Juice cleansing ‘sexy, dramatic’ but unsuited to fast weight loss

Juice cleansing can be helpful but should be approached prudently, nutritionists say. Juice cleansing can be helpful but should be approached prudently, nutritionists say.

Christina McAllister 

Life Reporter

A few words people are sure to see after the holidays: fast, cleanse and detox.

These buzz words come with the promise of losing 10 pounds in one week, improving your health and boosting your energy. The juice cleanse in particular has been gaining traction.

Sarah Power, a registered dietician and acting program coordinator for Humber’s Food and Nutrition Management program, said juice cleanses are very timely and prevalent after the holidays.

“They are sexy,” she said. “Dramatic.”

Power recommends a juice  cleanse to clients who are highly motivated but are unsure of where to start, but said cleanses should not be used as a quick fix.

“Juice cleanses are not a sustainable way of losing weight” she said.

Frances Michaelson, a holistic naturopath and personal trainer, is a supporter of the juice cleanse but also warns they should not be used as a quick weight loss method.

She said the problem with cleanses being so popular right now is that people tend to follow guidelines they find in a magazine rather than contact a nutritionist or dietitian.

Mainstream health researchers have said there is no measurable evidence that juice cleanses have any health benefits, partly because such approaches have been little studied to date. Beyond such questions, misunderstanding the correct objective of a juice cleanse could potentially be harmful.

Humber student Michelle Lofranco recalled a friend getting sick from a juice cleanse.

“She was just juicing for two weeks straight with no solid foods,” she said.

Despite that incident, Lofranco said she would still try a juice cleanse.

“I would do it to lose weight and to cleanse my body, since I sometimes eat a lot of junk food,” she said.

There are, however, benefits to juice cleanses. Power recommends using a juice cleanse to kick start a healthier lifestyle.

“Some people need something to get momentum,” she said. “It resets and reboots and if that’s what it takes to get momentum, then that’s great.”

Michaelson said juice cleanses give the digestive system a break while allowing the body to absorb more nutrients at one time.  If done properly, they can be beneficial.

“It’s easy to get drawn in by fads and promises of weight loss, but it is important to remember what works for one person does not necessarily work for another,” said Power. “At the end of the day, the three or four days of juicing is not going to hurt anybody.”