This Morning: Dr Sara on the pros and cons of juice cleanses
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The premise of a juice cleanse is simple; by drinking only juices from fruits and vegetables over a designated period will supposedly help a person lose weight. These juices are full of nutrients, vitamins, and phytonutrients – the compounds with antioxidant potential. While some juice cleanses can last three days, others can continue for up to three weeks.
Wanting to put herself to the test was 26-year-old Georgia, who found herself wanting to detox in order to kick-start her health journey.
“We’re told to enjoy everything in moderation but after a long winter, I found I was consuming too much coffee, alcohol and processed foods,” she admitted.
So, Georgia opted to try Plenish’s Level 2 Intermediate 5-day Juice Cleanse and was amazed with the results. She was stunned to find she had lost five centimetres off her waist and now has more energy than she did before, despite only consuming 970 calories per day.
Georgia even noticed her skin was clearer and glowing and her hunger was more manageable, plus the process made her realise that “health is all about mind over matter”.
The recipes for the juices on Georgia’s chosen diet have been created and refined under the guidance of a team of nutritionists and the ingredients are 100 percent organic, nutrient-rich, vegetable-based and cold-pressed so you know the goodness is locked in.
So is a juice cleanse right for you?
Georgia admitted at first she was sceptical about the process but after waking up having lost 3cm off her waist from the first day, she was eager for more.
Logging her progress, Georgia kept a diary of each day revealing she felt her appetite was “getting smaller” and she was waking up feeling “refreshed”.
Day 1 – Sunday
“The night before, I had a lovely carb-fuelled pasta dish with friends so I woke up feeling full and was excited for my first day to try the different flavours which range from the 8am Lift juice, filled with vegetables, pear, cucumber and zesty lime juice to an indulgent 8pm Savour juice made with cashew milk, cacao and maca, dates, cinnamon and Himalayan salt,” she said.
“That day, I did around 17,000 steps and felt sufficiently nourished throughout. In fact, I was surprised by how much liquid there was to consume and was finding it hard to keep up at one point but luckily, as they’re juices, they’re perfect for on the go and I carried my 2pm juice with me on my walk to Selfridges.
“During the day, from 8pm to 4pm, you’re drinking 500ml juice every two hours so that fills the void of wanting to eat solid food. That night, I went to sleep a little hungry but I could feel my body starting to adjust and sleep came easily.”
Day 2 – Monday
“On Monday, I woke up naturally feeling refreshed, energetic and I wasn’t hungry by the time I opened my 8am juice to start the day.”
Georgia resisted temptation at work after finding that she had lost 3cm off her waist (71cm-68 cm) which was enough motivation to keep going.
“By the time I got home, I was looking forward to my 8pm juice (more like a chocolate milkshake) which is the yummiest but most caloric dense and, therefore, filling meaning I went to bed feeling full enough to sleep,” she said.
Day 3 – Tuesday
“The third day was definitely the hardest for me and by now, I was really starting to feel the caffeine withdrawals but I kept reminding myself that I was almost halfway through. During this day, all my sensations of food were heightened – the foods that are normally not that appetising, such as a banana or apple, were looking more and more appealing as the hours passed by,” she recalled.
“I was also struggling to consume my recommended daily intake of water because there was simply so much liquid to consume throughout the day. I combatted this by drinking more lemon and green tea, which helped.”
Despite caving at one point and eating two carrots, she found that was all she needed as her appetite appeared to have been suppressed.
She added: “I was feeling energetic in the morning but as the day went on, it was becoming harder and harder to concentrate but it was still manageable. Around my waist, I had lost another 2cm but what I didn’t expect was that my skin was getting worse and assumed this must have been the toxins coming out.”
Day 4 – Wednesday
Georgia was pleased to find that the last half of the detox was the easiest.
“My hunger signals were coming less frequently making it easier to get through the day,” she said, having woken up before her alarm feeling much more refreshed than the day before.
“My reliance on caffeine was reducing and it felt good,” she beamed.
“The end was in sight and knowing this made the day feel more manageable. The whole time I had been journalising, doing yoga and going on long walks which is what helped keep me in check throughout. Listening to your body is key and I never overexerted myself and still managed to hit the magic 10,000 steps a day. Never once did I feel like my body was malnourished.
Day 5 – Thursday
Thursday was the last day of Georgia’s juice cleanse.
“Surprisingly, when I woke up on Day 5, I didn’t want the juice cleanse to end,” she giggled.
“While I was very much looking forward to dinner that evening, I felt good that I had been able to take control of my health for the past few days and make myself a priority.
“Despite the physical gains (or losses) of losing 5cm off my waist and having clear skin, it was the mental gains that uplifted me the most. I had mental clarity, energy but above all, I was able to prove to myself that I can do anything I put my mind to.
“In the long term, I don’t think juice cleanses are sustainable but they’re great if you’re in a rut and need to kick start your health journey.”
Georgia ended her trial on a high note, explaining: “I felt inspired, proud and in a good place mentally and physically after the cleanse. It felt like the toxins were being cleared from the inside out and I could see myself doing a juice cleanse again either before a holiday or during a quiet time of the year.”
While a detox can be great for your body, experts warned that the aftermath is equally as important.
“After a cleanse, focus on nutritious whole foods such as the same fruits and vegetables
in their whole form, whole grains and lean proteins,” said registered dietician Mia Syn.
“Avoid foods that are high in fat or added sugar. As you reintroduce foods, continue to stay hydrated.”
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