Vacations are meant to be indulgent. Whether it's food, cocktails, activities, and fun, what you do on vacation is intended to be excessive. You get to take a vacation from your everyday life and that includes your usual eating habits. For many of us, vacations mean we can indulge our sweet tooth on ice cream, chocolate, pastas, and more.
I know this all to well since we've just returned yesterday from a vacation in Arizona. Think all the Mexican food and margaritas!
So with summer bearing down on us and a few extra pounds you’d rather see the back of, it probably won’t be long until you find yourself thinking…is a juice cleanse right for me? I've certainly considered doing one, especially after an indulgent vacation. So, I set out to do some research on the benefits and risks of a juice cleanse.
The Popularity Of Juice Cleanses
Over the past decade, if any one concept has gripped the healthy eating crowd, it’s the idea of juice cleanses. It’s been adopted, satirized, joked about - all the things that suggest an idea has entered into the public consciousness on a deep level. Think about it: you read the above and didn’t even need to ask what a juice cleanse was. Could you have said the same thing 10 years ago? Probably not.
The reason this is all the more shocking is because, generally you most likely don’t need a juice cleanse.
Juicing Is Good For You
Nothing against juicing! As the likes of HealthyButSmart.com make clear, it’s perfectly possible to grab yourself a juicer and be on your way to drinking and consuming more fruit and vegetables. That’s always a good thing, especially if your veggie intake doesn't meet daily requirements.
But...You Need More Nutrients Than Just Juicing Can Provide
We need a variety of nutrients from a variety of sources. Remember the idea of a balanced plate, complete with proteins , carbohydrates, healthy fats? That’s good science, based around what we actually need.
And pretty much none of that is contained in a juice cleanse.
In fact, a juice cleanse is going to contain a high amount of sugar if you use fruits. (And everyone uses fruits, otherwise juice simply doesn’t taste so great!) That means you’re throwing sugar onto an empty stomach - and that’s not only going to skyrocket your blood sugar, but it’s going to cause digestive discomfort too.
I love grabbing a healthy, refreshing juice every once in a while, but juices can't stand as meal replacements. By all means swap out the occasional meal for a juice on your way to losing weight, but juices are supplementary - they’re not a replacement. It might seem like a tempting short-term fix to your momentary weight woes, but the consequences on your longterm health could be very real.
It’s worth mentioning that there’s no such thing as “detoxing”, which is often paired with the idea of a juice cleanse. The likes of SkepticalRaptor.com provide a great overview of this, but in essence: your liver and kidneys keep you “detoxed” all the time, no need to restrict your food intake to do it!