The Truth About 'Juice Cleanses' Will Make You NEVER Want to Do One

juice cleanse green juices

There’s one phrase I dread hearing out of one of my clients’ mouth. When I hear it, I try very hardest not to let my dismay show on my face (which is next to impossible for me -- you can generally read my thoughts just by looking at me). I especially dread hearing this if there’s no advance warning, and I’m being told just as we’re about to begin a carefully planned, structured workout. It usually means the workout will have to be abandoned altogether, or I’ll have to dial the intensity way back, which I dislike doing unless there is a good reason.

The following phrase is not a good reason:

"I just started a cleanse."

Oh yeah? You just started drinking only juices for a few days so that you can cleanse your digestive system, which is actually finely honed to do that all by itself? And in doing so you’re taking in far less calories than usual? Then working out right now is kind of a bust.


I’m not anti-juices. I love a good green juice, mainly because it’s a quick way to get veggies in when you’re on the go, and they’re delicious. I drink them fairly often, but I also eat food -- you know, the kind you chew.

More from The Stir: Trendy Juice Cleanse Diets Are More Dangerous Than You Think

So what’s the premise (or should that be "promise"?) behind cleansing? When we eat and drink, anything that is considered a toxin to the body, like chemicals, preservatives, or coloring, can build up in the body. Our bodies, specifically the colon, liver, and kidneys, remove these toxins in our waste. The theory behind cleanses is that we take in so many more toxins now in our processed-food-heavy society that our bodies are just not equipped anymore to expel these toxins as waste. Is this true? Maybe -- evolution is a long, involved process, and it’s possible our bodies aren’t yet equipped to deal with delightful ingredients like azodicarbonamide. You know what would work just as well as an expensive cleanse, though? Eating whole, unprocessed foods, organic whenever possible, and just skipping the chemical crap you want to cleanse from your body in the first place.

As for weight loss on a cleanse, YES, you will lose weight! Most juice cleanses on the market are significantly lower in calories than your average moderate, healthy day’s worth of eating. Calorie restriction equals weight loss, at least in a short-term scenario like a cleanse. You will also lose water weight. When you eat food, your body uses water to help transport the nutrients through your system. Take away the actual food, and your body will adapt to not storing that water necessary for normal, healthy function of your digestive system. What do you think will happen when you go back to eating food?

Bottom line? Like any fad diet, subsisting on just juice for a period of time is falling for a marketing ploy to sell you overpriced concoctions by promising health or weight loss (or both). 

Have you done a juice cleanse? Would you do it again?


Image via stevendepolo/Flickr

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