but the truth is your body does an excellent job already—liver, kidneys and intestines that filter the unwanted things you ingest and expel them. The lack of fat content in juices can harm the body’s absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, and the inadequate protein will reduce muscle mass, immunity and metabolism. Going on a cleanse means you aren’t fueling your body adequately for a normal workout routine. Recitas calls juice cleanses a ‘short-term fix with the potential of longer term metabolic slowdown and impaired thyroid function’.

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The limited fiber content of juice cleanses is actually the biggest reason for not doing one. “When you remove all the pulpy fiber from fruit and carrots, you leave behind a heap of liquid sugar. Without fiber, the sugar is quickly absorbed and ready to spike your blood sugar and kick up some yeast. In contrast, the fiber in whole fruit slows down this rapid absorption of sugar and pesticides. Fiber gives the body time to try and fight the “bad guys” it sees in the pesticides,” says Recitas.

She would never recommend a juice cleanse, especially for weight loss. “Long bouts of juicing can also damage your metabolism. When you drastically reduce the number of calories you’re taking in, the body goes into famine mode, holding on to every calorie it can by putting the brakes on your metabolism. The minute you put real food into your body, the weight comes flying back on because your metabolism has slowed to a screeching halt,” she says. If you’re not juicing organic fruits, there’s also the chance you’re also absorbing a heap of pesticides.

Experts say that for someone with no health issues, a short-term juice cleanse won’t be harmful. But more importantly, juice is not a supplement for a meal. It should be a part of a balanced diet; not the beginning and end all of it. Use it to kick-start your weight loss, if motivation is what you need. But then, make a eating healthier and exercising regularly a part of your lifestyle. It’s the only thing that will do you good in the long run.

PS: Here’s an exhaustive list of Diets For Weight Loss.
Also, head here to catch the latest in Fitness Trends.

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An alumnus of Asian College of Journalism, and Cardiff University, Wales, Yoshita Sengupta has more than five years of experience in writing for various news outlets. As Founder and Director of Underscore, a content solutions agency, she writes for multiple digital and print news outlets and consults brands. When not working for Underscore, she works with social entrepreneurs and homeless communities, which includes running a library for street children.