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

Healthy Living 17

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

diets, eating habits, eating healthy, weight loss


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Erinly Erinly

I did the master cleanse once. I lasted for 4 days and almost shit myself on more than one occasion during those 4 days. Now I just make a batch of green smoothies during the weekend and freeze them to drink throughout the day during the week. You get all the fiber and nutrients from the whole fruit and vegetable and it keeps you full.

Irela... Ireland69

maybe some someone can share what has work or what hasn't.  Thank you!

nonmember avatar Adahna

I have done several " juice fasts" and it's literally saved my life. Do some research before posting such uneducated non-sense.

nonmember avatar Poppet

I agree with you, however, I did a 5 day juice cleanse at the end of the summer with Organic Avenue and I loved it. It totally kick started my exercise routine after slacking all summer and made me mindful of healthy eating (bye bye BBQ). I lost 7 pounds in 5 days and gained back 3 of those Ibs after I started chewing. I think cleanses are a great way to recharge and feel great...and, no, I haven't become one of those weird juice people, but I'm definitely "Team Juice."

Paws84 Paws84

Erinly- did you eat anything when you did the Master Cleanse, and if not, how many times a day did you drink it? I was thinking of doing it sometime soon.

N_mar... N_maricle

I've done a cleanse, but not juice only. Whole fresh fruits a veggies and lots of them. Lots of water and healthy grains such as brown rice and quinoa. That's much better than a juice cleanse because you need lots of fiber to sweep the digestive tract. And I got wonderful results not only with weight loss, but having skin problems and digestive problems clear up too.

Julia Lee

I did my own juicing.  I had one meal a day and 4 green juices made with a brevel juicer and i lost 7 pounds in a week and kept it off.  I also felt amazing.  I would never pay a company to use their juices.  It is a rip off.

Jenn Reingle

I did a juice cleanse about a year ago, and I immediately became violently ill. I couldn't even keep down water. This ended up in a visit to the ER. The juice company told me that there was "nothing wrong with the juice" and that "my body was not prepared for a cleanse". Whatever - I was and am very healthy and eat clean. Be careful of how your body might react.

nonmember avatar alicesamanita

Juice cleanses help everyone cleanse their bodies of toxins-It is not just about weight loss! Check out Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead on Netflix and Hulu...

Anna Pz

im currently doing a juice diet but i am eating fruits and vegetables i just substitute a meal for juice and so far i lost 4 punds in 5 days im doing it to feel good because sometimes i feel grouchy for what i eat and i do reccomend juicing not just for weigh loss just to consume all those veggies we supposed to be eating :)

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