We want to be healthy. We want to be in shape. But face it, we also want a double cheeseburger and an extra large pepperoni pizza.
Truth be told, being healthy is hard work, this is why we are always in search of a shortcut to achieve our health goals.
Such shortcuts often appear in the form of “detox” — a way to help cleanse your body of toxins with minimal effort.
Are detox diets the best way towards achieving a healthier you? Are there better alternatives? Let’s find out.
Juice and Water Detox
According to Linda Page, ND, Ph.D., a naturopathic doctor, lecturer, and author of the book Detoxification, “anybody can benefit from a cleansing” and “cleansing is a way towards a more active and healthier life”.
Page’s detox method revolves around the concept of a juice detox. As its name suggests, you will be drinking juice — a lot of juice and minimal whole foods.
Such juice diets are supposed to “flush out toxins from your system — similar to the idea of clearing out the pipe and tubes,” says Page.
Here is an example of a juice diet by Page:
- Breakfast: Vitamin C and choice of fruit juice
- Dinner: Miso soup with snippets of Japanese nori, or brown rice with some chopped vegetables
Between breakfast and dinner, you would also be drinking something (e.g. water or juice) every 90 minutes to reduce your hunger pangs.
Page argues that the combined effects of consuming large amounts of water would allow the fruits to enter your system easier. Furthermore, the sugar content from the fruits is more effective for cleansing your system.
In addition, consuming high-fiber foods such as brown rice and vegetables would help you feel fuller, and speed up the toxin-flushing process.
Overall, according to Page, you can expect to feel your body getting lighter and this can be attributed to the removal of toxins and fats in your body due to the juice detox.
Another popular form of detox is water fasting — a diet method involving the restriction of food except for water.
Fasting is not a foreign concept. Religious and spiritual individuals often engage in fasting rituals as part of practicing their religion. Patients who are preparing for a medical procedure may also fast the night before their procedure.
However, in recent years, many have begun to water fast for its purported health benefits (e.g. lowering the risk of cancers, diabetes, and heart disease) (1, 2).
Juice and Water Detox: Experts’ Opinions
When assessing the effectiveness of Page’s juice diet, James Dilliard MD, assistant clinical professor at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City, states that in theory, fasting can remove the petrochemicals and toxins that are found in the human body.
According to Dillard, this may be possible because when fat is activated and moved around, anything that is fat-soluble should do likewise too — should, that is.
However, these speculations are merely theoretical.
Chris Strychacs, Ph.D., a psychologist at the Naval Health Centre in San Diego, California, is no stranger to water fasting. Having done it for over 25 years, he engages in water fasting as an annual weeklong ritual every spring.
According to Strychacz, his first fast was 17 days long, and it was an “extraordinary and mystical experience” as it offered him “clarity of thought and peacefulness”.
Even Strychacz, despite engaging in frequent water fast, acknowledges that there is insufficient scientific evidence behind water fast and juice detox.
Moreover, in the book Triumph Over Disease, Jack Goldstein, DPM, recounts his experience in overcoming ulcerative colitis using water fasting and a vegetarian diet. What makes this experience unique is that Goldstein took samples from his tongue scrapings, perspiration, urine, feces and had them tested in the lab.
It was found that during a fast, the contents of the samples differed from an unfasted state.
More importantly, toxins like DDT are not removed from the body — debunking the myth that juice and water diets can help flush out all toxins from the system.
While fasting may have psychological or spiritual effects which may have positive effects on one’s health, it should be separated from being labeled as a scientifically proven way to good health.
Overall, juice and water detox diets should not be treated as a weight-loss solution. They are simply short-term diets which are unsustainable in the long run — you’re simply losing water weight which you will eventually gain back once you stop the diet.
Instead of looking for a shortcut towards a healthier you, why not consider eating a clean healthy diet? After all, it is a tried and tested method that has been around for ages.
Need more convincing that a clean healthy diet is the sustainable long-term option for a healthier you? Continue reading to find out more!
Clean dieting, as its name suggests, refers to the consumption of minimally processed, healthy real foods — such as lean protein, fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates.
The philosophy behind clean dieting is proper nutrition. Here are some of the principles recommended by Tosca Reno, author of The Eat-Clean Diet series:
- Consume six small meals daily
- Ensure that every meal comprises lean protein and complex carbohydrates
- Hit your daily fiber and vitamins intake from fresh fruits and vegetables
- Get two to three servings of healthy fats every day
- Engage in portion control
- Drink 2 to 3 liters of water daily
Here are some things to avoid:
- Processed foods
- Sugary drinks
- Foods with chemical additives and preservatives
- Saturated fats and trans fats
- Empty calorie foods — foods that are high in calories but have zero nutritional value
Clean Eating: Why It Works
- High fruit and vegetable intake
Clean dieting involves eating lots of fruits and vegetables.
Fruits and vegetables are packed with an array of vitamins, minerals, and fiber that help combat inflammation and prevent cell damage3.
