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Fresh Juice in a Coke GlassAccording to a report about juicing in today’s Daily Mail “Juicing can wreck your looks” and “has some ugly side-effects” but how accurate is this report?

The same newspaper has previously reported the health benefits of juicing, but today’s report is more focused on the juice cleanse or juice detox. The report says you are not allowed to call it a juice diet, even though one of the world’s best selling books about juice cleansing of juice detoxing is actually called “The Juice Master Diet: 7lbs in 7 Days”.

7lbs in 7 Days

The Juicemaster Diet is an ultra-fast 1-week super juice cleanse. Devised by Juicemaster Jason Vale, the man who helped Jordan to get her post-baby body back 7lbs in 7 Days is a healthy and effective diet and exercise programme to reshape your body in just one week, but with lasting results. I will come back to this particular juice cleanse later…

Masses of fruit and vegetables

The report in today’s Mail continues:

“It sounds terribly good for you — just masses of fruit and vegetables all juiced together, filling you full of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants… the truth is that a juice regime that lasts several weeks — or even just several days — could actually be wreaking all sorts of havoc on your health.”

If juice fasting (juice feasting) is so unhealthy how does it enable a positive transformation in so many lives?

One good example is Phil Staples, the morbidly obese truck driver featured in the film “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”. When he first featured in the film Phil Staples weighed in at 429 lbs (30 Stone 9 lbs); a cheeseburger away from a heart-attack. After 30 days on nothing but juice Phil Staples lost 61 pounds in weight (over 4 stone!). In addition to this Phil Staples’ blood pressure went from 160 over 84 (high blood pressure) to 136 over 70 (normal blood pressure). His triglycerides, which measure fats in the body went from 216 to 161. 161 is almost in the normal range. Phil Staples also was able to lower the medication he was taking for urticaria, a skin rash notable for pale red, raised, itchy bumps.

Phil Staples continued his juice fast for 60 days, after which Phil has mainly eaten a plant based diet with the occasional treat. Phil Staples’ urticaria is in remission and he’s no longer taking any medication for it. After just 10 months, Phil Staples had lost 202 lbs and was down to a much healthier weight of 227 lbs (16 Stone 3 lbs). Remember, before Phil Staples started the juice fast, he weighed 429 lbs (30 Stone 9 lbs).

How did this happen?

The Mail report quotes Natalie Jones, a spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association as saying that “Juice fasts are simply not sustainable” and “If you’re doing it for health reasons, there’s simply no point. Any weight you lose, you’ll put straight back on again, possibly with extra because short-term, low-calorie crash diets like this mess around with your metabolism.”

The article later says that “you could find that your net calorie intake is higher than if you were eating normally.”

How can juicing make your calorie intake both higher and lower than a ‘normal’ diet?

Natalie Jones continues: “With no fibre in your diet, even after a couple of days, constipation will become a problem, and in the long term, your cholesterol levels could be affected as fibre helps keep them low. So if you’re not getting enough fibre, your cholesterol could shoot up.”

Firstly, juices contain soluble fibre together with a rich array of nutrients in the most bioavailable form that your body can use. But, to deal with the claim about cholesterol, the reason we are concerned about cholesterol is due to an increase risk in heart disease. For example the Mail recently reported “Atkins diet ‘raises risk of heart disease ‘ because of a surge in cholesterol levels”. Well, if it is heart disease we are worried about the Mail also reported (in an article on the benefits of juicing) that “One piece of fruit a day is enough to lower heart disease risk by 20 per cent.”

Natalie Jones also says that while you’re undoubtedly getting lots of vitamins that’s not as great as it sounds:

“Vitamin C is, of course, good for you, but beyond a certain point, more isn’t any better for you. And, if you’re only drinking veg and fruit juices, you’re missing out on a lot of other nutrients such as calcium, protein, vitamin D, essential fats and so on.”

Does the Juice Master Diet: 7lbs in 7 Days only provide Vitamin C?

Put simply, no. On this juice feast one person will get through the following in just 7 days (based on the shopping list on the iPhone app):

  • 85g Alfalfa Sprouts
  • 85 Apples
  • 5 Avocados
  • 1 Banana
  • 1 Beetroot
  • 1 Head of Broccoli
  • 5 Carrots
  • 1 Bunch of Celery
  • 1 Courgette
  • 5 Cucumbers
  • 125g Ginger Root
  • 125g Kale
  • 2 Lemons
  • 8 Limes
  • 200g Mixed Green Leaves (Watercress, Parsley, Spinach, etc)
  • 800ml Natural Live Yoghurt
  • 1 Orange
  • 90g Parsley
  • 8 Pineapples
  • 300g Spinach Leaves
  • Spirulina
  • 75g Watercress
  • 450ml Wheatgrass Juice

Oddly enough this has a bit more than just Vitamin C. To address the concerns of Natalie Jones (please remember she is a spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association):

  • Calcium – all green leafy vegetables provide calcium, including the kale, spinach and watercress listed above. Calcium is also found in broccoli and in the yoghurt
  • Protein – Wheatgrass has a higher concentration of protein than eggs or meat and spirulina is approx 60% protein
  • Vitamin D – We get most of our vitamin D from sunlight on our skin, I don’t think drinking freshly extracted vegetable and fruit juices stop us going out in the sun!
  • Essential fats – Another report from the Mail praising avocados speaking of how they contain “antioxidant monounsaturated oils, essential fatty acids and Vitamin E”

I could dissect the whole article and write for hours about case studies that prove almost its entire content to be inaccurate, but instead I will finish on the one thing that I agree with – don’t brush your teeth straight after drinking juice as the sugar and acid softens the enamel of the teeth and hence you could damage them. It is best to wait around 30 minutes before cleaning your teeth.

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For everyday juicing I use the Phillips HR1861

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