June 21, 2024

But if juice cleanses are no longer de rigueur, many continue to incorporate juicing in their wellness routine. Even local cafes, coffee shops and hotels have added “healthy” juices or shots to their menus – proof, surely, that they are still a popular part of some people’s diet.

What also hasn’t waned is the scepticism about the effectiveness of cleansing in pursuit of a detox or weight loss, with experts warning that juicing doesn’t offer a one-size-fits-all solution.

“Although juice cleanses may seem safe, they are not for everyone, especially people at high risk of eating disorders and those with low energy,” says Dr Varisara Rudravanija of Bangkok-based wellness retreat RAKxa Integrative Wellness.

“Juices may be high in sugar, so they are not recommended for those controlling their blood sugar levels or for patients with chronic kidney disease.”

Marian Alonzo, medical chief of The Farm in San Benito, Philippines

One regional advocate is Dr Marian Alonzo, medical chief at The Farm in San Benito, Philippines, which is known for its juicing detox programmes. “We’ve long been advocates of medically supervised juicing to jump-start the body back to optimal health,” says Alonzo.

“Most misconceptions about juicing stem from experiences related to people with medical conditions, or those who overdo juicing to a point bordering on the extreme. Moderation and listening to the body are crucial.”

While experts advise against long-term, unsupervised cleanses, there are ways to safely incorporate juicing into your diet to harness some of its health benefits. Studies have noted that people who have done juice cleanses have experienced better absorption of nutrients and an increase in inflammation-fighting bacteria in the gut.

Alonzo asserts that juice cleanses can provide the digestive tract with a much-need rest, “which helps reset the body in terms of more available energy and better-quality sleep”.

Moonjuice Sexy Water

As with any health regimen, there are guidelines that people should follow when immersing themselves in the world of juicing. What matters most are the types of vegetables and fruits you use. For a start, all ingredients should be of the highest quality, locally grown and preferably organic or pesticide free.

Green leafy vegetables have been hailed as the ultimate superfood and are suitable for juicing, but they also come with some drawbacks. Those who are prone to clotting, for example, should avoid vegetables such as kale, while varieties that are high in oxalates such as spinach and beets can put extra strain on the kidneys when consumed in high quantities.

Of course, consuming a juice solely made from veggies can taste bitter, which is why many recipes include higher quantities of fruits to add sweetness. Unfortunately, this will only increase the sugar content, making it far from detoxifying.

Alonzo suggests familiarising yourself with the list of glycaemic index fruits to select options that won’t cause glucose spikes such as apple and pear. Avoid mixing sweet fruits and acid or subacid fruits, which can cause digestive issues such as bloating. As a rule, opt for an 80/20 ratio of vegetables to fruits.

There has also been hype around single-ingredient juices such as celery or wheatgrass shots, although there is little scientific evidence to prove that they are beneficial for the body.

Detox juices at The Farm in the Philippines

Experts say diversification is important. Each ingredient will have varying amounts of different nutrients, which is why consuming a variety is essential.

“Map out sources of fruits and veggies then commit to a health goal of, say, taking green juice every other day. Mini, achievable targets are better. The goal is to educate the palate and make the body like green juice,” says Alonzo.

Once you start incorporating juices into your diet you may experience a range of benefits including weight loss. These effects may be short-term however, especially as juice cleanses should not be done frequently or over long periods of time. Juices are not a replacement for food – in fact, they are very low in fibre, which is why some people prefer smoothies as they use the entire fruit and vegetable, also resulting in less food waste.

“Although juice cleanses can result in a calorie deficit, this modality is not recommended in the long run as it may cause undesirable consequences, including decreased energy levels, slow metabolism and muscle loss. A well-balanced diet in conjunction with increased physical activity seems to be a suitable choice to achieve individual optimal health,” concludes Rudravanija.

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