Summer is finally here, with the sunshine comes an influx of juice cleansing and detoxing. A juice cleanse - also known as a juice fast - is the promise of shedding pounds quickly, and debloating to get ready for that “bikini bod.”
But do juice cleanses actually work, and are they good for you? Or can they cause more harm than good? In this article, we’ll be discussing what juice cleanses really do and if they truly are an effective and efficient way to detox. We’ll also be exploring other nutritious methods that can support your body’s natural detox process, so keep reading!
What Is Juice Cleansing
The idea of a juice cleanse is simple: You only drink fresh juices made from fruits and vegetables for a certain period of time (usually 3 days to a week).
By doing so, you shed a few pounds quickly, while also detoxing your liver which aids in digestion and gut health. Juices are also an easy way to gulp down essential nutrients quickly as its filled with all sorts of vitamins and antioxidants.
Are Juice Cleanses Good For You?
Juices can be extremely effective at helping your body detox as well as lose weight; there’s no doubt about that. But the question remains: Are juice cleanses healthy and sustainable? The best way to answer that is to look at what the science has to say about the matter.
The Benefits of a Juice Cleanse
There are definitely benefits to juice diets that go far beyond weight loss. Think about it, you are forcing your body to drink fruits and vegetables for days, which are abundant sources of nutrients that your body needs. In that sense, juice cleanses can be very beneficial.
According to wellness dietician Amanda Beaver, and I - along with my colleagues in the nutrition industry - agree, fruit and vegetable juices can boost levels of essential vitamins and antioxidants in your body. These include Vitamin C, Vitamin E, etc...
So technically, for people who cannot seem to eat enough fruits and vegetables, juices can be very beneficial. However, the real problem is that living on juice alone is not sustainable in the long run. After all, we all know that too much of a good thing can be bad.
The Health Risks of a Juice Cleanse
The real problem with a juice cleanse is that first, it’s not sustainable, and second, if done too much (or for too long) can result in nutrient deficiencies (the opposite of what we’re trying to achieve!)
- Fruits and vegetables do not contain protein, healthy fats, and certain vitamins such as B12 that is needed to make up a balanced diet.
- When you juice fruits and vegetables, the fiber that is found in the pulp and the skin is stripped out.
- The calorie intake on a juice diet is too low; it can cause severe health issues such as fatigue, headaches, and dizziness.
- Prolonged juice fasts can lead to muscle and bone loss.
Juice cleanses may cause you to shed a few pounds but this is actually not sustainable. Remember those calories I mentioned? Consuming too few calories causes your body to go into starvation mode. So it is highly likely that once your juice cleanse is done, your body will just start to store any food you consume. This will result in gaining back the weight you lost.
Juice Cleanses Have Their Pros and Cons
As a dietician and a nutritionist, I would personally never recommend a juice cleanse. It’s neither a healthy way to lose weight, nor is it sustainable. If you’re cleansing for a day for the sake of detoxing and your doctor feels it’s safe for you to do so, I say go for it. But if you’re doing it to try and lose weight, trust me, there are better ways that don't involve starving yourself or living on juice alone.
There Are Better Alternatives
That being said, when it comes to detoxing and eliminating toxins, there are still better ways than juice cleanses.
For example, I use 2x4 Body Detox weekly to help cleanse my body of any poisons and toxins; Body Detox is also great for digestion and bloating, especially if I overindulge over the weekend!
So my advice, avoid juice cleanses if you can. There are detox supplements out there, as well as nutritious diets, that can help you achieve better results in healthier and more sustainable ways.