The Juice Diet: Should You or Should You Not?

 , NDTV  |  Updated: February 17, 2015 13:06 IST

The Juice Diet: Should You or Should You Not?

Some might call it an influential wind from the west. To them, I'd like to introduce the juice corners that popularly sit in almost every Indian market that I have grown up with. If you've had a chance to glance at their menu you'd know that during winter months, most of them sell juiced up greens. I have found myself occasionally slipping into a juice detox during those nippy days. What started as an easy way to add nutrition to my palate has now become more of an 'ultimate-weight-loss-diet' or the 'get-glowing-from-within-diet'. While the concept itself may not be new, the trend is and it seems to be luring all, one glass at a time.

Here are a few things that you should know about juicing and the diet before you begin blending.

What is juicing and juice detox?

Juicing simply involves extracting the juices from vegetables and fruits. Health juices are having their moment with juice detox as the latest fad diet, also known as juice cleansing. During these fasts, the person may drink only juices and abstain from any solid food consumption. Some may opt for it as a cleansing therapy and others as as part of a weight loss regime.

How did it start?

The recent panic around packaged juices and all the noise about sugar & fructose being touted as villains swirled people towards freshly made concoctions. With celebrities lapping it up as a diet trend and the suave juice bars that mushroomed, it got all the attention that it needed. Also, anything that could fight off our weight woes is worth talking about, isn't it?

Any side effects of the juice diet?

While following the diet, one has to be very cautious about the intake of essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Our body thrives best on a balanced diet. After the juice diet ends, it could lead to unwanted muscle loss, lowered metabolism and an unhealthy re-gaining of fat. On a juice-only diet you may not get enough of protein and fiber which may lead to untimely, irresistible cravings. Also since most fruits and vegetables are low on sodium, be sure to sneak in your daily doses to prevent any deficiencies.

Should you juice up your health?

Ayurvedic perspective - We asked Dr Ashutosh Gautam, Clinical Operations and Coordination Manager, Baidyanath how effective a juice detox is. "From an Ayurvedic perspective, consuming only juices and neglecting solids increases the 'pitta' (governs fire/heat) and affects the 'vayu' (provides energy/power) in the body. Fruit and vegetable juices have less proteins but higher carbohydrates or glucose. It is not advisable to follow such a diet as it'll end up leaving your body fatigued and weakened.

For the purpose of detox, Ayurveda advocates consumption of boiled soup of 'moong dal ', rice water or soups with vegetables as in the case of the diet followed during Panchkarma. This being a more balanced approach towards detoxing. Also, if one wants to detox through diet, one should have a Parkruti assessment done which can guide you on the fruits or vegetables that should be included in the diet."

The other side of the coin - According to Wellness Consultant Dr Shikha Sharma, "Since our meals mostly consist of wheat, refined flour, oils, rice and such starchy foods, it's good to go on a juice diet once a fortnight to replenish our body's vitamins, minerals and enzymes that one can gain through juicing fresh fruits and vegetables. Use of foods like spinach, wheat grass, amla and aloe vera help in flushing out the toxins and make you glow from within.

Ideally, the juice diet should be followed for about 1 to 3 days. You should have about 4-5 glasses of juice along with 3 glasses of coconut water in a day. It should be done scientifically and not to be followed as crash diet. As far as weight loss is concerned, it is great to kick start a weight loss regime but should be followed up with healthy eating and exercise."

Do's and Dont's

  • Choose different of colors of fruits and veggies to get a good mix of vitamins and minerals
  • The pulp has the maximum fiber so don't miss out on it. It is the fiber that keeps you full for a longer time.
  • It's best to drink the juice fresh on the same day.
  • Make your juices more balanced by adding protein in the form of almond milk, yogurt, flaxseeds etc.
  • Pair fruits and veggies taking in account the calories they contain.

Are juice bars the new coffee shops?

With juicing being the latest obsession, it's only natural to hear 'have-you-been-to-that-new -juice bar-yet?' and not surprising to see chic juice cafes spring up overnight. These temples of all of nature's freshness and goodness will have you at the very first sip. Some of them even deliver freshly squeezed juice at your breakfast table. But there's a lot of uncertainty. Would you give up on your morning tea/coffee for a glass of juice? Can juice cafes replace the caffeine kick and rise as the new banter houses or are they just a fleeting fad? All I can say is that since the juice culture is here to stay for now, I'd like to sit back and wash down my curiosity sip by sip.

Lookout for -

HAS juice bar - Mahim, Mumbai

Juice Lounge - Hyderabad, Ahemdabad, Mumbai, Pune etc

Joost Juice Bar - Saket, New Delhi

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Jiffy Juice - Gurgaon (Haryana), Greater Kailash -1 (New Delhi)

RAW Pressery - Mumbai, Maharashtra

CommentsTake home message? If you have been excessively feasting & binging, a day or two of juice detox can give you the much-needed break. Juices are a convenient way to add the nutritional punch to your diet, you can put a lot more vegetables and fruits in a juice than you can sit and eat at a time. But they shouldn't be completely substituted for whole fruits and veggies. They are great to fuel an occasional boost.

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