Having simultaneous healthy diet and weight loss is more difficult than it should be because there is so much confusion about what a “healthy diet” is.
As far as weight control fads go, the fruit juice detox diet is one of the most misunderstood systems for weight loss. Fruits have useful micronutrients, but they come at a huge cost in undesirable macronutrient composition. When weight loss is temporary, proponents change the name to the detox liver cleanse and add a bit of vegetables to the mix.
We know excess dietary glucose is bad for you, but is fructose any better than glucose? Would you be better off if you choose a fruit juice cleanse that is higher in fructose than glucose?
Let’s be clear:
Fructose is very bad for you and will put you on an accelerated path to aging.
Fructose is viewed as a relatively benign sugar by many nutritionists who only look at the glycemic load. Fructose is a favored diet fad because it has no direct effect on insulin secretion. This is why so many are deceived into thinking fruit juices are healthy.
Your fruit juice detox liver cleanse is wreaking havoc on your liver
Nutritionists marketing detox diet plans on fruit juices is not far different from a detox plan based on an alcohol cleanse as far as the liver goes.
You read that right. Fructose is metabolized in the same way as alcohol. And guess what: like alcohol, fructose also leads to dyslipidemia, hypertension, pancreatitis, hypertriglyceridemia, hepatic dysfunction and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis.
How alcohol is metabolized
Alcohol is metabolized in the liver to produce citrate, which reacts with glucose in the liver to make fatty acids. The liver excretes these fatty acids in very low density lipoproteins (VLDL). With excess alcohol consumption, fat remains in the liver, which leads to the infamous fatty liver disease.
How fructose is metabolized
Similar to alcohol, fructose cannot be metabolized by the muscle like glucose. It is shipped off to the liver for conversion into fatty acids, which are also exported by the liver in the VLDL cargo vessels. The more fructose in the diet, the higher the load will be on the liver, with chronic exposure to high fructose leading to fatty liver disease.
Your fruit juice cleansing diet is leaving all kinds of junk in your arteries
VLDLs are the cholesterol-carrying lipoproteins you should be worried about. VLDLs carry triglycerides and oxidized cholesterol – otherwise known as oxysterols. VLDLs have extremely dense, and it is the type of cholesterol-carrying lipoprotein that gets stuck in artery walls and eventually leads to cardiovascular disease.
Triglycerides from sugar are produced through two channels:
- Fructose is synthesized into these fatty acids in the liver
- Glucose is converted into fatty acids when glycogen stores are full
Both increase triglycerides in the blood.
Fructose and Aging
Fructose is also highly reactive in the bloodstream. It is 10 times more likely to arbitrarily attach itself to proteins that lead to the cellular junk known as advanced glycation end-products (AGEs). These AGEs are very difficult to rid of, and they accelerate the aging of tissue.
Your low glycemic index fruit juices are increasing your insulin resistance
Fructose blocks the liver from its normal function of synthesizing glycogen from the excess glucose in the blood. This creates a situation where glucose levels are elevated for longer in the presence of fructose. Until the liver is finished clearing up the fructose, elevated glucose levels signal the pancreas to secrete more insulin in reaction to the glucose toxicity.
Fructose and Diabetes
The chronically elevated insulin levels eventually make the muscle cells adapted to the higher insulin dose, which makes them more insulin resistant over time. Fructose-induced insulin resistance can lead to chronically high blood glucose levels, which further exacerbates the insulin resistance. Taken to the extreme, this will lead to type 2 diabetes.
Your fruit juice cleanse diet is elevating your blood pressure
Insulin signals the kidneys to re-absorb water and sodium instead of excreting it through urine. In an environment with chronically elevated insulin, the increased water retention will lead to hypertension.
Temporary weight loss can happen in between feedings if the gaps are long enough to lower insulin enough to signal the kidneys to excrete sodium and water. Therefore, the decreased water retention is temporary, especially if insulin resistance carries through after the fruit juice cleanse diet plan is finished.
Your fruit juice antioxidants are offset by more oxidants
Metabolizing glucose produces reactive oxygen species as byproducts. As these negatively charged oxygen atoms react with tissue around the body, they form advanced glycation end-products. These highly-reactive oxygen atoms are called oxidants because they oxidize other molecules in the same way that iron is oxidized into rust. The amount of antioxidants in a fruit juice detox diet may not offset the load of sugar that is also absorbed.
The more glucose metabolized, the more advanced glycation end-products there will be throughout the body. This is referred to as oxidative stress. The end result are the hallmarks of aging with stiff tissue everywhere: heart, lungs, lenses, joints and elsewhere where proteins deteriorate from abnormal oxidation.
Your fruit juice cleanse diet is increasing your risk of gout
Fructose converts to uric acid, and uric acid is the first step in developing gout. The link is further strengthened by the role of fructose in the development of insulin resistance and visceral fat, both of which are linked with a higher risk of developing gout.
Your fruit juice diet is making you tired
Equating the fruit juice detox program with intermittent fasting misses the point of fasting, and takes the benefits of fasting away. Fasting promotes longevity by reducing oxidative stress. Fruit juicing diets do not promote longevity because they most often increase oxidative stress.
How your energy metabolism works when you are fasting
Fasting works by lowering glucose levels to a point where glycogen stores are also depleted. Depending on the level of activity, the depletion of glycogen induces the liver to produce ketone bodies from stored fats.
Ketones are needed because fatty acids are not permeable to the brain cells. Brain function works well on ketones, and those who fast report an increased level of energy after adaptation to burning fat.
With fruit juices, on the other hand, you will have erratic energy levels. On feeding, you will get the glucose rush and feel a short-term boost. Then an insulin dump takes the glucose levels below where you started before feeding, and you will feel yourself extremely drained of energy.
Your liver needs time to get adapted to a low glucose environment. So people undergoing this diet will rarely enter ketosis where the body turns to fat as its primary fuel source.
Sucrose (or table sugar) and high fructose corn syrup contain both glucose and fructose, both sweeteners carrying approximately half of each. The widespread usage of sucrose and high fructose corn syrup is a tragedy that needs to be addressed. Both work to increase insulin resistance, blood pressure, levels of VLDL and triglycerides in the blood – all of which are hallmarks for metabolic syndrome.
It is far better to eat a fruit with its fiber to slow down the absorption of fructose and glucose.
Ren J, Grundy SM, Liu J, Wang W, Wang M, Sun J, et al. Long-term coronary heart disease risk associated with very-low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in Chinese: The results of a 15-year Chinese multi-provincial cohort study (CMCS).
Schaefer, Ernst J., Joi A. Gleason, and Michael L. Dansinger. “Dietary Fructose and Glucose Differentially Affect Lipid and Glucose Homeostasis.” The Journal of Nutrition 139.6 (2009): 1257S–1262S. PMC. Web. 20 Nov. 2017.