The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Juicing diet plans slim on nutrients

Some Iowa City residents are squeezing their fruit so they can squeeze into their summer clothes.

But Katherine Mellen, a University of Iowa lecturer in health and human physiology, said juicing has no documented health benefits.

“Juicing is pretty popular,” she said. “I always tell students you’re better off eating the pulp you throw away instead of drinking the juice you just made.”

Mellen said even though it may seem as if all the nutrients are being squeezed out of the fruit or vegetable, a lot is being left behind.

“Anytime that you juice a fruit or vegetable, you also remove some very beneficial components of it that are found in the fibrous parts of the plant,” Mellen said. “So when you remove those, you are left with just the juice. You have far fewer benefits than if you actually ate the whole fruit or vegetable.”

UI sophomore Lizzy Wagner tried a three-day juice cleanse in which she only consumed six juices a day, with flavors ranging from beets to spinach to lemon. Instead of juicing the fruit, she ordered juices from a company called BluePrint Cleanse.

A three-day cleanse with BluePrint Cleanse costs up to $195.

Wagner said she wanted to try the cleanse in order to detoxify her body and to feel healthier.

“During my juice diet, I felt really healthy because I knew everything I was putting into my body was very natural and good for me,” she said. “I lost a couple pounds but quickly gained them back after the cleanse was over. Overall, it made me feel energized, healthy, and refreshed.”

Local dietitian Cathy Gehris said some people who may not be accustomed to eating lots of fruits and vegetables add this process to their normal diet to bring in more nutrients. As far as a cleansing effect, she said, there are certain vegetables that have been shown to help detoxify the kidneys and liver, but it’s a matter of choosing the right ones.

Gehris echoed Mellen and said juicing doesn’t give an individual 100 percent of the benefits they could get by simply eating the fruit or vegetable.

“I’d rather encourage a person to do smoothies because then the whole fruit or vegetable is in there,” Gehris said. “It’s drinkable, yet it’s all there, and it’s a whole lot less expensive.”

According to a 2012 U.S. Specialized Industry Report from IBIS World, less than 3 percent of the juice and smoothie bars industry is established in Iowa. California is leading the country with more than 20 percent of the juice and smoothie bar industry.

The negative effects of a low calorie diet, such as this one, include feeling hungry, moody, and unable to concentrate, Mellen said.

Wagner seemed to show similar side effects when she tried the cleanse.

“One huge downside is obviously the hunger,” she said. “It’s really hard to only drink liquids for three days, and I had a headache two of the days from not eating,” Wagner said.

Both Gehris and Mellen said that adopting a “quick fix” diet plan isn’t the best way to get lasting results.

“Whenever it’s something that’s only for a short period of time, like two or three days, it’s not a way of eating or a lifestyle that can be sustained,” Gehris said. “The best thing to do is to have an eating lifestyle that is easy for you to sustain and be healthy for you at the same time.”

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