Miracle food or marketing scam?
An estimated 29.7 million New Year’s resolutions were made at start of 2016 and of these 17% were dropped within a week, with 6% not even lasting a day. With the year now in full swing many health focused businesses step up an effort to compete for a piece of this “new years resolution market”. This is the supposed group of consumers who after a festive season spent sitting, eating and drinking, decide to turn their entire lifestyle around under the industry invented slogan “new year, new you”.
- 84% of women are motivated by seeing their fitness improvements, compared to 69% of men
- 77% of people need to see progress before continuing with an exercise plan
- People aged 35-44 found progress more motivational than any other age group
But let’s be honest who really does this? Do people who, having lead an unhealthy lifestyle, really then wake up and turn it all around come January 1st? Sure gyms see higher attendance figures and sales of “diet” products get a temporary boost, but in the end these are ultimately short term fads that fade as quickly as new year’s resolutions themselves.
Do juice plans help you to lose weight?
Juice plans or “diets” often involve the consumption a series of juices throughout the day over the course of a plan, whilst eating less food than you would normally, or in some cases no food at all. From a weight loss perspective yes, a prolonged calorie deficit will result in weight loss. But is it healthy and sustainable? This all depends on the degree of the deficit.
The average adult male needs 2,500 calories per day to maintain a healthy weight and a woman needs around 2,000. The minimum calorific intake to survive however should be 1,800 for a man or 1,200 for a woman. Healthy weight loss in normal healthy people (i.e not the obese) involves a slight calorie deficit over a longer period of time (i.e months), until a healthy weight is achieved, before returning to a level of calorie consumption and physical exercise where a healthy weight is maintained.
Juice diets that are short term and drastically reduce calorie intake put the body into a “starvation mode”, where the body then reacts by storing calories as fat in preparation for the perceived famine. This means that after the plan you are more likely to put all of the weight back on and then some, as you’ll feel you can eat more and your body will be putting more of it into stored fat. So do juice plans help you to lose weight? No, most of them probably don’t in the long term.
Can juice plans help you to detox?
Another key seller of the juice plan is the functional properties that promise to “detox” or “revitalise”. However for the most part these are simply vague marketing terms with nothing in terms of anything actually scientific to back them up. Detoxification basically means to eliminate toxins from the blood and the only things that do that are organs such as the liver and kidneys, not drinks. Toxins are also removed from the body via the intestines, lungs, lymphatic system and skin. However, where the functional ingredients of a drink can help is in supporting the function of these organs. These ingredients include:
- Leafy green vegetables
- Coconut kefir
- Milk thistle
- Burdock root
Some ingredients, such as chlorella, also absorbs toxic metals like mercury, cadmium, and lead, helping to excrete them from your body. However the main ingredient for detoxification is plain old water, but as companies struggle to charge as astronomical price mark up on this, they are much more keen to promote the juice plan.
Overall cold pressed juices containing highly nutritious ingredients can be a great addition to a healthy diet but are unlikely to live up to their claims and certainly not the cost.