Additionally, research has found that the consumption of fruits and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of cancer and heart diseases (4, 5).
Here are some fuss-free methods to add more fruits and vegetables into your diet:
- Throw in some berries, sliced apples, and oranges to your dishes.
- Keep your washed and chopped vegetables in a container in the refrigerator so that you can easily access them and make a salad by tossing them with olive oil, herbs, and fruits.
- Low in processed foods
Processed foods are the bane of clean dieting.
Apart from being heavily modified from their natural form, they are also extremely low in natural fiber and nutritional contents.
What’s more, they have gained large amounts of sugar, sodium, and other chemicals (e.g. preservatives).
Studies have shown that processed foods increase the risk of heart disease and inflammation in the body (6).
As such, by avoiding processed foods through clean dieting, we reduce the risks of consuming foods that may be harmful to our bodies, improving our health in the long run.
- Low sugar consumption
Clean dieting advocates against the consumption of added sugar— which is commonly found in foods that aren’t particularly sweet, like sauces and condiments.
Research has found that sugar may play a key role in increasing the risks of a large number of health issues such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, and cancer5.
Even while eating clean, it is still acceptable to have small amounts of natural sugar (e.g. honey, maple syrup) in moderation — so long as you’re not diabetic or suffering from other health issues that may be worsened by consuming sugars.
Similar to the issue of processed foods, the sugars that are added into our foods are often heavily processed and may impose unnecessary health risks. Hence, by avoiding added sugars through clean dieting, we are heading in the right direction towards being a healthier version of ourselves.
- Choosing complex carbohydrates over refined carbohydrates
Clean dieting encourages individuals to eat complex carbohydrates such as whole grains.
Whole grains are extremely nutrient dense and high in fiber content, which has been found to improve gut health and reduce inflammation (6).
On the other hand, refined carbohydrates offer little nutritional value and are often easily overeaten.
Studies have shown that eating refined carbohydrates reduces insulin resistance and increase inflammation and obesity rates9.
Carbohydrates often have a bad reputation for causing weight gain and should be avoided when dieting. However, not all carbohydrates are bad.
Choosing complex carbohydrates can ensure you are getting the benefits of whole grains, as well as, making you feel satiated — hence increasing the odds of you sticking to your diet.
To sum up, clean dieting involves choosing whole foods to form a diet that is well-balanced in terms of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and calories.
This diet is usually comprised of fruits, vegetables, complex carbohydrates, lean protein, healthy fats, and are low in processed sugars, refined carbohydrates, and trans and saturated fats. Hence, despite the lower calorie consumption, you would not be shortchanging yourself of vitamins and minerals.
The low-calorie consumption would leave your body in a calorie deficit, ensuring that you will shed excess fat over time. As such, you can be confident that the weight loss is not due to merely a loss in water weight but a loss in fat mass.
Overall, unlike extreme forms of dieting such as a water fast or juice detox, clean dieting offers a sustainable long-term option — that is backed by scientific research — to help you best achieve your health goals.
Clean Dieting: How to Make It Work
Now that we’ve established the benefits of clean dieting, all that’s left to do is to stick to it — which is arguably the most difficult part.
In today’s society, we are usually swamped by looming deadlines and workloads that never seem to lighten.
After a long day at work, the idea of having to go home and spend another hour making dinner filled with vegetables definitely does not sound appealing either.
The food industry has made it so easy for us to purchase delicious takeouts at a decent price. However, these foods are often lacking vegetables. Just think about your order from your favorite takeout place, unless you’re vegan or vegetarian, I’m sure that there are very little greens on your plate.
Keep in mind that apart from choosing lean meats and complex carbohydrates, one key aspect to clean dieting is to consume large amounts of fruits and vegetables.
Because of our hectic work lives and the takeout culture, it is hard for us to stick to clean dieting due to the low intake of fruits and vegetables — that is where super greens come into the picture.
Super Greens: A Supplement For Clean Dieting
Super greens are dietary supplements that are made from a wide array of vegetables, leafy greens, fruits — our super greens is made from 15 organic fruits and vegetables to be exact!
Super greens drinks are made from drying and blending nutrient-rich vegetables and fruits into powder form, ensuring that all the vitamins and minerals are preserved — delivering the essential micronutrients that you need.
Apart from being made from quality ingredients, super greens also offer convenience. Simply add a scoop of super greens powder to a glass of water and you have yourself micronutrients from all the best fruits and vegetables ready for consumption!
Additionally, super greens offer you the benefits of consuming your daily greens intake at a fraction of the cost — prices of greens powders can range from 22 cents to over 2 dollars per serving.
Apart from the benefits listed, super greens also have a multitude of possible health benefits. Check out our article on Why You Should Think About Consuming Super Greens Powder to find out more.
That said, super greens should be seen as a supplement and not a complete replacement of all fruits and vegetables in your diet. You should consume whole foods as best as you can and use Super Greens to help you fill in the gaps in your diet!