You’ve seen the documentaries. The large guy decides to stop eating food and only drink juice for a couple months and, lo-and-behold, he loses weight. What really happened there? Can this trend be for real? Continue reading to discover more about juicing and the truth behind the Juice Detox craze.
What IS a Juice Detox?
A juice detox is, essentially, a detox diet where you drink specific fresh-made juices to rid the body of toxins. If you’ve been following the detox blog, you know how I feel about most detox fads. (If not, you can check out some of them HERE).
Who Started This Trend?
Surprisingly enough, a doctor in the 1930s invented the first juice extractor and made fresh fruit and vegetable juices available to anyone.
This thing was a monster of a machine that took up a great deal of counter space. It was heavy, bulky, and strong. Guess what? It’s STILL AROUND!
The Norwalk 2-step juicer is still on the market today. It’s an enormous machine that takes about 10 minutes (not counting prep time) to make about 4 cups of juice. It costs around $2,700.
Yes, you read that correctly. OVER two-thousand dollars. For a juicer. It’s not the only one, either. There’s a “copycat” on the market today as well called the Pure juicer. Same thing, same process, but it works better in nearly half the time. The Pure juicer is a few HUNDRED dollars less, coming in around $2,400.
You can watch the comparison HERE if you’re curious. I did, and I was amazed, both at the complexity of the entire process and at the amount of juice made. It’s a long video, but worth it JUST to see how the machines work.
You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on a fancy juicing machine. You can get a juicing machine for as little as $50-$60. If you want to retain the most nutrients in your juice, however, you will want to shell out a little more.
There are two main types of juicers besides the crazy expensive, complicated one I mentioned above.
Examples of centrifugal juicers are the Jack LaLane Power Juicer and the Breville Juice Fountain. These juicers will run you between $50 to $300, depending on the brand and features.
These juicers extract the juice from your fruits and vegetables by spinning a shredding or chopping disc very fast. The problem with this is that speed equals heat, and heat can deplete the nutrients from your produce. This kind of defeats the purpose of juicing.
Masticating (or Cold Press) Juicers
Some examples of these juicers include the Kuvings Slow Juicer and the Hurom juicer line. They will cost you between $90 and $700. Again, this depends on the brand, where you purchase it, and the model features.
The benefit of these juicers is that they slowly masticate (chew) the produce and spit out the juice. This preserves the nutrients and gives you the most benefit. The down side is that they take a bit longer than the centrifugal juicers. They will produce more juice, however.
Should I Do a Juice Detox?
I suppose the answer to that question depends on your purpose and methods. There are many pros and cons with juicing and juice detox.
What REALLY Happened With That One Guy…?
The man behind the MAJOR juice detox movement in recent years is Joe Cross, of “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” fame. You can view the trailer to his documentary below. He went through an amazing change, but was it really due to the juicing, or was it something else?
If you watch the full documentary, you will see a man that is at least 100lbs overweight and unhealthy make a complete turn-around. He just decides to do a juice fast for 60 days.
He quits eating, drinking alcohol, and doing anything else unhealthy. He does this cold-turkey, and then starts juicing and not taking in anything but juice. You get to watch his struggle as he stays in bed for the first few days.
After the first 5 days or so, he begins exercising regularly. (This should be the first clue that it’s not JUST the juice doing the work).
You then witness his transformation, and you see him travel across America (even though he is Australian) helping others begin the juicing journey. It seems to work, but is it really just the juice?
Juice and Something Else
First of all, sure, I’ll buy that if you stop eating and start drinking fresh juices, you’re going to drop a few pounds. Then what? THIS article has a list of things that happen when you do a juice detox (or fast). Following is a brief summary.
Now, I’m not saying juicing is bad. There are many benefits of a juice detox, and fresh juice is definitely better than the store-bought stuff.
If you want to add some extra, easy-to-get nutrients to your diet, fresh juice can fit that role. Watch the carb/calorie count though! One of the benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetable is that they contain a lot of fiber, which helps stabilize blood glucose levels.
You will go through withdrawal from caffeine, fat, and refined sugar. You can’t just quit those things without titrating off of them, or you will experience some discomfort. If you try to do a fast, however, one of the first things that will happen is starvation mode.
Survival Mode: Starvation
Additionally, your body will enter starvation mode. It will think it’s starving, so your metabolism will slow down. As a result, you will not start losing weight immediately. You will be sensitive to cold temperatures because your body is not producing as much heat. You will have low energy levels.
Starvation mode will level out eventually, once your body realizes you are still taking in nutrients. You will start to lose water weight, then you will lose some lean muscle mass.
Eventually, your body will start burning fat for excess energy. This can be good, but if you have diabetes, it can be dangerous.
When your body burns fat, it creates ketone bodies. These ketone bodies can raise the acid levels in the blood, and with diabetic patients, you can get Diabetic Ketoacidosis and end up hospitalized.
(the take-home-note for this is, don’t do a juice detox or juice fast if you have diabetes)
What is the Verdict?
It’s up to you whether you’d like to add fresh juice to your diet, but I would not recommend making it your only source of nutrients. To be perfectly honest, I tried the juice fast thing, and I didn’t make it past day 3. It SUCKS, and I am weak.
If you want to be healthier, try changing your diet a bit by checking out my blog on clean eating HERE.
For some great juice recipes, check out THIS page.
If you have KIDS who are picky eaters (like my 4-yr-old), try THESE juice recipes!