Juice cleanse warning: Some ingredients to promote weight loss ‘aren’t even healthy’

This Morning: Dr Sara on the pros and cons of juice cleanses

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The juice cleanse and juice fasting has been a controversial topic for many years, but that hasn’t stopped millions of people wanting to try them. The premise of a juice cleanse is very simple, with people drinking only juice from fruits and vegetables and by the end of the designated period they will have lost weight.

Despite being endorsed by celebrities across the world, some experts believe it’s “especially dangerous” and can actually do the opposite and trigger weight gain.

Registered dietitian and sports nutritionist, Elizabeth Allred, said: “Cleanses are not FDA regulated and do not go through testing.

“They can have strong laxative effects and [use] ingredients that aren’t even ‘healthy’.”

She also revealed they can cause side-effects, such as headaches, nausea, stomach pain, fatigue and dizziness, plus reinforce unhealthy ideas about food and nutrition.

“People may get addicted to the feeling of empty bowels,” she explained.

“This can lead to the severe restriction of calories, and maybe even a diagnosable eating disorder.”

Kerri Ferraioli, a nutritionist at Food Sensitivity Specialists YorkTest agreed.

She said: “Fad diets like juice cleanses can be especially dangerous.

“[They] promote extremely low-calorie diets which can cause side effects such as fatigue and dizziness.”

Other experts however, believe there’s a “certain naturalness” to fasting that humans have been doing for thousands of years.

Plenish founder and juice guru Kara Rosen said: “I think cleansing becomes a much easier way to do that because we’re not just hanging out in our loincloths – we are going to work, working out, looking after kids, working one job, two jobs… We’re all very busy, and cleansing is really convenient.

“You get your products, they’re all numbered and it’s really easy to navigate. You don’t have to cook, you don’t have to clean, you don’t have to think about what you’re eating for a few days.”

She added: “It’s also a little bit of a mental holiday. If you’re anything like me and stress about what you’re going to eat for the next meal, it’s a really easy, convenient way to feel good and do good for your body.”

These juices are full of nutrients, vitamins, and phytonutrients – the compounds with antioxidant potential.

Some newer trends now incorporate solid food into the routine, adding fibre to a person’s diet, but most rely solely on liquid.

“On a cleanse, you’re abstaining from eating solid foods, but it’s also about the other thing that you’re not putting into your body (coffee, sugar, alcohol, and stimulants) and getting lots of hydration,” Rosen continued.

“You’re having six juices, including a milk, per day, so you feel buzzy. You’re giving your digestive system a break from breaking down all the high fat, high sugar, high salt foods that we tend to love and eat in this nation.”

She revealed it allows the body and tastebuds to “reset” and that the nature of a juice cleanse can positively impact sleep.

“Your digestive system isn’t working so hard – you feel cleaner, lighter and brighter. When you get back post-cleanse, it’s a bit easier to appreciate some natural foods better,” she said.

“An apple tastes a little bit extra sweet, you probably don’t need as much salt on your food, you may not have that second coffee and you may choose not to have wine with dinner because you feel like you’ve just done your body a really great service.”

Always consult a doctor before starting a cleanse.

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