In this edition of Wellness, YNN's Jill Urban talks about the safety of using a juice cleanse for weight loss.
Juicing and smoothies can be a good way to add fruits and vegetables to your meal plan, but they are definitely not a substitute for the rest of the foods that belong in a well-balanced meal plan.
Georgia Giannopoulos is a Registered Dietitian with New York Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell Medical Center. She said people should consult with a physician before jumping into a juice-only cleanse.
If you are going to do one, there is a lot to consider.
"You should consider what the program is asking you to cut out because if you are only drinking juice, there is no way to get all the nutrients that you need for the day. Plain juice doesn’t have enough protein or fat to sustain you," said Giannopoulos.
It is also important to find out how long it is supposed to last. Giannopoulos said a day or two wouldn’t be detrimental to most healthy people, but a long term cleanse could lead to more serious complications.
If you are in it for weight loss, your plan could backfire.
"Losing weight that quickly it can backfire because your body is actually losing muscle mass and therefore your metabolism is slowing down so when you do start eating more your body will hold onto the calories and you will gain weight quickly," said Giannopoulos.
Some of the weight you lose is water weight, which you will quickly gain back as your body rehydrates itself.
Giannopoulos recommends a different type of cleanse that includes solid whole foods as opposed to processed foods. She says eating an all natural, well balanced diet will ultimately do more for your body
She also says you are better off eating the whole fruit rather than just the juice because you get the added benefit of fiber.
If you are set on the liquid only diet, Giannopoulos suggests making that liquid as well balanced as possible. For example instead of plain juice, add some protein rich yogurt and drink a smoothie instead.
Juicing is a great way to help supplement for your regular meal plan, but if you jump into a juice-only cleanse, make sure you consider what it means for your body in the long run.