Diets that waste your time: juicing

Starting your day by sticking some kale, beets, and lemon into a juicer and drinking whatever green concoction comes out is nowadays seen as the epitome of health. Everyone from celebrity chefs to food blogs to your local coffee shop seem to be getting on the juicing bandwagon. But is its popularity grounded in fact?

Is there a variety of food types?

We grow up being told to eat our fruit and vegetables – and isn’t that exactly what juicing does? Unfortunately for us, it isn’t as simple as that. Whilst juicing is a great way to get fruit and vegetable into your diet, it can’t be the only source of it. Experts say you should still aim to eat two whole fruits and three to four vegetables a day.

The colour of your chosen ingredients is also important if you want a good variation of vitamins and minerals in your diet. If all you drink is green juice, you’re missing out on things such as the vitamin C in blueberries and the B6 in mango.

Juice cleanses also cause problems with fibre intake, as we lose the fibre-rich pulp when juicing. You could add the pulp back into your juice, but this takes the ease out of juicing which made the diet so popular.

How much effort is involved?

The first thing you need to begin your juice cleanse is a juicer or blender, with the high-end models getting pretty expensive. But other than investing money, the only effort involved in juicing comes from cutting your fruit and vegetables. Depending on the intensity of your juice diet (from just one or two a day to a full-blown juice cleanse), this can be quite time consuming.

Is it doctor recommended?

If you use juicing to add more fruit and vegetables to your diet, then great! But if you’re relying solely on juicing to ‘cleanse’ your body of toxins, you might be wasting your time because your liver already does that. Most physicians agree that cleansing doesn’t really rid your body of toxins like marketing claims it will. If you want to eat clean and maybe lose a little bit of weight, most healthcare professionals suggest that you just eat a well balanced and plant based diet, as it gives you the benefits of the fruit and vegetables you get from juicing, as well as providing the fibre and nutrients that you miss out on.

Doctors also often warn about the negative health effects of juicing, with many people often experiencing headaches, fatigue, and hunger pains throughout the day.

Can you still be normal?

Due to its popularity, it is easier than ever to live a normal life on a juice diet. With most cafes and supermarkets offering some form of juice or smoothie, you can still join friends for lunch or grab food on the go. However, if you’re fully committed to your cleanse and have sworn off all solid food for its duration, your social life might suffer when it comes to eating in restaurants, as many places probably won’t welcome you bringing in a huge container of green liquid.

Is it for you?

Juicing definitely has its pros and cons. It is a popular and easily accessible way to eat healthy – however; the negative health aspects mean it probably shouldn’t be your only means of dieting. Juices and smoothies can be a great addition to a healthy lifestyle, but to make sure your body receives all the nutrients it needs to function properly, it should remain that: an addition. Eating a balanced diet is a much better way to enjoy a healthy lifestyle – and you’ll avoid the headaches too!

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Rosy Parrish

Rosy Parrish grew up in Britain and now lives in Madrid. She divides her time between teaching English, writing about expat life, and befriending dogs in the street.

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