Juice cleanses: Why dietitians don't recommend them

Juice cleanses are a cornerstone of the faddy diet industry with celebrities from Gwyneth Paltrow to Salma Hayek regularly crediting the detox method for glowing skin and slimmed down figures.

But now they've come under fire not only for doing no good, but for hindering your body's ability to naturally detox.

An expert in the US has criticised many detox programmes, labelling them futile - yet why is the industry booming with juice cleanse plans selling for hundreds of dollars?

We spoke to Priya Tew, registered dietitian and Slimsticks nutritional expert, to find out if there's a better way to kick start a healthier you that turning your food to liquid.

"Juice in itself is OK if you just have a glass a day – but any more isn't a good idea," Priya explains.

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"To some extent juice is worse for you. It would be better to have the fruit or vegetables whole because they have lots of fibre that just gets broken down when they're put through a juicer. You’re still getting the vitamins and minerals but not in whole form, which is best.

"Sugars in juices get absorbed quickly and make it hard for your body to keep blood sugar levels stable."

Priya is also concerned with the mental effects these types of detoxes and cleanses have.

"Really we don’t want people to diet at all, we want them to eat a healthy balanced diet all the time as a natural part of their lifestyle. These fads aren't sustainable in any way.

"Instead of trying to 'kick start' weight loss with an extreme liquid plan, you're better off deciding what changes you want to make to your diet and health and then focus on sticking to them."

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A better detox

If you have been overdoing it, the idea of giving your body a spring clean is appealing, but put away the juicer, you can do more good without it.

"Detoxing should be water," says Priya firmly. "Drink plenty and lots of fruit and veg - eat them whole not juiced. And generally cut down on caffeine, processed foods, alcohol and high calorie things like chocolate bars, cakes, biscuits.

"The easiest way to do this is to go back to making as many of your meals yourself rather than buying ready meals. Include beans lentils, vegetables – and try to eat wholegrains.

"The body has natural detox system built in. It processes alcohol and cleans your system itself. But you can aid it - keeping properly hydrated and eating lots of fibre are the keys.

"Any and all vegetables are good. Superfood is a fad term - all fruits and vegetables are superfoods so load up on them."

If you love juices, regardless of their detox value, check out these healthy (and tasty) options: