LIFESTYLE
30/01/2018 14:43 SAST | Updated 30/01/2018 14:44 SAST

What You Need To Know Before A 40-Day Juice Cleanse

"I would say any period of time in which you are restrictive of your nutrient and energy intake could be potentially dangerous."

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"Juice cleanses" have been a popular trend over the past few years – whether people want to kickstart their weight loss, lose weight in a short period of time, or are looking for a quick "detox". But are they as good for us as we believe?

HuffPost spoke to Dieticians At Work's Ashley Gibbon, who sounded a warning about the hot trend.

"I would say any period of time in which you are restrictive of your nutrient and energy intake could be potentially dangerous," says Gibbon.

This is why:

1. Low energy

The main problem with juice cleanses is that often they contain a lack of nutrition, including protein and carbohydrates. As a result, people on the juice fast may feel weak and fatigued, especially over a long period.

Your body has its own "detox" system in the form of the blood-filtration systems in the kidneys and the liver. These are essential organs that remove toxins from the blood.

2. Muscle loss

Owing to a decreased calorie intake and a lack of vital nutrients, a juice-only diet can slow down your metabolism and cause you to lose muscle mass along with fat. Stomach-related ailments due to a low-fibre intake can also occur.

3. Not sustainable

While juice cleanses can result in quick weight loss, these gains are not sustainable, as you can't juice for life. Most people see a return of the weight when they reincorporate carbs into their diet. Gibbons advocates, instead, for a lifestyle change that includes a healthy balanced diet, or a juice cleanse accompanied by important food groups.

"The best way to aid these detox systems is to limit the number of refined carbohydrates, sugars, alcohol and excessively fatty meats in the diet, and increase the amounts of fresh fruit, vegetables, complex carbohydrates and lean meats," she says. Water intake and exercise are also important.

4. Blood-sugar spikes

Natural sugars in cleansing juices can have the same effect as processed sugars if consumed in excess. First comes the surge of energy, then headaches, irritability and even dizziness.

Claims that juicing helps "remove toxins" from your body have also been derided by researchers. "Your body has its own 'detox' system in the form of the blood filtration systems in the kidneys and the liver. These are essential organs that remove toxins from the blood," Gibbon says.