Juicing. Why you probably shouldn’t…

Drinking nothing but blended up stuff for a few days will rid your body of all its toxins, cause you to lose loads of weight and generally make you more beautiful and fantastic in a quick and convenient way. Nutri-bullets, blenders, food processors etc make the idea of following a ‘detox’ diet not only appealing but palatable. Is blending all the nutritious fruits and vegetables (that you probably don’t eat as often as you could/should by themselves) into a delicious juice that you drink for days on end the way to purge all your poisons, fats and feelings of self-loathing?!?

How about this…..

‘The whole cleansing concept is silly. The body doesn’t need any help getting rid of compounds it doesn’t want. That’s what your liver and kidneys are for.’

-Dr. Elizabeth Applegate, a senior lecturer in nutrition at the University of California.

Toxins are substances created by plants and animals that are poisonous to humans. Toxins also include medications that are helpful in small doses (snake venom to replace morphine, true), but poisonous when used in large amounts. Most toxins that cause problems in humans are released by germs such as bacteria. Other toxins that cause problems include metals, such as lead and organic chemicals in the environment as well as in your cosmetics, plastic lunchboxes, water bottles and so on.

The extent of the toxins in our modern, daily lives has led to this rather alarmist statement from respected nutritionist Byron J. Richards;

‘Our polluted world is a true test of genetic survival of the fittest. The number of toxic chemicals now threatens the reproductive ability of the human race and is also a large part of the cancer issue. These chemicals contribute to weight gain in various ways, including the disruption of the hormone signalling system that regulates your metabolism, damage to and accumulation in your white adipose tissue (read: more fat), and increased risk for poisoning during weight loss. It is absolutely vital that you understand this subject’

Heavy.

It’s probably (relatively) safe to assume most of you are not habitual hard drug users. If you were, it would be possible for you to ‘detox’. You would be able to identify the poison and work to eliminate it from your body. In terms of food however, a total detox is impossible as everything you consume is poisonous to some degree. There is always some mercury in your fish, some carcinogenic compounds in food you grill, some coal tar in your anti-dandruff shampoo (yep), some alcohol in the double vodka in your hand and so on. Small amounts are harmless, large amounts are harmful. Bok Choy is a wonderful example; a serving or two per day is very good for you while fifteen cups in a day could leave you with hypothyroidism (lacking thyroid hormone). It’s all neatly surmised by Paracelsus, a Swiss-German Renaissance alchemist who founded the discipline of Toxicology;

‘There are no poisons, only poisonous doses.’

Your body is in a constant state of detoxification using the most effective means possible – the liver and kidneys. Drinking only blended juices will not help these organs, it will hinder them.

Why?

A juice diet WILL cause you to lose weight. You will naturally be consuming fewer calories than when eating solid food. This weight loss will mostly be water weight as your body breaks down its glycemic stores (carboHYDRATES). The weight will return once you start eating normally again. Muscle loss will occur thanks to catabolism with your body consuming its muscle to find calories to replace the ones your missing. We need protein and fat in our diets. Liquefying fruits and vegetables means getting rid of fibre. I know the nutri-bullet claims otherwise but consuming, chewing and digesting solid food aids digestion by sustaining the micro-flora in our gut.

Our bodies are genetically programmed for survival above all else. We need to consume enough calories to reassure our bodies we aren’t starving;

Too few calories + muscle loss = Slow metabolism.
Slow metabolism = less calories spared, more calories stored.
More calories stored = a fatter you.

This was a long one. Sorry. But, I was standing in a health food store yesterday next to two women buying 10-day detox kits for 120 bucks each. It annoyed (and saddened) me as they were explaining to the sales assistant how desperate they were to lose weight. This is not the way to do it sustainably or healthily.

It is possible to eliminate the four major toxic triggers (gluten, alcohol, caffeine, sugar) WITHOUT going on a liquid diet or counting calories or eliminating fats/proteins WHILE eating normal, solid foods. We offer such a nutrition plan here at Reform.

HOWEVER, total elimination is OPTIONAL not necessary. Moderation and informed decision-making is the key, nothing else. There are no secrets, there are no short cuts, stop looking for them.

Again, you know this already.

References.

Farm Chemicals Damage Sexual Function Environmental Health Perspectives Colette St. Mary, Heather Hamlin, Lauriel Bortnick, and Chelsey Campbell.

Cancer and Environmental Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals Nature Reviews Endocrinology 1.Soto AM, Sonnenschein C

Walford RL, et al. Physiologic changes in humans subjected to severe, selective calorie restriction for two years in biosphere 2: health, aging, and toxicological perspectives. Toxicol Sci 1999;52(2 Suppl):61-65

Waldman K. Stop Juicing. It’s Not Healthy, It’s Not Virtuous, and It Makes You Seem Like a Jerk. Slate. November 20th, 2013

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<a href=”http://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FParacelsus&amp;h=BAQGaxbZEAQGt3D4tozLcGw01IPpmM2UfFwH9JOylcHAD8w&amp;enc=AZOoLeAIh3VXaSx0UDa1Yuw6OP-2gqDSY2N2ztgHFAy50XWSTHOc900fDxMNSPA-5Ree345xZl11jysaWuSht65D-Ae68dkhAfeqeylRlYZkPz9hBA5g6nVVkbUdQC1gtpgNLroifYNvOIxLKq_ihaBEN84gTErigow4CxhoX4grwAAH6qI6HSRh1oPlHnlLMB5oUKS_JY6_Y4-hZ-3Ucf3_&amp;s=1″ target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paracelsus</a>