If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is, and nowhere is this truer than of diets promising impossible sounding results. You body simply cannot drop 20 pounds overnight – it just doesn’t work. Ask any health or fitness expert and they will all tell you the same thing: crash diets are a bad idea.
However, juice diets for quick weight loss should not be thrown in the same basket as diet pills and other dodgy mail-order gadgets. There is a sizable body of evidence that drinking mid to large amounts of juice can result in impressive weight loss results, so before you spend money on pills or weight loss drinks, homemade options are available. Basically juice diets can work in a number of ways.
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- Weight loss through detox: Even a healthy person is going to encounter toxins on a day to day basis from things we breathe in or otherwise consume. Because it is often unable to get rid of these toxins on the fly, your body will store them until it can find a safe way to dispose of them. Storing toxins is tricky – and inside your fat cells just happens to be the body’s favorite temporary storage solution. The problem is, once the cell is full of toxins, your body will not want to break down the fat cell for energy (thus releasing poisons). The result can be fat deposits that seem impossible to shake off. This is where a juice detox diet comes in. Presented with a safe and effective way to rid itself of toxins, the body can safely break down fat cells that have been storing the chemicals. A juice detox routine is best done with freshly made juice that is rich in fiber. Green juices are a favorite choice (green smoothies are an alternative). Dosage can range from two glasses of fresh juice a day to a full juice fast (8 or more glasses of juice daily and no food). Some people report very rapid fat loss with little exercise and little lifestyle change as a result of a detox diet, but a more common weight loss result is simply one of increased fat loss after starting a juice diet.
- Weight loss from diuretic juices: A diuretic is a compound that causes the body to rid itself of excess water. I do not think this should be classed as a weight loss method, but many people lump it in with weight/fat loss. Juices like cranberry and celery can act as natural diuretics, and will cause your body to gently reduce the amount of water stored in tissues and within organs – mainly by stimulating urination. You CAN lose weight with a diuretic, but it won’t generally be more than a few pounds, and it will NOT affect body fat. Having said that, there is some evidence that taking diuretics contributes to detoxification, and as we have discussed above, this can in turn help cut fat. If you are already in good shape, a diuretic juice fast can also help you look your best by giving you a more “sculpted” look. Bodybuilders use this principle just before a show, but by taking mountains of proprietary supplements to draw water out of the skin and show off veins and muscles. But reducing water is not a realistic way to slim down for summer.
- Weight loss by reducing caloric intake: This is simple math’s – take in less energy than you burn up, and you will lose weight. Most green juice recipes for weight loss work because they simply don’t contain much energy. Coupled with their detoxifying properties they can be very effective. In some ways this is like a water fast, but much safer. Natural juices contain minerals, nutrients, and vitamins that will prevent your body from running low on electrolytes or dehydrating. Some people happily fast on juice for up to a week, but I feel a 1-2 day fast is safer. Having a solid food free day one a week is a good safe choice that will aid weight loss. . Recipes for smoothies to lose weight are similar in that you should avoid sweet (and therefore energy rich) foods, sticking mainly to greens.
What are the risks of a juice diet? Any juice diet has the advantage of being very SAFE. At worst you might end up with diarrhea. This is a pain, but compared to heart failure or violent mood swings and other symptoms which can be brought on by weight loss drugs it’s nothing. Before using any commercial drug I would suggest that weight loss drinks homemade are worth a try. Obviously you still need to exercise common sense – start the diet when you are in reasonable health, don’t go without proper food for extended periods (I personally don’t recommend more than 8 hours but plenty of people do 1-2 days) and if you start to feel really unwell, quit the diet.
Here is a good example of an easy ongoing juice-diet. Begin with a detox program, consisting of 2-4 glasses of juice daily for a week. Green juices are best, and good green juice recipes for weight loss include celery, leafy greens like kale and spinach, or lettuce. After 1 week, begin substituting green smoothies or juices for snacks and even meals once a day. I personally can happily have 2 glasses of green smoothie for breakfast, and feel full until about 11am. Good recipes for smoothies to lose weight should be fairly low in sugar, and good foods to add bulk and fiber are (again) celery, avocado, and leafy greens.