Quick weight loss seems appealing, especially when businesses and products promise 10 pounds in one week or a fat-burning pill. I hate to break it to you, but these claims are not usually evidenced-based and may actually be harmful to the consumer. Two words I frequently hear in the nutrition world are juicing and detoxing, both seemingly powerful in getting you on track to better health, but neither actually backed by science.
By definition, juices are liquids taken from fruits and vegetables. (1) Seems pretty good for you right? Fruits and vegetables are so good for us partly because they are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They also have natural sugars, which in combination with the other nutrients, are super beneficial. However during the juicing process, some vitamins and minerals, and most, if not all that fiber is lost, but the sugar stays. This results in a quicker spike in blood sugar and your body getting less of the awesome nutrients in fruits and veggies. You are much better off putting these ingredients in a smoothie (preserving the fiber), or eating them whole.
Another word that is often thrown around a lot in the media is “detoxing”. I’m here to tell you now that detoxing with food is a myth. Physiologically, the liver is in charge of this, and has no trouble doing so. While eating nutrient dense, whole foods often lies hand in hand with the “detoxing process”, there is no actual detoxing going on. Often companies will throw this around as a buzzword to draw consumers’ attention, but do not provide evidenced based information to back up the claims.
Choosing a diet rich in whole grains, lean protein, and plenty of fruits and vegetables is one of the most studied and effective methods for improving one’s health. Improving your health does not have to be complicated, expensive or include a ton of added products, such as specialty juices and supplements. You can get just as many nutrients (if not more) by taking a whole foods approach and including lots of variety in your diet.
By Grace Stott, UNH Masters Student, Founder of Nutrition at UVAC and Wellness Specialist