Welcome back to the final part of this series, where I give you guys my take on the concept of juice detoxed. Detoxes, diets, cleanses, fasts, reboots…they all refer to the same process of eliminating all solid foods and replacing them with fruit and vegetable rich juices and smoothies, ideally fresh and natural without preservatives or pasteurization.
First, make sure you’ve read part 1 (The Theory Behind Juice Detoxes) and part 2 (Are Juice Detoxes Useful or Necessary for Fat Loss?)
Today, I’m addressing (and maybe ranting a bit) about their role in weight loss.
Are juice detoxes useful or necessary for fat loss?
The devil is in the detail with this one.
Note: today I want to emphasise FAT loss, not simply weight loss.
This is because the weight loss claims that companies make very rarely reflect actual fat loss…and if you are overweight or looking to lean down for whatever reason, fat loss is what will really determine your success.
Fat loss happens when there is a deficit between the amount of energy your burning and the amount of energy you’re eating/drinking so your body has to start ‘burning’ body fat to find the energy to function.
Juice diets or detoxes can theoretically produce fat loss if there are less calories (energy) in the juices than the amount of energy you burn through the day. But that is where the fat loss story ends for juice diets.
However, it is only the beginning of the WEIGHT loss story while on juice diet. When we eat normally, our body weight also includes the weight of the food in our gut (nice!) and the weight of the extra water our cells need to process various foods and stay hydrated and balanced. But if we’re avoiding solid foods, or foods that require extra energy to process, our body no longer has the ‘weight’ in our gut or the extra water in our cells, or that bloat from too much ice cream and M&Ms…
So, the scale will go down indicating weight loss (hooray!), but very little of that will be fat, because 3, 5 or 7 days of energy deficit is not enough (boo!).
But you may know someone/watched a certain documentary *cough cough* who lost loads of weight by living of just juices
…and so you think, “if I can *just* lose the weight quickly first, I can then concentrate on healthy eating to keep it off”. And that is perfectly possible: if the juice detox helps you manage your appetite and cravings, and kick start better portion control and increase your preference for natural, whole foods and put you off takeaways, then a juice detox is great news! But it’s rare.
More likely is the ‘on/off the wagon’ cycle, which no one enjoys.
What most weight/fat loss solutions forget is teaching people how to maintain their weight once they’ve got to a healthy and happy place, and, in my opinion, that is because it is the HARDEST thing to learn.
It is easy enough for juice companies, weight loss coaches and personal trainers to promise weight loss results, because temporary motivation will see the customers through the weight loss phase, as long as they stick to a calorie deficit (see above). But without providing long term advice on maintaining that weight loss, these companies and coaches are raking in the cash while shirking the hardest part of the job!
You may find that for losing fat, or maintaining a healthy body weight any of the below juicing approaches could be perfect for you, and I see all of these work with my customers:
Doing 1 juice and smoothie day a week or month.
Doing a juice and smoothie week 2-3 times a year.
Having a juice or smoothie as a replacement for breakfast or lunch Monday-Friday.
Enjoying a juice every now and then because you just fancy it.
At the end of the day, there is nothing intrinsically special about drinking juices while looking to lose fat or maintain weight (or even gain weight), but a consistent routine that you enjoy and lines up with your energy/calorie needs is the most important thing to bare in mind. Juice detoxes might be useful with the right mindset, but is by no means necessary for losing fat.
What should you be looking for when investing in a dieting strategy?
My goal with this part has been to show you that juice detoxes are rarely the fat loss solution you are looking for, especially without the tools in place to keep you in a calorie deficit or able to maintain your goal. Be wary of companies and coaches, whatever approach they may be selling you, if they cannot honestly answer the following question:
“How will you/your product help me maintain the fat I lose long term?”
I hope you have enjoyed this series – I plan to share my take on even more health topics in future so stay tuned!