The Summer 2012 issue of Today@MDA, the publication of the Massachusetts Dietetic Association, came out early last month with an article I had submitted regarding the biggest diet controversy of the season: the juice cleanse. I have written about cleanses before so most of you probably know where I stand (ie that was me at Whole Foods staring you down with a huge DON’T DO IT sign as you contemplated putting that $9.99 juice in your cart). But as always, along with the warm summer months I have received a few emails asking for my opinion on certain cleanses, detox diets, or liquid fasts.
In response to those inquiries I am writing a multi-part series about juicing versus cleansing and why you will never find a bottle of Blue Print Cleanse in my fridge, but you will see this baby on the kitchen counter:
The Breville Ikon Variable Speed Juice Extractor ie Juicy Juice
I am reprinting Part I of this series, The Juice Generation: Redefining the Line Between Juicing and Cleansing, from Today@MDA. Stay tuned in the upcoming weeks for the additional installments of this three part series!
The first days of summer bring many welcomes changes: opportunities to exercise outdoors, the return of farmer’s markets, and longer days for alfresco meals. But for many of those within the nutrition industry, the first days of summer also mark the return of one unrelenting trend: the juice cleanse.
From it’s meager beginnings as the Master Cleanse, a multi-day “detoxification” consisting of only water, lemon, maple syrup and cayenne pepper, the juice cleanse craze hit center stage with the support of popular celebrities like Salma Hayek and Gwyneth Paltrow. Now, prepackaged cleanses can be purchased from companies like The Blue Print Cleanse and Cooler Cleanse, and delivered right to your door. Cleanses usually start around $58 per day and can range from 3-5 days or more depending on the distance the juices have to travel.
The cleanses are popular for individuals looking to “kick start” a diet or drop weight quickly for a wedding or vacation. Though the cleanse companies claim weight loss is a side effect rather than a goal of their programs, participants report weight loss of up to 6-10 lbs a week, although there is no evidence that this weight loss is sustainable. On 1,000 calories a day or less, those results, and their lack of sustainability, are not surprising.
These juices are not inherently unhealthy; most are organic and contain healthy fat from nuts plus leafy greens or fresh fruit. However, the notion that consuming only these juices for a 3-5 day period of time is necessary to detoxify the body is widely contested. The common agreement within the nutrition community is that your body has highly evolved detoxification measures of its own with much more advanced methods than a bottle of mint-spiked watermelon juice.
As the inquiries regarding juice cleanses start to fill your inbox this summer season, remember to distinguish between cleansing and juicing. Juicing is defined as the extraction of juice from fresh fruits and vegetables. You can buy fruit and vegetable juices from a “juice bar” or make them at home in your own juicer.
While using a juice cleanse to promote weight loss is not necessary or recommended, adding fresh juice in place of 1 meal or snack a day can help boost phytonutrient intake and get your clients to that difficult to reach 4-5 fruits and vegetables a day. There is no benefit to juicing fruits and vegetables rather than eating them whole, but during these hot, summer days, a refreshing beet, carrot, and ginger juice is a delicious “mocktail” everyone can enjoy.
Stay tuned next week for the second installment of this juicing versus cleansing series where I’ll talk about how to purchase a juicer and get started with fresh juice every day!
- The Aspiring RD