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Juice Cleanse? Think Before You Drink: Q&A Part 1, Fad Diets Series

I’ve known people who have gone on juice-only diets for months and lost tons of weight, as well as people who have lasted only a day. I’ve been tempted to try one myself. After all, who doesn’t like juice? Who doesn’t want to be clean?

Juice cleanses have high sugar.In this first installment of our Fad Diets Q&A Series, UVA nutritionists Carole Havrila and Katherine Basbaum give their take on juice cleanses and other plans that remove entire food groups from your diet.

Q.  Juice cleanses: They’re very popular right now. Do they really work?

Havrila: Any plan that eliminates entire food groups (except for vegan diets) and has people eating only select foods for a length of time is very hard to follow. A juice cleanse is hard for many to do as it is a fast of sorts. People need to be prepared for hunger and possible GI side effects of an all-juice diet. Anyone with diabetes or significant health issues runs the risk of dangerous side effects from a juice diet.

Basbaum: “Cleanses” that last 2-3 days may help someone jumpstart a weight-loss effort, but unless you plan to transition immediately from the cleanse to a healthy eating and exercise plan, as soon as you return to solid food, the weight will return.  And as far as the “cleansing” abilities of these diets, it is unnecessary; your body naturally detoxifies itself every single day.

Also, since so many of my heart patients also struggle with type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes, I would hesitate to recommend a diet that included so much liquid sugar.

Q. The Mediterranean diet hit the news this year, and I constantly run into people who rave about the Blood Type Diet. Thoughts on those two?

Havrila: Studies have shown that people eating vegan diets or a Mediterranean diet have less incidence of some diseases. These two diets often are followed by people who have healthier lifestyle practices in general.

The Blood Type diet, however, is one of those diets that does not have the science behind it, yet has people avoiding certain foods entirely, so they may be risking missing out on some important nutrients. (What is the Blood Type Diet? There’s new research about it out today.)

What do you think? Have you tried these diets? Did they work?

Tell us in the comment section below.

And come back tomorrow for Weight-Loss Wonder Ingredients: Fad Diets Q&A Part 2

Tags: fad diets

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