To answer the second question - you should never skip meals. You can skip snacks if you are trying to lose weight, but really eating several (5-6) small meals (250-350 Cal/each) is your best bet. Have you heard the saying, "your body goes into starvation mode"? To some extent this is true. When you do not eat for several hours (more than about 5) your body instinctively slows its metabolism (the thing responsible for burning calories) to try to hold on for the famine it believes is occurring. Go to long or do this too often and it can really screw up your health and ability to maintain a healthy weight.
What about juice cleanses and detox programs? As a rule - bad idea. Most juice/detox programs on the market (not all, but ~95%) do not contain enough fiber or protein to be good for you. The fruit and veggie juices are basically broken down sugar (simple - carbohydrates) that rapidly raises your blood sugar and quickly crashes (like eating candy). This can hurt your body's ability to regulate blood-glucose and insulin production, as well as brain and body function. What can work if you are determined to use a juice or protein shake is to only change it out for one meal a day, and eat healthy protein-rich and produce/whole-grain filled meals for the other two. Diabetics should be wary of trying juicing at all.
In conclusion, eat balanced meals of lean proteins, whole grains, fruits and veggies in their whole states for best health and weight loss results.
Libby is a Registered Dietitian focusing on student eating disorder treatment and prevention. She is working on the central coast to create wellness in individuals and the community.
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