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A liquid lie? The truth behind juice cleansing

image by Polina Tankilevitch on pexels

Are you feeling listless, tired, and guilt-driven from frequent indulging? Juice cleansing is quick to offer the solution to all those symptoms. At least that’s what those companies actively purport. But can you actually believe what’s in the bottle? Opinions throughout the internet seem to be divided. While for some it is a vitamin-rich detox to rejuvenate the body, for others it’s a mere starvation diet.

Image by Alex Lvrs on Unsplash

The colourful juice-cleanse-trend has infiltrated the realms of social media by storm and has experienced far-reaching promotions by Influencers and Co., making it an enticing promise to participate in.

Juices derived from fresh produce are abundant in nutrients and have a substantial impact on well-balanced diets. Some individuals believe that consuming these drinks may “clean” the system and have further advantageous benefits on health. While juice cleanses require minimum food preparation and may help remove toxins, there are drawbacks to this diet. This can come in the form of constant hunger, a drop in energy, and a lack of essential nutrients. The average daily calorie intake from a conventional juice cleanse is somewhere between 1,000 and 1,200. Even though everyone has different caloric demands, you should aim for 2,000 calories in a day, largely from solid foods. Do you see where the problem is?

22-year-old student Lisa Connolly has tried the liquid diet herself and sat down with The Circular to reflect on her experience:

Laura: What made you interested in trying a juice cleanse in the first place?

Lisa: I was always reluctant to be influenced by this trend, also because it was so expensive. It was a frequent topic that came up when I was with my friends though. Lately, I have just developed more and more unhealthy eating habits and wanted to change something about that. I had gained some weight and just had difficulties regulating hunger and satiety. It felt as though I was eating out of boredom and as a coping mechanism rather than eating intuitively. I thought making fresh starts with the juices would help me get back on track with my health and with my body.

Laura: How much did you have to spend on your juices?

Lisa: When I saw a social media ad from an Influencer that was promoting the benefits, I kind of took this as a sign, plus they had a 15 % discount. I spent 84 euros on a three-day cleanse kit for my father and me. It was definitely the social media algorithm that kept bringing this trend back into my thoughts, so I caved in and just wanted to give it a try

Laura: How did the process go down after you had purchased a juice cleanse kit?

Lisa: A huge package arrived a few days later. The juices were nicely packed with reusable cold packs and just in general had a really nice and professional look to them. The juices themselves looked really fresh and there were a variety of different flavours to choose from. They gave the impression of local and organic produce. I felt as if I am about to put something so good and clean in my body. There were 18 juices in total, 6 each day for three days. They were also cold-pressed, meaning that this way a lot of the nutrients were preserved.

Laura: How did you feel emotionally throughout the journey, any mood swings?

Lisa: When I saw all the juices I was really motivated and ready to get rid of all the toxins in my body. But when the first day came and knowing I would only be able to drink those first 6 juices, I immediately got in a bad mood. After the first day, I didn’t really see the point in continuing, because I already knew how I would feel. I talked to my father who did his cleanse a few days earlier and he was really encouraging. After that, I just gave up on the juice cleanse.

Laura: In what ways did the cleanse affect you, negatively and positively?

Lisa: I honestly cannot think of any positive aspects. I experienced a lot of negative effects after the first day of the juice cleanse. My stomach was full of liquid that I couldn’t really derive any energy from. I also did not like most of the juices, I got a headache and was just feeling really lethargic in general. It has also influenced my social life because that would normally include meeting up and eating or drinking something. My whole mindset changed, and I only thought that I needed to survive those three days and then I can finally go back to my normal life.

Laura: What have you learned from this experience?

Lisa: I was really grateful, that my social environment was encouraging in my decision. My friend’s mother is a nutritionist herself. She explained that the whole ‘detox’ principle is unnecessary for the body and solely a commercial trend. She said that you are basically drinking liquid fructose, and this is causing your blood sugar levels to spike and drop as fast, making you even hungrier.

Laura: Would you recommend a juice cleanse to friends or readers if they have an interest in trying one themselves?

Lisa: Doing a juice cleanse is a really subjective experience and can be different for everyone, so I wouldn’t really talk anyone out of it. However, I would advise anyone who wants to give it a go, to reflect on the reason they want to do it in the first place. There are so many alternatives that are approved by nutritionists, are cheaper, and really do help. And at the end of the day, you just want to feel good so don’t worry too much and eat the cake.

The Trend Reporter with Mara – The Juice Cleanse Trend on Spotify
We tried a 7-Day Juice Cleanse – Better Off Better on Spotify

To cleanse or not to cleanse, that is the question. Juice cleansing is surely a form of dieting that remains a controversial trend for its consumers as well as nutrition consultants. Whether you decide for or against a juice cleanse, here are 3 other nutritionist-approved alternatives to enrich your body, mind, and soul.

1. Calorie Deficit

Image by Andres Ayrton on Pexels

When following this type of diet, you can achieve a calorie deficit by ingesting fewer calories each day or week than they require to maintain your current weight. This reduction in calories can cause weight loss over time. This can be accomplished when a person is burning more calories when they consume.

Depending on age, gender, and lifestyle, people need different amounts of calories to function on a daily basis. While an active male in his mid-twenties to mid-thirties might need about 3000 calories a day, a moderate woman in her 60s is fine with about 1,800 calories a day.

Even though maintaining a calorie deficit is crucial for weight loss, it is not the only factor. This is due to the fact that calories are not the main factor in weight control. A person would need to consume 500 –1,000 fewer calories each day than what their body requires in order to lose 1-2 pounds per week.

2. High-fibre diet

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According to the Food and Drink Administration, there are two types of fibre – soluble and insoluble.

soluble dietary fibre dissolves in water to form a gel-like substance that is later digested in the large intestine. This kind of fibre is important for the health of your heart and lowers cholesterol. Dietary fibre that is insoluble does not dissolve; rather, it moves through your GI system and promotes regularity.
Both kinds of fibre help people lose weight. According to Harvard Health Publications, fibre generally helps you feel satiated longer after a meal or snack (compared to low- or no-fibre foods) and may even encourage you to consume fewer calories.

High-fibre foods can be diets that contain chickpeas, avocados, almonds, and raspberry.

3. Ketogenic diet

Image by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels

The ketogenic diet is a diet that contains a lot of fat, little protein, and very little carbohydrates. The body enters a metabolic condition known as ketosis. Here, glucose intake decreases, and fat intake rises. Consequently, the body begins converting fats into chemicals called ketones, which can provide the brain with energy.

The body and brain become quite adept at using fat and ketones as fuel rather than carbohydrates after a few days or weeks of following such a diet.

The ketogenic diet also lowers insulin levels, which can help with blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity.

Primary foods in a ketogenic diet can be meat, fish, butter, cheese, nuts, and low-carb vegetables.

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