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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Diet Watch: The Juice Detox

I watch diets as they're trend ripple through Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter etc. and most of the time I just shake my head.  Occasionally I step up onto the proverbial soapbox and dissect the diet trend for my husband.  He patiently listens to my lectures, then reminds me that I should probably be addressing a wider audience, as he currently has his own personal dietitian.  So here the first of a series of blog posts addressing some of the current diet trends whose endorsements or promises may have caught your attention. 

Let me start by outlining some main points and claims of the diet.

Juice Detox Diet:


  • Strict juice (usually fruit, veggie, or combination) diet for anywhere from 2-7 days.  
  • Sometimes it is used in conjunction with periods of fasting. 
  • Solid foods are off-limits - especially grains and protein foods.


  • Rid your body of toxins
  • Higher energy levels
  • Clearer skin
  • Better intestinal function
  • Sharper brain function
  • Reduced abdominal fat
  • Weight loss
Assessment from a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (see blog post on RDN credential March 20, 2013):

Practicality rating: D-
  • First of all, let me say that I enjoy food and the whole sensory aspect of eating.  I also happen to live with people who require me to provide food for them on a regular basis.  On a practicality level - this diet doesn't make the grade.  I would hate having to cook real food for my family, while resentfully sipping on a green smoothie all week. 
Health rating: D- (didn't get an F because of it's short duration)
  • I tend to believe that for the majority of people (with the exception of some rare disease states) optimal health can be achieved through eating - yes, chewing- food.  Our bodies come equipped with organs designed to detoxify, namely the liver and the kidneys.  A juice detox diet does not provide optimal nutrient support for these organs.
  • It also doesn't supply your body with the needed variety and amounts of nutrients needed to function optimally.  Often these detox diets are very low calorie and don't provide adequate carbohydrates to fully fuel the body, forcing ketosis.  This is not a desired state for your body, but rather a back-up measure to prevent starvation.  Feeling tired, sluggish, with headaches is the result.
  •   The change in bowel habits  due to the diet can also be harmful whether it be excessive diarrhea which can deplete your body of the beneficial bacteria that keeps your gut healthy, and also contribute to dehydration.  Or, if bowel function slows and stops, that is neither healthy or desirable. Commonly reported symptoms include bloating, cramping and diarrhea.   Not my idea of good health.
  • Your body will start to use muscle stores to obtain the needed amino acids it needs and instead of "melting away fat" you may actually be losing muscle.  Also, remember that most weight loss is water weight and there is no magical diet that will effectively spot remove fat.  It is simply a marketing tagline.  
Sustainability rating: not applicable
  •  A true test for the sensibilty of any diet plan is it's sustainability.  This diet is meant to be used as a short term "detox fix" and not meant as a long-term change (thank heavens!).  For that reason I gave it no rating in this category.  Let me just say this - once you get back to eating "normally", you pretty much get your normal body back, minus a some muscle mass and healthy intestinal bacteria.  This then becomes basically a "2-steps back" type diet.  
Want to know how to healthily achieve weight loss, better intestinal function, higher energy and rid your body toxins?  Contact me for a consult:


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