Last week the New York Times ran an article on Juicing.
It was one in their series of ‘Misconception’ articles and they focused on the idea that Juicing can ‘Detox’ your body from the harmful toxins that somehow manage to build up over time, and from your diet.
Juicing has become a global phenomenon in over the last few years.
Celebrities do it.
Spas offer it.
Stores sell pricey bottles of ‘Natural’ juice.
“Raw-food evangelist” Doug Evans even managed to raise $120 million from Silicon Valley investors to fund a $700 juicer that will soon be on the market in the US.
But what is it that everybody is trying to remove from their bodies and Is there any science behind it?
Kamal Patel from examine.com explains where the detox marketing comes from and how they play on our fears.
“Detox diets hinge on the premise that the human body accumulates toxins and waste as a result of being exposed to pesticides, pollutants and food additives.”
Presumably, the goal of the detox diet is to cleanse the body of harmful substances, through a very low calorie diet consisting of certain foods, with the occasional supplement thrown in the mix.
Some detoxes are aimed at specific organs, while others claim to purify you from head to toe.
“Even if a substance really is noxious, a cleanse won’t help. Acute toxicity would likely constitute a medical emergency. Chronic toxicity is best addressed by a well-fed body, not one weakened by a diet of pepper-infused lemonade. The liver, kidneys, lungs, and several other organs work around the clock to remove harmful substances and excrete the waste products of metabolism. They don’t need help from fad diets.” Says Kamal.
So, the latest celebrity Detox drink won’t get the job done then, so what about all those commercial products, with their fantastic claims?
Unfortunately, a 2009 investigation found that not a single company behind 15 detox supplements could supply any form of evidence for their efficacy or safety. Worse still, no companies could name the toxins targeted by their products or even agree on a definition for the word “detox.”
The fact that no company can name the toxins that their product targets, reveals just how little they care about how they market their products and how ineffective they might be.
If all of these ‘detox’ products can’t get the job done, surely then juicing must have some merit to it?
After all, there are claims that if something is ‘natural’, there is nothing more effective for keeping us healthy.
Some of the claims for the effectiveness of juicing are;
- A juice diet rests the stomach.
- Juices require less of the stomach’s digestive processing
- Juicing “allows the body to have more of the resources it needs to support the phases of detoxification, and even to begin to help remove the cumulative toxins stored in the body.”
These claims are largely useless.
- Resting the stomach is a nonsense claim. It means nothing, how do you ‘rest’ your stomach and why is it a benefit to you?
- Juicing fruit and veg doesn’t make it any more beneficial to the body that actually eating them.
- The last claim is another nonsense statement. It means nothing in respect to the human body.
There are no ‘phases of detoxification’ and it won’t help remove any toxins from your body.
Kamal Patel gives his side on the Juicing craze;
“People eating a healthy, balanced diet don’t need to completely avoid certain foods. They definitely don’t need to buy into any juicing or cleanses.
The evidence in support of detoxes just isn’t there.
Until it is you and your wallet are better off allowing your natural detoxification system (Your Liver) to deal with the “toxins”.
The sole reason that juicing and detox diets are so popular, the answer is easy: rapid weight loss. Rapid weight loss would be great, if weight loss always meant fat loss, but it doesn’t.
This temporary weight loss leads many people to attribute health benefits to the juicing and the detoxifying effects.
Since most people eat poorly on a regular basis, and detox diets usually revolve around vegetables and fruit, the lower calories along with the drop in carbohydrates will lead to an initial water dump, once a regular eating schedule is resumed and carbs are reintroduced, the glycogen and water come rushing back and so will the ‘lost’ weight.
Yes, juicing has its benefits, and is a better option than many high sugary drinks that you could be consuming, but, focusing on sustainable health habits, like eating nutritious food on a daily basis, getting enough protein, leafy greens, and quality carbohydrates in your diet are not only better for you, they are tastier too.
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