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Do Juice Cleanses and Detox Diets Really Work?

Fitday Editor

It's no surprise that cleanses and detoxes are all the rage. Anything that can get weight off fast and with minimal effort is a sure-fire win for most. It's alluring, the possibility/promise of weight loss without actually having to do anything but swipe your credit card and drink a beverage or pop a pill, right?

Trust me, I've heard most of it before. "But Elizabeth, the cleanse promises that I'm meeting over 100% of my daily nutrient needs. I swear, I don't even feel hungry!" I'm sorry to say, most of this is excellent marketing aimed at getting you to lay down your hard earned dough in support of a pleasant thought of instantaneous weight loss.

It's no wonder the diet business is a multibillion dollar industry that has the highest failure rate. Juice cleanses and detox diets often lack the complete nutrition profile that helps maintain your body's internal hunger-fullness mechanism. Juicing often provides many of the essential vitamins and minerals you need, however, it lacks the fiber-filling content of eating a whole fruit or vegetable. As you know, fiber keeps you fuller longer, so when taking out this element, you're left starving a short while after drinking the juice.

When looking at the facts, cleanses and detoxes are only beneficial when used as a kick start for getting back on track with total wellness. For instance, I have had clients dead set on using the three-day juice cleanse that was roaming around on Groupon. As their Registered Dietitian, I listened to my client's needs but helped meet them halfway between their own agenda and my expert recommendation. Thus, I worked out a plan for them: after they complete the juice cleanse, they begin incorporating a whole food approach to achieve and maintain their weight loss goal.

I truly believe that if your ultimate goal is so be a healthier, happier person, try to focus on a realistic approach that can be life-sustaining. These simple quick fixes will only work for a short period of time, typically ending with an even greater gain in the end. Why set yourself up for failure when you have the opportunity to succeed by simply making a few changes in your current habits. Over time, these small changes will lead to big benefits in the long run!


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Elizabeth Shaw, MS, RD, is a San Diego based dietitian. She is owner of Elizabeth Shaw Consulting Services, in which she offers individual, corporate and food service consulting services. She an adjunct professor in Nutrition at San Diego Mesa Community College and is the Dining Dietitian for the University of California San Diego. Read her blog, Simple-Swaps, and connect with her on Facebook and Pinterest.

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