It seems like every celebrity and fitness guru has promoted the positive effects of doing a juice cleanse and detox. More and more companies are offering pre-packaged cleanses that promise to detoxify your body and remove build-up from scary ‘Frankenfood’.
Juice companies promise extravagant health benefits, such as an improved immune system and extreme weight loss.
Unfortunately, a lot of these health claims are misleading, or just plainly not true. That’s why we’re here to bust the four most common myths about cleansing and detoxing.
People often believe when starting a cleanse you’ll instantly begin feeling great. But the first couple days can be pretty rough. You’ll feel a little funky because your body is accustomed to excess sugar in your diet.
Your body will be dealing with letting go of your sugar addiction, which can be eight times more addictive than recreational drugs. Withdrawals are challenging and require planning and support.
By day three or four, you might be feeling more energetic. Despite this, it’s a time to go easier on the exercise than you normally do. Since your body is already taking in fewer calories than usual, you don’t want to use up all your energy stores.
Very light cardio is OK, but steer clear of the weight room. Your muscle strength is depleted during this period, and best not to overtax your body.
It’s commonly believed that a cleanse is a good way to lose weight. But most of the weight you’ll lose on a cleanse will be your body using up the stored sugar reserves.
You can shed pounds at the beginning of a cleanse, this is often due to a loss of water. The loss of water weight also comes at the expense of muscle loss. Weight loss is not always about the numbers on the scale; it’s also about the ratio of body fat compared to lean muscle mass.
Be aware of what juices you are consuming too – green vegetables are great, fruit can have more sugar than expected. Juicing fruits takes out their fibre content, which means your body doesn’t need to expend as many calories to digest them too.
After the cleanse is over, most people return to their normal eating habits – which, you guessed it, will bring most of the weight back in time. If you use the experience to change your habits over the long term the retreat can be an amazing start to different regimens.
The fourth myth aboutcleanses is they boost the immune system.
The immune system works in such a way that it’s fortified by exposure to bacteria and viruses, which it uses to develop antibodies to keep you safe.
Your immune system can’t be boosted by drinking juices alone. Consuming extra nutrients does not mean your immune system is necessarily going to be stronger.
Cleanses are often nutritionally insufficient, and may dampen your immune system whilst you participate.
While adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet is always a good thing to do, only drinking juice is not as beneficial as it may seem.
Take caution when starting any new health regimen, and make sure you research the health claims the diet makes.
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