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Debunking the Juice Cleanse Fad: Why they are NOT good for you

Health

Juicing has become a chic contender in the diet industry over the past several years, but while these "good for you juices" seem like a healthy way to lose weight, they are actually not a viable diet plan. Unlike eating fresh whole fruits and veggies, consuming them in juiced form does not provide the same vitamins, antioxidants and minerals.


A nutritious juice can be beneficial for your health but limiting your diet to strictly juices for an extended period is not a magical solution, like some people may think – and there is very little research to support the health claims made by many juicing companies.

Juicing is the process of blending the fruit/vegetable, instead of pressing which extracts most of the healthy fiber and some antioxidants found in the skins and seeds. For instance, the white pulp in an orange provides flavonoids, providing antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and immune system benefits which unfortunately all get left behind during the juicing process.

Juice also doesn't offer fiber, which has a very important role in the body as it's the indigestible component of whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, fruits and vegetables. Without it, the body easily absorbs fructose sugar, drastically affecting blood-sugar levels. Fiber moves quickly through your digestive tract and helps it function properly. Additionally, it helps reduce constipation and diverticulosis. Foods containing fiber also provide a feeling of fullness while also containing fewer calories. If you meet the daily recommended fiber intake, the risk of heart disease and diabetes decreases, and cholesterol lowers.

Research shows that whole fruits are not only more beneficial than juice for preventing diabetes, they are also more effective in helping to satisfy daily fiber requirements. Research suggests substituting juice with a banana, apple and orange for a 25% to 32% increase in fiber.

Many juice diets involve consuming no protein at all, or at most a very small amount which is not sufficient for your body to function properly. Your body needs a daily supply of protein to build healthy immune cells and regenerate muscle tissue. Reputable nutritionists believe that juicing diets are not harmful for a few days, but if continued, could lead to sickness due to lack of fiber and protein. This could affect older adults who are more susceptible to infections, because they may already have lower protein stores.

While juicing is low-calorie compared to chips and sodas, it is still a very concentrated source of calories.

For example, a cup of pineapple is about 83 calories, but a cup of pineapple juice is 120 calories. You might not realize how much sugar you're consuming when you drink fruit juice. In fact, 8 oz. of apple juice contains 29 grams of sugar, whereas 8 oz. of cola contains only 27 grams of sugar. The truth is that juicing diets load you with empty calories, which can fill you up without supplying the nutrients your body needs to function properly. When done for 10 days, the empty-calorie intake could send the body into starvation mode. In an effort to conserve calories, the body's metabolism may slow down, which can result in weight loss difficulties long term. Additionally, when people restrain from eating their favorite food, after a while they tend to reward themselves, which can often lead to overeating. Ultimately, the vast majority of what is taken off during a juicing diet plan is mostly water weight and will likely be gained back again once your everyday eating habits resume.

To put it more simply, you cannot simply drink your way to health and your dream weight.

3 Min Read
Health

7 Must-have Tips to Keep You Healthy and Fit for the Unpredictable COVID Future

With a lack of certainty surrounding the future, being and feeling healthy may help bring the security that you need during these unpredictable times.

When it comes to your health, there is a direct relationship between nutrition and physical activity that play an enormous part in physical, mental, and social well-being. As COVID-19 continues to impact almost every aspect of our lives, the uncertainty of the future may seem looming. Sometimes improvisation is necessary, and understanding how to stay healthy and fit can significantly help you manage your well-being during these times.

Tip 1: Communicate with your current wellness providers and set a plan

Gyms, group fitness studios, trainers, and professionals can help you to lay out a plan that will either keep you on track through all of the changes and restrictions or help you to get back on the ball so that all of your health objectives are met.

Most facilities and providers are setting plans to provide for their clients and customers to accommodate the unpredictable future. The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C. An enormous amount is on the table for this coming fall and winter; if your gym closes again, what is your plan? If outdoor exercising is not an option due to the weather, what is your plan? Leaving things to chance will significantly increase your chances of falling off of your regimen and will make consistency a big problem.

The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C.

