Thursday, April 23, 2015

Should you have your colon cleaned? The skinny on cleanses...

Juice cleanses and liquid only “detox” diets are often seen as a fast way to lose weight and flush toxins from the body. Depending on the cleanse they typically last 1 day to 3 weeks, consist of fluids during the day, and typically have a laxative at night.

The belief is that cleansing will remove toxins from the GI tract, improve energy, and increase your immune system. Many books and celebrities talk about the benefits of cleansing, yet the medical community has very little research on it.

As of 2014, and to the best of our knowledge, no randomized controlled trials have ever been conducted to assess effectiveness of detox diets in humans. Lack of scientific research regarding efficacy is a red flag for any cleanse making health claims. Without published studies there is no way of knowing if and what types of benefits cleanses provide.

The safety of a detox diet depends on how long you stay on it. Most people don’t feel good on very low-calorie, nutrient deprived diets. Side effects are often low energy, low blood sugar, fatigue, muscle aches, lightheadedness, and nausea.

During a cleanse the body breaks down its glycogen stores resulting in loss of water weight. As soon as you start eating regularly the water weight comes back.

Cleansing for as short as a few days leads to muscle breakdown and nutrient deficiencies. Loss of muscle decreases metabolism, making weight loss harder once the person starts eating regularly again.

Concerns of laxative use are dehydration and flushing out electrolytes which can be dangerous for your heart and kidneys. This can lead to very serious complications.

Cleanses are meant for people who are healthy. Anyone on medication, diabetics, people with low blood sugar, people with a history of an eating disorder, older adults, pregnant women, teens, and growing children should avoid these diets.

If you are considering a cleanse to promote weight management or to “detox” your body we recommend fully researching the diet and speaking with your doctor first. Your body does a miraculous job at removing toxins naturally. Changing your lifestyle to avoid processed foods is the best way to minimize your exposure. We recommend a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean protein.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Juicing vs. Blending

Are you eating the minimum recommendation of 6-8 servings of fruit and vegetables daily? Few of us are, yet studies show people who eat the most fruit and vegetables have the lowest risk of cardiovascular disease.

Drinking your fruit and vegetables can be an efficient method for meeting the daily requirements, but which is better, juicing or blending?

Juicing concentrates nutrients helping to deliver more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants into your body. The idea of eating 2 carrots, 4 apples, and 3 cups of spinach in one sitting might sound implausible, but with juicing you can easily consume that in 12 ounces or less.

Juice has been involved in a number of studies, one published in the journal Clinical Nutrition found a 30% decrease of plaque in patients with heart disease after 1 year of drinking 1 ounce of pomegranate juice daily.

Unfortunately concentrating fruit and vegetables into juice also produces an abundance of sugar. Due to fiber being stripped away, along with phytonutrients, juice is digested quickly and can cause blood sugar spikes. Fast digestion can leave you feeling hungry 15 minutes later causing you to eat more than usual.

A study published in 2008 following 187,382 participants found those who ate whole fruit regularly had a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes. Those who consumed 1 or more servings of fruit juice daily increased their risk of type 2 diabetes as much as 21%.
In extreme cases, where people consumed large amounts of juice frequently, hyperkalemia developed. This medical condition associated with high levels of potassium in the blood can cause abnormal heart rhythm, nausea, weakness, paralysis, and even death. While rare, the   importance of keeping portion size in check cannot be overstated.
Little reputable research shows juicing is healthier than eating whole fruits and vegetables, however it does make it easier to consume them on a regular basis and in sufficient quantity.

Blending maintains fiber helping you to feel full longer. You can easily add protein sources to a smoothie which also aids in slower digestion and a lower rise in blood sugar. Green smoothies which contain spinach, kale and other vegetables mixed with fruit provide a great source of nutrients hidden by the taste of fruit.

Smoothies can easily become high calorie milkshakes with sweetened yogurt, juice, ice cream, and sorbet. Be particularly weary of bottled and store bought smoothies which are notorious for being high in sugar. A standard size smoothie is 22 ounces; too large for most people.

Portion control is important when juicing or blending, since calories and sugar can easily get out of hand. One serving of juice is 4 ounces. Smoothies should be around 8 ounces and contain vegetables, protein, and even healthy fat such as flaxseeds to slow digestion. Making your juice or smoothie at home helps to better control the ingredients and portion size. There are many health benefits to eating fruit and vegetables, but moderation in all things is key. 

Breakfast Smoothie Recipe
Serves 1
250 calories
· 1 single serve nonfat plain Greek yogurt
· 1 cup frozen strawberries
· 1/2 banana
· 1 tbs flaxmeal
· 1 cup raw spinach or baby kale

· Place all ingredients  into a blender and    puree until smooth.