wellness wednesday-health

The juice fast

WHAT IS IT?

Exactly what it says on the carton. Ingest nothing but liquefied fruits, roots and vegetables for a set period – anything from 24 hours up to an entire week

HOW DOES IT WORK?

The concept has been buoyed by numerous high-profile Hollywood endorsements as well as the widespread assumption that anything green is good for you. As for what you’re meant to get out of it? Juice-fast advocates evangelise about the method’s ability to reverse digestive damage and flush ‘toxins’ from the body. There are a

few drops of truth to those claims: a UCLA study observed an increase in participants’ general wellbeing after a three-day ‘cleanse’, along with a rise in healthy gut bacteria. Meanwhile, kale juice has been associated with a rise in HDL cholesterol (the good kind), and both citrus fruits and carrot have been linked to a lower risk of developing heart disease.

But – and it’s a big but – Harvard Medical School experts have critiqued the lack of scientific evidence for most of juicing’s benefits, especially the vague claims that

it can ‘detoxify’ the body (that’s what your liver and kidneys do). Sure, kale and other healthy foods will support your body’s natural healing processes, but the science suggests that they work just as well when sautéed – maybe along with those morning eggs – as sunk from a plastic bottle. Plus, by stripping the fibre out of fresh produce, you concentrate the sugar. ‘Even if you’ve got plenty of vitamins and minerals, all of that sugar means you’re raising your insulin levels very high,’ says Miller. ‘Most juices don’t include any protein, either, so you’re not getting the nutrients needed to support muscle recovery.’

Lacklustre workouts and cartwheeling energy levels? You’re alright, thanks. Just as, with the best will in the world, you’re no Spartan warrior queen, neither are you a yogini going deeper into your practice on a Balinese beach.

If you must give it a go, fast for just one or two days, ideally when you don’t have much on, and supplement your juice with a blended bean broth for satiating fibre and a touch of protein.

You’re salivating too, right? so will you be giving it a try?

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