Trying to lose weight? Don’t be deceived by the term ‘juice fast'...

Considering a glass or bottle of cold-pressed juice can contain up to 1,000 kJ – a juice cleanse won’t necessarily cause rapid weight loss.

“People on juice diets might be having litres of juice in a day…it’s a little ridiculous,” says WH&F dietitian on speed-dial Melanie McGrice (

“We actually recommend that people who need to gain weight drink juice because it’s good for you, doesn’t fill you up, and has a high kilojoule content,” she says. Any weight lost during a juice cleanse or detox – think no solids and a few fancy avant-garde powders – is likely to largely comprise water and muscle, not fat.

“There are very few fruits or vegetables that contain enough iron to fulfil your daily needs,” McGrice warns. “It would also be hard to get enough vitamin B12, zinc or calcium, not to mention protein.”

Trade up to a smoothie

A sound way to reconcile the uber-dose of produce made practicable by juicing with macronutrients that favour fat loss is trading up from juices to smoothies.

Not only does the addition of a protein source such as yoghurt guard against catabolism (a.k.a. muscle loss and metabolic slowdown), blended smoothies often contain whole fruit with its full fibre quotient and can accommodate an extra fibre source – think cannellini beans.   

While comparative calorie counts render the swap counterintuitive (on paper, smoothies can contain up to twice the calories in juice), the discrepancy will pay off when the protein and fibre’s satiety merits make snacking redundant. Fibre also slows the release of sugar into the bloodstream, averting carb cravings native to pure fruit juice diets.

TOP TIP: If you are skolling liquefied produce, favour vegies, watch fruit volume and don’t expect miracles.

NEXT: Metabolism-boosting juice>>