The Skinny on Juice Cleanses

by in Diets & Weight Loss, October 12, 2012

green juice
It seems like every day a different celebrity is touting the benefits of the juice cleanse du jour. This ever-popular diet fad just won’t seem to go away. Are juice cleanses a smart choice?

What is a Juice Cleanse?
There are dozens of brands out there but the basic concept is the same: skipping solid foods while drinking large volumes of fruit and/or vegetable juices for days or even weeks.

These beverage-based programs promise to promote everything from weight loss to detox to whole body rejuvenation.

Once only found at gyms and juice bars, you can now purchase bottled cleanses online and at high-end grocery stores (for an pretty penny!).

Are they safe? Do they work?
The answer could be yes and no to both these questions. While there’s no harm in eating or even drinking fruits and veggies, foregoing all other foods for juices isn’t a healthy way to eat. You’ll also be missing out from a nutrient standpoint – there’s no way your body can get everything it needs for days through a straw. Some cleanses only last 2 to 3 days; if you must do one,  I say  — the shorter, the better! But expect to feel dizzy, hungry and downright grouchy! Your body and metabolism rely on a steady influx of nutrients and calories, cutting yourself short and the whole system gets thrown off kilter.

As for weight loss, of course you’ll lose weight! Most cleanse programs allow less than 1,000 calories per day. The question then becomes, can you keep that weight off? Sorry folks, in most cases the answer is no. A calorie intake this low is also dangerous for your energy levels, mood and metabolism.

Since many cleanses require slashing your intake of carbs, you might experience some rapid initial weight loss due to a drop in water weight (water is needed to break down carbs). Problem is, once you start eating normally again, the water weight will return and possibly in larger volumes than before.

As for detoxing, don’t believe the hype – your liver does a beautiful job of clearing toxins from your body.

There’s also the issue of depriving your digestive system of solid foods or an extended period of time. Once the cleanse is over, you better ease back into solid foods or you’ll be in the bathroom for another week.

Bottom Line: There’s nothing wrong with sipping on a juice concoction as part of a healthy diet, but cleansing for days on end will cause more harm than good.

Tell Us: Have you tried a juice cleanse?

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Comments (207)

  1. Additionally, a juice fast denies the body of protein – and this nutrient is required for the liver to manufacture all of its wonderful detoxifying enzymes! So, a juice fast could impair the body's natural detox system.

    • horsie says:

      Do your homework, there's plenty of protien in various fruits and veggies.

      • Heather says:

        There is definitely protein in fruits and veggies, but without complementary foods from grain sources, you will not get all of the essential amino acids needed in the body.

        • Juicing is indeed a great way to achieve a healthy lifestyle since it has plenty of benefits to one's health. I started juicing two years ago and I'm glad I tried it since I had experienced a lot of improvement to my health.

      • Chantel BS, RD, LD says:

        Sorry, no there is not large amounts of protein in fruits and not in most vegetables. Not to mention fruits and vegetables that do provide small amounts of proteins do not provide complete amino acids. Only animal products provide what your body needs in complete amino acids. You must know how to mix multiple fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes in your diet to make up for no animal products. Do your homework horsie.

  2. [...] View the original article here Tags: Cleanses, Juice, Skinny No Comments. « Hello world! Click here to cancel reply. [...]

  3. I am glad you brought the issue of liver doing a great job of cleansing our toxins. I think its such a hype and people are wasting money on these cleanse diet. Also, it is not possible for a person to stay on this diet for very long for all the reasons mentioned above. Additionally, we all need to understand that weight gain did not happen over night and the pounds wont melt overnight- it is all about smaller, realistic lifestyle changes that can produce small, long lasting weight loss/maintenance through diet and exercise rather than sipping liquids.

  4. actorsdiet says:

    my brother just did a whole guest post on the blueprint cleanse – it was very…er…vivid and honest:
    http://theactorsdiet.com/2012/10/13/blueprint-cle

  5. Great post about juice cleanse. It is becoming very popular now a days and many people are getting benefit from this. It is the best way for detoxifying your body and give a rest to your stomach.

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