Juice cleansing was the big thing a few years ago, and some individuals still love to do it because of how it makes them feel.
I’ve tried it twice.
Once where I had posted about it on this blog (of course the post got lost in my transfer), making all of the juices myself to try and control the amount of sugar in them (and half of them were pretty disgusting to be quite honest).
The other time I barely lasted a day-and-a-half with fresh pressed bottle juices.
Let me back it up.
We’ve all been there … a few months of eating too much “junk” and you’re feeling awful.
Foggy-headed, bloated, and tired ALL the time.
Now, after experiencing all these negative symptoms by food that makes you feel this way, you are SO over it and need a reset.
It does to me.
I actually kind of feel that way as the summer is ending after loads of parties, endless rosé, and trips down the shore.
“Living”, that is what I like to call it.
This summer has been really enjoyable, but my body is starting to feel the effects of all those extra treats.
I like to fill my diet with nourishing food so that there is little room for those extras (they have their place, just not all the time).
The problem is, on certain days, my schedule is hectic. If I don’t plan ahead, between the kids needs, work, errands, trying to keep my house half-way decent looking, and a demanding puppy (meaning the second I walk in the door I can’t prepare food, I have to take care of the kids then play with the dog for 30 minutes at the least), my choices can be poor at times, or I skip a meal and am STARVING, grabbing whatever is around that is quick.
My skin is breaking out, my stomach feels bloated, and my jean shorts are feeling a little snug … and you know what, that’s ok.
I know once I get back into a routine I will be feeling better.
Food had been such a battle for me, and shifting my perspective and my relationship with it is something that took a lot of work, but very freeing.
When you rid yourself of the added pressure, that is when the magic happens.
Time and time again I have people approach me and ask what I think of doing a juice cleanse.
Usually after the holiday season with endless parties, or summertime vacations and care-free living is when people decide their system needs a reset from the overload of sugar.
Been there, I get it!
However … if I told you that doing a juice cleanse is basically putting your blood sugar through the same thing it went through when you were constantly eating sweets, drinking beer, or having a glass of rosé …. what would you say?
First off, if you are wondering what a juice cleanse is in the first place … let me break it down.
A juice cleanse is when an individual doesn’t eat any solid food for a length of time and replaces it with fresh pressed vegetable and fruit juice.
The purpose of this is to give your digestive system a break, reduce bloating, lose weight, and give your body a fresh start to a healthier lifestyle.
You can juice cleanse for one day, and one people have done it up to sixty days! The typical length is 3-5 days in my experience. When I did it, I lasted about three days, and I ate a small high protein and fat dinner each night, just juicing during the day.
Juice cleansing is not something I think I will ever do again.
Do I love fresh green juice? Sure.
It is great before yoga when I don’t want anything heavy? Or when I want a little boost of nutrients? Sure.
I do, however, make sure I am choosing mainly green vegetable juice to limit the impact on my blood sugar levels.
If you are looking to “lose weight” or get on a healthy track with your eating, balancing your blood sugar level between meals is the goal.
When you go on a juice cleanse, sure you will lose weight … you’re not eating any solid foods and the calories will be pretty low. However, you are losing WATER, not fat, and then set yourself up for more cravings and fat gain later on.
Let’s talk about blood sugar first:
When you eat, insulin (a hormone), is created in the pancreas to help regulate blood sugar. The job of this hormone is to regulate the level of glucose in our blood — a normal range is between 80mg/ml and 120 mg/ml.
When glucose (the body’s preferred energy source) enters the body, insulin opens the door to allow it into the cells for storage. However, when there is continuous sugar spikes insulin becomes less effective. That’s when sugar can’t get into the cells and become “stuck” in the body, the pancreas then goes into overdrive to produce the insulin needed for all the new blood sugar to be stored. This insulin surge tells our body that plenty of energy is available, and that it should stop burning fat and start storing it.
Reason number one you should be focusing on a diet that helps you regulate blood sugar and keeps those spikes at an even level.
The short-term effect of this eating too much sugar/simple carbs is you will have constant cravings and gain body fat; and the worst-case scenario is the risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and other disease.
Now, let’s talk about juice cleansing.
A juice cleanse, like I said above, is not eating any solid food for as many days as you choose to “cleanse.”
You will consume 5-6 fresh glasses or bottles of vegetable & fruit juice every few hours to load your body up with nutrients, and (hopefully) keep you from passing out. The last beverage of the night is usually cashew milk or almond milk sweetened with agave nectar (full of fructose, which I will talk about in a second) or dates.
Fresh juice is primarily fructose.
Fructose, the simplest form of carbohydrate, is digested through the intestines, and can only be metabolized by the liver. Unlike glucose it can’t be used for energy by your body’s cells. Also, unlike glucose, fructose does not stimulate a substantial insulin release.
In excess it is not only completely useless for the body, but is also a toxin in a high enough amount, because the job of the liver is to get rid of it, mainly by transforming it into fat.
When you are drinking these juices every couple of hours you are loading up on fructose over and over and over again.
Bottom line: When you eat excess fructose you are begging your body to store fat, FAST!
Even though you may be “losing weight” (water) immediately during the cleanse.
Not only that, excess fructose damages the liver and leads to insulin resistance (even though it doesn’t cause large insulin spikes), it can also contribute to causing fatty liver disease the same way alcohol does!
So, will I have a fresh cold-pressed vegetable juice every now and then (but follow it up with a meal later high in fat, fiber, and protein) .. YES. I WILL.
Watch the ingredients and choose juices that are vegetable-based, making it low in sugars.
I found this one at Whole Foods just last week, and it not only wasn’t expensive …
… it had a third of the sugar as other bottles juices I had bought in the past!
Of course my lengthy post on the dangers of sugar from The Fitness Dish is no where in site, where I first spoke about Dr. Robert Lustig, who fascinated me with much of this information!
If you want to learn more about sugar and fructose I highly recommend watching his lecture Sugar: The Bitter Truth right on YouTube!
And for now, avoid the juice cleanse … it is a sugar bomb dot com!
I am working on a new drama-free program that lets go of labels and restriction.
In the meantime, if you are looking for something with structure to help regulate your blood sugar, check out my 10-Day sugar cleanse & meal plan!
Have a great night!