Juice cleanses are all the rage right now, and it’s not hard to understand why. With buzzwords like “detox” “toxins” and “purify” surrounding the trend, it’s hard not to jump on the bandwagon. People who swear by juice cleanses claim to experience miraculous benefits – but can liquefied fruits and vegetables really rid your body of toxins? Unfortunately no, that’s what your liver, kidneys and colon are for. While there is no scientific evidence to support the benefits of a juice cleanse, there’s not much evidence that juice cleanses are the worst thing in the world either.
Consider the good and the not-so-good aspects of juice cleanses before deciding if they’re worth your time.
Proponents of juice cleanses say the couple pounds of weight lost during the cleanse helps jump start their motivation to eat healthier once the fast is over. Others say that they are more likely to consume a vegetable if it’s hidden in a juice. So if followed for a short period of time – 3 days or less, you are generally healthy, and juicing gets you to try beets for the first time, then go for it! But don’t expect any detox miracles.
Yes, you will notice a slight change on the scale, however it won’t last without changing your lifestyle too. This weight loss is usually just water weight, which will bounce back the moment you add carbs and sodium (real food) back into your diet. You can also expect frequent trips to the bathroom, and not because your body is “mobilizing toxins,” but because you’re following an all liquid diet – plain and simple. And since juice is terribly unsatisfying, be prepared for...
Juicing removes the fiber that helps you feel full, slows digestion, and moderates your blood sugar. And exclusively drinking juice means you’re getting tons of simple carbohydrates with little to no protein or fats. This doesn’t bode well for lowering your risk of diabetes or heart disease. With these important nutrients out of whack you may experience a roller coaster of emotional highs and lows. But the fun doesn’t stop there…juice cleanses also tend to be very low in calories, some totaling less than 1000 calories per day. Your nagging desire to eat a meal coupled with an extreme calorie deficit can lead to feelings of weakness and irritability.
Following a juice cleanse for an extended amount of time is not recommended because the additional weight you lose will likely be your precious muscle mass. Unless you can resist the impending food binge at the end of a juice cleanse, and instead make lasting improvements to your eating habits, then you will regain the weight. And, yes, body fat will appear where there was once muscle.
The best way to rid your body of toxins is to avoid them in the first place. A lifestyle of clean eating – limiting overly-processed foods and focusing on whole foods including lean proteins, healthy fats, and plenty of fruits and vegetables is a safe, reliable way to ensure that your kidneys, liver and colon continue to keep your insides pure and sparkling. Be wary of any diet program that promises miraculous results in a short period of time. And if you’re really looking for a miracle drink to flush away all of your “impurities,” I recommend water…and lots of it.