Some juice diets are more extreme than others. On one end of the scale, some diets simply encourage you to add juices to your normal diet to boost your vitamin and mineral intake. On the other end of the scale, some people consume nothing but juice for days or even weeks on end.
Juice diets hit the headlines back in 2011 when Joe Cross' documentary Fat Sick & Nearly Dead showed how he went from being 100lbs overweight to healthy - all by juicing. He explained that a juice diet only help you lose excess weight, but be enormously beneficial for your health.
'It [juicing] supercharges your nutrient intake by providing your body with pure micronutrients, vitamins and enzymes - with none of the bad stuff that constitutes processed food. By putting the most nutritious fuel into your system possible, you can kick start your metabolism and give your body a break from all of the strange chemicals you've been challenging it to process until now.'
The Australian lost a staggering six stone by juicing, but could the a juice diet be right for you? We explore the facts below.
Psst...Do not start an extreme juice diet without consulting your doctor first.
How do juice diets work?Cooking fruit and veg destroys some of its natural goodness but by drinking fresh juice you get maximum goodness from the food. Investing in a juicer and making your own juices is even better than buying pre-packaged fruit and veg juices as even these have been treated and preservatives added to make them last longer.
Although fruit and veg juices contain natural sugars, they tend to be extremely low in fat so will help you lose weight. There is even some evidence that fresh juice can help fight cancer and other diseases.
Who are juice diets good for?People who want to lose weight quickly find that juicing, although possibly extreme, can have dramatic effects on their weight loss. It's also good for people looking to get a lot of nutrients into their system in one go, or people who want to detoxify their systems or wean themselves off drinking too much caffeine or alcohol.
What are the drawbacks?Detoxing can cause headaches and you may well be hungry on a juice diet if you don't eat other healthy foods as well. If you follow an extreme juice diet, you will probably put back on any weight you've lost pretty quickly. It's also important to remember that what you put into your juicer will have a massive impact on your diet - and that too much fruit can do more harm than good thanks to the high sugar levels! Drinking too much of the sweet stuff increases your blood sugar levels quickly, meaning your body releases insulin so fast an energy dip occurs, and you're left reaching for another sweet snack!
How do you follow a juice diet?The best way to start is by buying your own juicer. A cheap blender can be used for softer fruits such as bananas and strawberries but for harder fruits and vegetables, you may need to spend a bit more. You don't have to spend a fortune although there are juicers on the market for up to £500! You can buy a variety of juicers from amazon or argos.
Depending on which juice diet you follow, you either add fruit and veg juices to your normal diet or have juice instead of one or more meals a day. You should aim to drink a variety of fruit and vegetable juices as they all contain different vitamins and minerals. So instead of sticking with just orange or apple, try beetroot, carrot and tomato juice. If you find vegetable juices too sour, add some apple juice to help sweeten them.
Alternatively, if you don't have the time or money to make your own juices, you can buy them from supermarkets or health food shops. Look for freshly-squeezed juices with no added salt or sugar. Decent brands of vegetable juice include V8 and Biotta.
Find out more:
Good books to try include 7lb in 7 Days Super Juice Diet by Jason Vale, £5.99, and Super Duper Juice: Juicing for Health and Healing by Michael van Straten, £6.58, both available from amazon.co.uk.