Tip 2: Stay active for both mental and physical health benefits

The rise of stress and anxiety as a result of the uncertainty around COVID-19 has affected everyone in some way. Staying active by exercising helps alleviate stress by releasing chemicals like serotonin and endorphins in your brain. In turn, these released chemicals can help improve your mood and even reduce risk of depression and cognitive decline. Additionally, physical activity can help boost your immune system and provide long term health benefits.

With the new work-from-home norm, it can be easy to bypass how much time you are spending sedentary. Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity. Struggling to find ways to stay active? Start simple with activities like going for a walk outside, doing a few reps in exchange for extra Netflix time, or even setting an alarm to move during your workday.

Tip 3: Start slow and strong

If you, like many others during the pandemic shift, have taken some time off of your normal fitness routine, don't push yourself to dive in head first, as this may lead to burnout, injury, and soreness. Plan to start at 50 percent of the volume and intensity of prior workouts when you return to the gym. Inactivity eats away at muscle mass, so rather than focusing on cardio, head to the weights or resistance bands and work on rebuilding your strength.

Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity.

Tip 4: If your gym is open, prepare to sanitize

In a study published earlier this year, researchers found drug-resistant bacteria, the flu virus, and other pathogens on about 25 percent of the surfaces they tested in multiple athletic training facilities. Even with heightened gym cleaning procedures in place for many facilities, if you are returning to the gym, ensuring that you disinfect any surfaces before and after using them is key.

When spraying disinfectant, wait a few minutes to kill the germs before wiping down the equipment. Also, don't forget to wash your hands frequently. In an enclosed space where many people are breathing heavier than usual, this can allow for a possible increase in virus droplets, so make sure to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Staying in the know and preparing for new gym policies will make it easy to return to these types of facilities as protocols and mutual respect can be agreed upon.

Tip 5: Have a good routine that extends outside of just your fitness

From work to working out, many routines have faltered during the COVID pandemic. If getting back into the routine seems daunting, investing in a new exercise machine, trainer, or small gadget can help to motivate you. Whether it's a larger investment such as a Peloton, a smaller device such as a Fitbit, or simply a great trainer, something new and fresh is always a great stimulus and motivator.

Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine.

Just because you are working from home with a computer available 24/7 doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your entire day to work. Setting work hours, just as you would in the office, can help you to stay focused and productive.

A good night's sleep is also integral to obtaining and maintaining a healthy and effective routine. Adults need seven or more hours of sleep per night for their best health and wellbeing, so prioritizing your sleep schedule can drastically improve your day and is an important factor to staying healthy. Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine. This can help the rest of your day feel normal while the uncertainty of working from home continues.

Tip 6: Focus on food and nutrition

In addition to having a well-rounded daily routine, eating at scheduled times throughout the day can help decrease poor food choices and unhealthy cravings. Understanding the nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy can help you stay more alert, but they do vary from person to person. If you are unsure of your suggested nutritional intake, check out a nutrition calculator.

If you are someone that prefers smaller meals and more snacks throughout the day, make sure you have plenty of healthy options, like fruits, vegetables and lean proteins available (an apple a day keeps the hospital away). While you may spend most of your time from home, meal prepping and planning can make your day flow easier without having to take a break to make an entire meal in the middle of your work day. Most importantly, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

Tip 7: Don't forget about your mental health

While focusing on daily habits and routines to improve your physical health is important, it is also a great time to turn inward and check in with yourself. Perhaps your anxiety has increased and it's impacting your work or day-to-day life. Determining the cause and taking proactive steps toward mitigating these occurrences are important.

For example, with the increase in handwashing, this can also be a great time to practice mini meditation sessions by focusing on taking deep breaths. This can reduce anxiety and even lower your blood pressure. Keeping a journal and writing out your daily thoughts or worries can also help manage stress during unpredictable times, too.

While the future of COVI9-19 and our lives may be unpredictable, you can manage your personal uncertainties by focusing on improving the lifestyle factors you can control—from staying active to having a routine and focusing on your mental health—to make sure that you emerge from this pandemic as your same old self or maybe even better.