From as early on as childhood people have been told that consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables is essential to building a healthy body, as they contain many vitamins and minerals that are necessary for proper functioning and development.
It’s also a common truth that some people simply do not “like” eating produce — either something about the taste or texture is unappealing to them, or the amount of time it can take to prepare and include them in each meal cannot be effectively incorporated into their routine. It’s also not strange to find people who like only certain fruits and vegetables and can eat them as often as they are able, but refuse to touch other kinds.
If you face a similar aversion to fruits and vegetables or inability to incorporate them into your schedule, you are missing out on much of the goodness that they can provide for your health and that your body needs to stay healthy! An answer to this, the “trend” of juicing (also called going on a juice detox, juice fast or juice cleanse) that has become popular nowadays offers people an easier way to increase their fruit and veggie intake even while they are on the go; if you fell into one of the above categories, it’s definitely something that you should check out.
What is it?
Simply put, juicing is the practice of making juice from fresh and raw fruits and vegetables using a juicer (a kitchen appliance that compresses the produce to extract juice and leave behind the pulp). When you go on a juicing fast or cleanse, it means that you will be consuming only juice for a certain number of days (for beginners, three days would be ideal).
What would going on a juice cleanse be like?
To give you an idea, described below are six of the human body’s common reactions to a juice diet:
Hunger pangs. Since all that you are consuming is juice, your body will feel hungry because the juice does not include fiber from fruits and vegetables, which helps you feel full. And of course, a cleanse means no solid foods allowed.
Weakness and tiredness. Fruits and vegetables do not have a whole lot of protein and carbohydrate content, so your body will not be getting much of the fuel it needs to run during the duration of the cleanse.
Bad breath and body odor. These are said to be evidence that the body is eliminating toxins. Bad breath, in particular, is caused by the white-coated tongue that you may get at the beginning of a fast.
Aches and pains. In the same way that you will experience discomfort whenever you remove processed foods, sugar, salt or caffeine from your diet, your body can also be taken through periods with stomachaches and headaches — withdrawal symptoms from eating only fruits and veggies.
Loss of muscle mass. After about two days of juicing and consuming only half of the usual calories you take in, your body will be drawing power from two sources: triglycerides (energy stored in fat cells) and protein (from your muscles).
Irritability and loss of focus. On the third day of a juice-only diet, you won’t exactly be feeling happy because you’re in semi-starvation mode. The lack of amino acids and protein means your body has little of the raw materials needed by neurotransmitters to manage your mood, so you begin feeling blue, unfocused and irritable.
Making the right choice
According to health experts, going on a juice-only diet is something that you can try, although there is no scientific “proof” that they help a person safely and sustainably lose weight or detoxify the body. Ultimately, only muscle mass and water weight is lost (and they will be regained once you go back to eating solid foods), and your liver and kidneys do a perfect job of eliminating toxins from the body.
The best recommendation that doctors can make is to incorporate fruit and vegetable juices into a healthy diet to benefit from their nutritional properties. If you do go juice-only, limit it to just two or three days. Let juicing help you transition to healthier dietary habits, instead of making it your only option.