WONDERING IF A JUICE CLEANSE IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
As beach season approaches, the internet's abuzz with information on juice cleanses, their potential benefits and harms. One of our awesome dietitians, Jennifer, wrote about which health considerations to weigh before deciding to begin a juice cleanse. Her #truthtelling inspired some of us on the data side of Prenovate to take a closer look at the facts behind juice cleanses- the nutrition facts, that is.
So, we decided to narrow our focus and explore one specific product used in one of the more popular juice cleanse lines from celebrity brand Blueprint Cleanse. We used Prenovate's Food Grading Engine to take a deep dive into Blueprint's Spicy Lemonade's nutrient profile to see how this Juice Cleanse product matches the standard person's health goals. Let's assume our generic person is named Penny. She's 38 years old 5'5" and 137 pounds. Her daily calorie recommendation is 2000. She has high blood pressure, and she's watching her weight.
Your health characteristics and goals might be different from Penny's. Keep reading to see how Penny fares, and check how this juice matches YOUR personal health goals. Click the orange button below for a FREE personal nutrition report, care of Prenovate.
If Penny wades through nutrition labels and references dietary guidelines every time she decides to eat or drink, she'll never have time to enjoy the life she's working so hard to preserve! Instead, she turns to Prenovate's Food Grading Engine and enters her health characteristics and goals. Presto, learns that one bottle of the Spicy Lemonade cleanse earns her a C (39 points out of a daily limit of 100). This is not a great choice for Penny, unless she's planning to drink only 3 of these bottles per day.
Why didn't the juice score better?
According to the USDA and the American Heart Association, Penny can lower her blood pressure by following certain eating guidelines. In order to manage her high blood pressure and decrease her risk of heart attack and stroke, Penny needs to:
- limit her intake of sodium (salt) to less than 1500mg per day. She also needs to
- limit the free sugars she gets from juice, syrups and processed foods to less than 50 grams per day.
- limit her calories to 2000 because maintaining a healthy weight helps to reduce blood pressure
- eat more heart-healthy vitamins and minerals like the antioxidant vitamins A, C and E as well as fiber and potassium.
Prenovate's Food Grading Engine takes into account all those guidelines and more to assign Penny a Spicy Lemonade food grade.
You may be surprised that this Spicy Lemonade ranks poorly. It's the relatively high quantity of free sugars that pushes this healthy-seeming beverage into precarious territory. (Free sugars are a hairy topic we'll cover in a later post). Essentially, the sugar in this juice is more harmful than the sugar in an actual lemon because (1) this juice has 29 g of sugar and no fiber to blunt the blood-sugar-raising effects of the sugar (also known as glycemic load) and (2) the juice contains a sweetener called agave syrup. While agave is considered one of the better sweeteners according to its glycemic index, some are skeptical of its health claims because it is still considered a free sugar by the World Health Organization's definition and because its relatively high fructose: glucose ratio could predispose to heart disease. Let's put this into perspective, 1 bottle of this Spicy Lemonade juice cleanse contains more than 50% of Penny's daily sugar limit and about 75% of all the sugar in a can of coke! Meanwhile, the Spicy Lemonade isn't exactly batting out of the park with healthy nutrients. It is a good source of heart-healthy vitamin C (25% of Penny's daily recommendation), but it lacks vitamin A and other favorable vitamins and nutrients.
Juice cleansing in the short term probably won't hurt Penny (especially because she's not diabetic), but if she were to juice cleanse regularly, the frequent elevations in her blood sugar could increase her risk of heart disease and stroke in the long-term.The moral of this story is to look before you leap into popular diet fads. Always check nutrient profiles and match them to the eating guidelines informed by your health goals.