Nutrition FAQ: Should I do a juice cleanse ?

Nutrition FAQ: Should I do a juice cleanse ?

Hey everyone! I’m going to start addressing nutrition FAQs more often here on the blog space. I sometimes ask for your FAQs on Instagram and I promise I screenshot every response and will slowly work through them. Today I want to address juice cleanses. I get asked “should I do a juice cleanse?” pretty regularly and feel it’s worth touching upon. And also, for all you celery-curious people, please note I am working on an entire separate post devoted to celery juice coming soon.

And in case you didn’t know, as of next year I will be shifting my academic focus back to nutrition, and I’m excited! I have loved my environmental health science and public health degree and will always strive to integrate and apply them to my nutrition studies, but at the same time, I’m pumped to get back to the nitty gritty of nutrition science!

For now, please enjoy a brief overview of why I don’t recommend juice cleansing.

Disclaimer: As always, this is general information intended for healthy, non-pregnant or breastfeeding adults. Your needs may vary based on medical status or life-stage. Please never replace generalized health information you’ve read online with individualized clinical care.

1. There is very little scientific evidence to support the alleged health claims.

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Companies frequently take advantage of well-intending vulnerable people who are simply looking to improve their health by using sexy health words such as ‘detox,’ ‘cleanse,’ and ‘pure,’ and by promising things like weight-loss. Yet, there is very little science to support the claims they make.

In fact, some studies suggest they may be dangerous for those with kidney disease due to the high level of oxalates. Does this mean that drinking juice occasionally is terrible for most healthy people? No. It does not. But if you have kidney issues, juicing may do more harm than good.

The only study I have been able to find that supports the use of a juice cleanse was this study, which suggested it may change the microbiome…but this study used a small sample size and results were not sustained 3 weeks later upon resumption of normal diet. Also, I’m just going to point out the obvious here – of course when you take subjects who consume little fruits and vegetables and completely change their diet their microbiome will change! But this doesn’t mean juice is a magic bullet. I would have been curious to see how a diet of whole fruits and vegetables changed the microbiome of subjects as a comparison, but that wasn’t included. The only sustained change was a self-reported ‘wellness score,’ which the authors didn’t care to define.

…And that was the best study I could find! There is no evidence for any other tangible health benefits. I couldn’t find any studies that suggest they benefit they lead to any long-term health benefits. Weight-loss may occur, but usually isn’t sustained upon resumption of eating a normal diet.

2. Juicing doesn’t ‘detox’ your body. Your liver and your kidney do that for you.

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I don’t know how many times I say this, but just in case you haven’t heard me scream it out-loud enough times: you do not need any pills, teas, vitamins, supplements, or cleanses to ‘detox’ your body. Your livers and your kidney do a great job of removing toxins that are possible for you to remove. There is no evidence that any food or dietary supplement detoxifies your body in any way.

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Is it Really Bad to Eat Late at Night?

Is it Really Bad to Eat Late at Night?

Wednesdays are a doousy this semester, filled with running between two campuses (I TA at the Columbia main campus and am a student at the CUMC campus), and capped off beautifully with a 3-hour night class that lets out around 8:30pm. Brutal. I don’t often hate my hour commute, but let me tell you – on Wednesday nights I find it very unfun.

Typically, I snack before night class, but for whatever reason, never feel like eating a meal before/during class. Hence, I usually eat dinner once I’ve gotten home/unloaded/gotten Millie out for a walk, typically around 10:00pm. As I often document what I’m up to on Insta stories, I had a follower ask me if it’s really true that it’s bad for you to eat before bed.

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I get asked about if it’s really bad for you to eat before bed quite a bit, and see confusion surrounding the topic circulating the internet quite a bit, so I thought it could make for a fun and informative blog post.

Disclaimer: As with all my nutrition and health-related posts, I’d like to point out that while I have a background in nutrition science, I am not your healthcare provider nor personal nutritionist. I have no information on your health history or current state of physical and mental well-being. These posts are intended as general information for healthy adults. Please do not substitute what you read on the internet for seeking individualized clinical care.

First of all, Here’s The Right Time You Should Eat:

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You know when the best time to eat is? When you’re hungry, that’s when! We’re living creatures with circadian rhythms and every day presents different activity levels, stress levels, sleep levels, and environmental factors that may impact when hunger hits and when we eat.

If you ask me, clocks are pretty arbitrary when it comes to hunger. The idea that you should ‘close the kitchen’ or ‘stop eating after 7/8:00pm is totally arbitrary and it bothers me that so many people think this is a rule you should implement into your life.

So the best time to eat dinner (or any meal) is when you’re hungry for dinner (and of course, have access to food and time to eat it), whether this be 4:30pm or 10:30pm.

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5 popular health trends I don’t buy into

5 popular health trends I don’t buy into

1. Collagen-mushroom-potion-infused-bulletproof-caffeinated beverages

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Seems like it’s mega on-trend to whip up $12 lattes filled with grass-fed collagen, 8 different mushroom powders, and 17 other expensive supplement potion/powders these days.

It’s not that I have anything against those drinks; in fact I can appreciate the creativity behind them and recognize that they may be filling if they’re brimming with fats and protein powders. I simply don’t really buy into the grandiose health-promoting claims of these concoctions.

First, let’s talk about collagen. I’ve been digging through clinics research about it and am planning a whole post devoted just to collagen. But to keep it short and sweet in this post, let’s just say that from what I’ve read so far, I’ve concluded that if you’re into collagen and your diet lacks protein, it can be a source of protein for you.

But I’m not yet convinced that after orally digesting collagen and your stomach acid has broken it down, that it can actually maintain its structural integrity as collagen and end up in your skin and hair and nails as such.

There is some mixed clinical research on collagen and joint health, and a couple of studies on collagen and beauty (some of which have been funded by collagen supplement companies), but at this point in my PubMed dive, I feel the research is a bit shaky.

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