Dieting fads may come and go but there’s one (fairly) new healthy eating approach that doesn’t show any signs of slowing down; the juice diet. On the web, you’ll find sites that pitch it as the best thing since sliced avocado, while others decry it as a dangerous craze that will fade, once everybody realises how much damage it’s doing.

Understandably, many health-conscious people are left wondering what to believe. If you’re one of those people, and especially if you’re planning a juice diet as part of your post-Christmas detox, read on to get the latest on juice, juicers and juicing…

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So, what is Juice cleanse?

You’ll probably have read newspaper articles or seen celebrities or ‘health experts’ talking about juice diets or ‘juice cleansing’. At its most basic, this involves following a restricted diet of only fresh vegetable juices, fruit juices and water, for a set period of time.

The concept of the ‘juice cleanse’ has been popularised by everyone, from food and health bloggers and celebrities, to food manufacturers, consumer magazines and lifestyle TV shows. Perhaps the most vocal champion has been former Channel 4 Fit Farm presenter, Jason Vale, who often has a range of juicing aides to promote.

Juice cleanses focus on fresh, unpasteurised juices. So, you can’t simply go to your local supermarket and stock up on orange juice. You have to look for specialist products (often with a wallet-worrying price tag) or make your own juice, with a juicing blender.

Here at Tower, we’d suggest you make your own. Obviously, we’ve a great range of Tower juicing blenders to sell, but we really do believe that making your own is much more cost-effective, and means you can tailor recipes exactly to your tastes and dietary needs.

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Is Juicing as healthy as they claim?

Juicing doesn’t automatically make you healthier. But it makes it much easier to get your daily recommended vitamins and nutrients. Think about it – not many people have the time or inclination to prepare a meal made up entirely of fresh vegetables and healthy foods. Healthy as it may be, vegetables accompanied by more vegetables isn’t perhaps the most appetising of meals. However, if you can quickly blend all these ingredients into a handy, tasty drink, then you’re onto a winner.

The latest government guidelines recommend adults consume at least five portions of fruit or vegetables per day. One ‘portion’ is 80g of fruit or vegetables – that’s about two satsumas or one cereal bowl full of mixed salad. Fruit juice-based drinks can count towards your daily intake, but count as a maximum of one portion a day, regardless of whether you have more than one glass. This is because juice contains less fibre than whole fruits and vegetables. Blending fruit into juice also releases sugars from the fruit, which can cause damage to teeth. Even unsweetened fruit juice is sugary, so it’s advisable to drink no more than one glass (approx 150ml) of fruit juice, each day.

Smoothie-style drinks made using a juicer and containing all the edible pulped fruit and/or vegetables may count as more than one portion, but this all depends on the ingredients and the way it’s made . We advise following NHS Choices’ guidance as to what you can include towards your daily intake. However, there’s some debate as to whether juice should be counted as one of the five a day. Some campaigners argue its inclusion in recommended healthy things to eat confuses parents, as some juices contain more sugar than cola.

Finally, we must point out that drinking several portions of home-made juice per day could make you more at risk from the dangerous pathogens that can live on raw food. Off-the-shelf juice goes through a pasteurisation process that kills them, so you should clean all your ingredients thoroughly before blending fruit and vegetables to make your own juice drinks.

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Will Juicing really help me detox after Christmas?

Well, yes and no. Juice cleanse websites will tell you a juice-based fast will make you feel more energised, strengthen your bones, reduce the risk of illness and disease, and pretty much act as a magic cure for all possible ailments. Fruit and vegetables are essential  parts of a balanced diet, and the nutrients and vitamins they provide help your body heal itself.  However, overdoing it, and substituting juice for other staple elements of a healthy diet can be dangerous.

Antioxidants in raw fruit and vegetables certainly have restorative qualities. Vitamins A, C and E, found foods such as carrots, kale, apricots, broccoli, citrus fruits, peanuts and avocados, help with everything, from breaking down soluble fats, right through to fighting disease. If you suffer from winter colds, vitamin C will boost your immune system. Recent research even indicates that Vitamin E can reduce the number of brain cells killed by binge drinking.

As with most things, if something sounds too good to be true, then it generally is. Supplementing a balanced, healthy diet with juicing is a great way to add fresh, nutritious foodstuffs to your intake, and the increased fibre will certainly help with your digestion. But as a quick-fix for a month of overeating and inactivity, it could do more harm than good, especially if you don’t supplement your juice cleanse with essential proteins.

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