juiceHave you ever been on a cleanse? Chances are that if you are over the age of 30, you have been. Trendy cleanses are the hottest rage. I guess it’s better than those high colonics that were all the rage in weight loss just a few short years ago.

Many people go on juice cleanses, hoping to detoxify their bodies and shed a few pounds. But the problem is an unbalanced diet is not a healthy way to detoxify or lose weight. It’s a good way to malnourish yourself. Yet, trendy cleanses have grown to a $5 billion industry thanks to celebrities that swear they got their perfect bodies that way. When it doesn't work, we just assume we did something wrong.

If you ask most people who have been on a cleanse, they will tell you that the cleanse made them feel great. They feel great because they know they are restricting their caloric intake. Common sense tells you that if you don’t eat, you lose weight. Come on, those of us who have suffered from eating disorders know this elation all too well. It’s a false sense of accomplishment. It’s proactivity in the worst way. It’s punishing your body to achieve some mythical body type that is ultimately unattainable. It is plain and simply dangerous.

Most people believe they can feel toxins leaving their body. They believe they feel this because this is what the celebrity endorsements in the commercial have told them will happen. What is really happening is that they are starving themselves and getting lightheaded.

Experts say that there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that cleanses remove toxins from your body. In fact, they warn people that cleanses are too restrictive and deplete your nutritional resources. Instead of making your body better and stronger, which is what people are hoping to achieve, cleanses make your body weaker and susceptible to illness and injury.

A three-day cleanse may help psychologically prepare a person to start a diet, but physically it's doing nothing but starving you. In case you didn’t already know this, starvation causes your body to go into desperation mode and hold on to fats.

I won’t lie, I fell for it. I tried a 10-day cleanse twice and both times I felt no bursts of energy. What I did feel was tired and hungry. My sister recently did a 10-day cleanse, which she followed up with a complete lifestyle change, and she lost 10 pounds in 10 days. Then, by changing her eating habits and upping her workout regime, she has now lost a total of 30 pounds in the course of three months. She looks great and feels amazing. Only I believe that her weight loss has a lot more to do with her lifestyle change and not much to do with the cleanse at all, but it did jumpstart her psychological diet and that made the rest easier.

I find it interesting that it's taken this long to debunk the cleanse myth by proving that it has no effect or benefit on your weight loss progress. It's basically starving yourself or enduring disgusting drinks for no reason. In fact, it may be harmful to your health. So why is it a $5 billion a year industry? Because we are all so desperate, we would swallow shards of glass if someone told us that it would help us lose 10 pounds. We don’t want to put in the time and effort to change our lifestyle, so we prefer to intensely punish ourselves for days. Then we ultimately go back to supersizing our foods, drinking alcohol, and living a sedentary way of life.

Would you do a cleanse if someone told you that you could lose 10 pounds in 10 days?


Image via Stuftelsen Elektroikkbransjen/Flickr