It's a growing trend many are familiar with: juice cleansing.
Celebrities do it. Spas offer it. Organic grocery stores put bottles on their shelves. Some people drink a glass of juice with meals, while others only drink juice, and don't eat much else. All because it's believed to remove toxins from the body.
Experts say, that's simply not true. Juicing does not detoxify the body.
"We don't usually need any assistance from the foods that we eat," Erin Lavin, a clinical dietitian with the UC Davis Medical Center, said. "It usually does just fine on its own."
Lavin says the body's kidneys and liver do most of the work of pushing out toxins. Even local Sacramento juicing company Sun and Soil tries to share the word with customers.
"They think it's going to be a sort of quick fix for a long time situation, but it's more to give your digestive system a break," Sun and Soil co-owner Tatiana Kaiser says. "Cleansing in general shouldn't be a fad, it should be a lifestyle. If you think of your body as a car, you put the wrong gas in your car it's not going to work."
Kaiser emphasizes it may help reset the digestive system after a period of eating unhealthy, but certainly does not solve the problem.
There are benefits to juicing, however. Particularly for people who don't like eating fruits and vegetables, and normally don't get those nutrients and minerals in their bodies anyway. Juicing is a way of including those into a diet, in a more convenient and tastier form.
Do be warned, though. Juicing too often means you're opting out of fiber that you normally get from whole foods and vegetables. That fiber usually keeps your stomach full longer and thus, keeps the calories down.
If you are diabetic, Lavin warns to be careful with juices. Sugars — even from a natural source — can spike your blood sugar quickly and drastically without that fiber to slow the intake down.
Lavin also mentions the difference between making juice at home versus buying it at the store. Homemade juice can collect dangerous bacteria quickly, so you'll have to drink it faster. Store-bought bottles may have longer shelf life, but would cost a bit more.
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