Summer is around the corner and that often means pressure, especially for us ladies. You can imagine that I find it quite ridiculous that women need to look “bikini-ready” when the warmer months approach. In my opinion, it’s an unnecessary pressure and a trend that leads to messy and unhealthy eating behaviors. Don’t get me wrong, I, too, care about my physique, but what I care way more about is a sustainable lifestyle that keeps me healthy and mentally sane. And unfortunately, a lot of the diet choices that happen when summer approaches are neither healthy nor sane. Case and point: juice cleanses.
The juice cleansing trend has been gaining momentum for a couple years and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. Juice cleanses come in different forms–some are more smoothie-based, some are based on three- or five-day programs, some strictly require raw juice, and there are even water fasts! The idea is to replace all meals with liquids and in most cases, juices or water. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that getting rid of toxins once in a while is beneficial, and I, too, sometimes feel like I want to skip a meal or stock up on greens after I indulged in vegan fast food a bit too much. But I also shy away from the juice cleanses because I fear that they can harm you more than help you, especially if you believe that it’s the golden solution for all your body and weight struggles.
1. Juice cleanses can make you gain weight.
Restricting calories and chewed food can put stress on your body, which increases cortisol levels in your system. That alone can lead to weight gain. In addition, consuming only liquid food can create the wrong signals in your brain and leave you craving more calories. After the end of your juice cleanse, depending on how long you did it for, you might find that you eat more than before as your body is trying to make up for a calorie deficiency and your hunger response can be out of balance.
2. Juice cleanses can trigger unhealthy eating patterns.
If you come from a past of restriction, juicing can definitely trigger similar patterns and push you to fall into bad habits. You basically wean your body off solid foods–pretty drastically–and focuses only on liquids. Suddenly all other foods become “bad” and “to be avoided.” That’s not a good habit or thought process, and it’s actually the beginning of a disordered pattern, especially if you obsess over it.
3. Juice cleanses can make you deficient in certain nutrients.
Juices seem healthy at first, especially because they are often green and sold at wellness-focused places, but a lot of juices lack nutrients and fiber. While smoothies use the whole fruit and have more fiber, juices can lack fiber and all nutrients attached to the fiber. Phytonutrients for example, which are commonly known as health-promoting and cancer risk-lowering, are mostly bound to fiber, which is primarily bound in whole foods.
Bottom line: Juicing for a day: totally cool! For longer than that, I would avoid it because a longer juice cleanse can be unhealthy and have the opposite results of what we’re aiming for. I would recommend focusing on developing long-term healthy habits (such as eating more whole veggies and fruit) that you can sustain instead of seeking out short-term remedies.
Have you tried juice cleanses? What was your experience like?
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