One of the world’s latest nutrition trends is juice detox dieting. According to Mayo Clinic, detox dieting is defined as a way to excrete toxins from the body, which typically involves a period of:
fasting, followed by a strict diet regimen of fruit and vegetable juices and water.
Many Americans are attracted to juice detoxing because of its proposed benefits of weight loss, increased immunity, and detoxification of wastes.
However, currently there is no nutritional evidence that supports any of these proposed claims.
Myth #1: Detoxing will cleanse the body of impurities, chemicals, and wastes.
False. Never underestimate the body: Everyday the body naturally cleanses itself of toxins via the liver and the kidneys. Urine and feces are perfect examples of how the body detoxifies itself on a regular basis. Detoxing, therefore, is unnecessary, since the body is equipped with its own detoxing capabilities.
Myth #2: It is a quick and easy way to start a healthy lifestyle.
False. Sure, drinking juice and water is better than eating junk foods like cake and potato chips. However, too much of one thing can be detrimental to the body. Strictly drinking juice and water for days deprives the body of essential nutrients such as protein, calcium, iron, fiber...etc that the body needs to function on a daily basis. Therefore, this is NOT a great start to a healthy lifestyle.
A better way to kickstart a healthy lifestyle is to consume a balanced diet that incorporates each of the food groups (Fruits, vegetables, protein, grains, dairy).
Myth #3: You will speed up your metabolism.
False. After about 18-48 hours of nutrient deprivation, the body will enter a "fasting state." In this state, the metabolism will slow down its efforts to retain any nutrients the body currently has in store to prevent further nutrient losses. Additionally, since the body's protein stores are not being replenished through the juices, muscles will begin to degrade throughout this process. Muscles promote lean body mass and increased metabolic functions. Therefore, breaking them down will additionally slow down the metabolism.
Myth #4: You will get rid of only harmful bacteria through your GI tract by cleansing.
False. The GI tract is lined with a lot of bacteria, both good and bad. The good bacteria, known as probiotics, help maintain a good balance between the good and the bad bacteria in the intestines. Additionally, they help fight infections and promote immunity. When people detox, they often cause self-induced diarrhea from the high amount of liquids being consumed. As a result of the diarrhea, essential nutrients are malabsorbed by the intestines, both the bad and good bacteria are wiped out of the body, and immunity becomes compromised.
Overall, detox dieting is ultimately a waste of your time, money, and energy- (literally).
Rule of Thumb: Usually any nutrition recommendation that deprives you of one or more essential food groups is most likely a hoax.
*Note: This information is meant for the general, healthy public, and does not apply to those with specific kidney or liver diseases. If you have one of these diseases, consult your physician or personal Registered Dietitian for more personalized dietary recommendations.
Do Organic Foods Have a Greater Nutritional Value?
With so many conflicting opinions about organic vs. nonorganic foods, many people have asked me recently if choosing organic foods over non-organic foods is healthier in terms of nutrition.
My answer is No.
I have researched this question myself and gathered information from the USDA, the FDA, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (see sources below). All sources state that organic foods do not contain a greater nutritional value than non-organic foods. Both foods contain the same amount of calories, protein, vitamins and minerals...etc. Organic does not describe the nutritional content of a food; rather, it describes how the food was handled.
Why Choose Organic Then?
People will choose organic foods for a variety of reasons. The major reason is because they do not want to have pesticides, fertilizers, or preservatives sprayed onto their foods. Similarly, another reason is to avoid genetically-modified foods (GMOs), which are foods that have had their DNA manually engineered by companies to produce variations of preexisting foods that would not occur in a natural growing process. Lastly, another reason is that people would like to the environment, as well as supporting local farmers that produce organic foods.
Why To Not Choose Organic?
Having Trouble Affording Organic Foods?
Each year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) produces a special list of foods called "The Dirty Dozen." Of all of the foods to be bought organic, the foods on this list are the most important. The list is shown below. These foods were picked because they have a thin and permeable skin around the fruit or vegetable itself. Therefore, if these foods were sprayed with harmful chemicals, these could be transferred directly to the part of the fruit that we would consume. As you will notice, foods with tougher skin layers, such as bananas or pineapples, are not on this list because the chemicals will most likely not penetrate into the edible fruit itself. Therefore, if you would like to purchase organic foods while saving some money, start with choosing the organic foods on this list first.
Remember, the decision is ultimately up to you and your beliefs, morals, and passions regarding the environment and food safety. For more information about organic foods, please fill free to visit the following references, or contact me with any questions!
Here's a few tips for staying healthy this St. Patrick's Day:
Be safe, don't drink and drive, and enjoy your holiday!
Portions vs. Servings
Today’s weekly nutrition tip is to Eat Correct Portion Sizes.
What is a portion size?
A portion size is a nonstandard, subjective amount of food. Portion sizes can literally be any amount of food that a person puts on his or her plate for one sitting. It can be more or less than one serving.
What is a serving size?
A serving size is a calculated, standard, evidenced-based recommendation of the amount of food that should be placed on a person’s plate in one sitting.
Portions are always correct when they are based on serving sizes.
Meat: 3 ounces (~Size of a Deck of Cards)
Fish: 3 ounces (~Size of a Checkbook)
Cheese: 1 ½ ounces (~Size of 3 stacked dice)
Fresh Fruit: 1 cup (~Size of a Baseball)
Cooked Vegetables: ½ cup (~Size of a Light Bulb)
Peanut Butter: 2 tablespoons (~ Size of a Ping pong ball)
Butter/Margarine: 1 tablespoon (~Size of a Poker Chip)
Pasta: ½ cup (~Size of a Light Bulb)
When in doubt, check the Nutrition Facts Label for correct serving sizes!
Today’s weekly nutrition tip is to Eat Breakfast Daily.
Breakfast is important because it is a meal that literally “breaks the fast” after a night’s sleep. Because the body goes without food for ~7-8 hours, the body fully runs out of energy that it needs to operate functionally for the next day. Without giving your body this energy at breakfast, it cannot possibly perform at its best physically, mentally, or intellectually.
Eating breakfast also helps keep the body satiated throughout the morning, and which helps prevent the likelihood over-eating at the next meals.
Samples of Great Breakfast Ideas
Oatmeal: Made with skim milk, chopped bananas, walnuts, and cinnamon
Smoothie: Frozen strawberries or blueberries, skim milk, and low-fat yogurt
Breakfast Burrito: Made with scrambled eggs, black beans, chopped tomatoes, onions, avocado, and a small amount of shredded cheese
I am a Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator, and a self-proclaimed foodie currently living in Washington D.C. I genuinely want to help people enjoy healthy eating. I hope that through my blog you will learn a bit more about nutrition, share with me in my love-hate relationship for exercise, eat well, and feel good :)