Juice Detox: Pros & Cons of the Cleanse

So, after some thought, you’ve decided to start a detox diet. That’s great! Your body could always use the cleanse and it can also bring you a variety of health benefits.

Thus, after hours of research on the internet you come across what’s known as the “Juice Cleanse”.

But what is this “Juice Cleanse”?

For those who have never heard of it, the “Juice Cleanse” is a pretty popular type of detox diet that involves replacing meals with nothing but vegetable and fruit juices for a short period of time (usually for 3 days but can go on for longer). This diet has been thoroughly promoted to energize you by helping you reach your daily recommended intake of fruits and vegetables, detox your body and help you lose weight. You can choose from a wide variety of fruit and vegetable options to mix and match into your juices to provide a plethora of flavours and combinations of vitamins and minerals.

However, is it really necessary for us to undergo a full juice cleanse in order to detoxify our bodies and lose weight? Does the hype of the “Cleanse” really live up to its predicted effects?

 

Pros

1. Increase consumption of nutrients - help achieve dietary intake of fruits & veggies

Juicing enables you to easily consume your daily recommended amount of fruits and vegetables without any hassle. Mixing and matching different organic produce for your juices will be able to provide you an abundance of different vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for your health. This claim can be supported through a 2011 study: where they found that individuals who drank 2 cups of carrot juice everyday for a span of 3 months were found to have significantly higher antioxidant activity in their bloodstream.

2. Rest and Repair the Gut

Taking a break from the usual discretionary foods that are high in saturated fat, refined carbs, additives and even allergenic foods and replacing your diet with a phytonutrient-rich, organic, plant-based diet can help repair the gut and reset the balance for your gut microbiome (flora and fauna balance) in your intestines. In addition, the nature of a liquid diet allows the nutrients to be assimilated quickly and with less effort.

3. Eliminate harmful foods & aids weight loss

An all-juice diet helps eliminate consumption of dairy, wheat, gluten, sugary drinks, alcohol and coffee which can be harmful to your body in excess. Naturally, this also means that an all-juice diet reduces your overall calorie intake and can lead to rapid weight loss. However, it’s important to note that after the juice cleanse you must alter your eating habits and exercise in order to sustain vital nutrients whilst retaining said weight loss.

 4. Reduce appetite

While juicing doesn’t shrink the stomach, it helps eliminate the habit of comfort eating, making you feel satiated with less food. This shift in habit can help curb your daily intake of calories and eventually shape your overall daily eating habits to avoid unnecessary snacking.

 

Cons

1. The process of juicing removes the fibre content in the final product but keeps all the sugars and carbohydrates.

Juicing fruits and vegetables removes the rinds and fibre and all that are left in the final product are just sugars and carbohydrates. Juicing multiple fruits and vegies may help improve your nutrient intake but it will also increase your total fructose intake as now you’re ingesting the sugar content from multiple fruits, without the all-important fibre.

Fibre is necessary to regulate blood sugar thus reducing its intake may result in blood sugar spikes and extreme changes in energy and mood levels due to the fluctuating sugar highs and lows.

2. Effects of long-term high fructose consumption

Fructose from fruit juice can be problematic due to its association with increased triglyceride formation in liver cells. Triglycerides are a type of fat that can be formed as a byproduct from the breakdown of fructose in the liver. Increased triglyceride levels from high amounts of fructose breakdown can eventually impair the liver’s function, leading to plaque buildup inside the artery walls when triglyceride is released into the bloodstream. Due to this reason, higher intakes of fructose are linked with obesity and heart disease, thus it’s important to take note that it’s better to drink fruit juice in moderation to limit these risks.

3. Decreased consumption of nutrients that aren’t available from fruits and veggies.

While macronutrients such as protein can still be obtained from several plant sources such as soy, almonds and spirulina, you need to remember that most of these proteins are considered incomplete thus you need to make sure to mix and match your sources to ensure you’re getting all your essential amino acids.

Essential fats, on the other hand, would pose a different problem. Prolonged use of the juice cleanse could decrease your consumption of essential fats which in turn could impair your body’s ability to process fat soluble vitamins such as Vitamin A, D and K.

4. Drinking only juices can lead to several side effects

Undergoing “Juice Cleanses” may result in side effects such as diarrhea, constipation, dizziness, nausea, headaches, brain fog, fatigue, poor moods and hunger pangs.

 

Bottom Line

Undergoing a Juice Cleanse does provide a surplus of health benefits but is it necessary? Well… in the long run, our humble opinion is this: not really.

Juicing can work well in moderation and is indeed a very convenient way to take in important nutrients and to help detox your body. However, undergoing a juice cleanse in excess will reap more adverse effects than benefits. Weight loss from the detox are also most likely due to water weight loss and a sudden drop in calorie intake, thus are most likely to be temporary.

It may be considered a healthier choice to maintain a good diet by consuming fruits and vegetables in their original form as part of a balanced diet whilst limiting consumption of discretionary foods (foods high in fat and sugars such as sugar sweetened drinks, junk food, cake, biscuits, chips, candy, etc.), coffee and alcohol; with the addition of proper regular exercise, of course. On hindsight, there are other types of detox diets as well without the need of specifically doing a “Juice Cleanse”: the ones that make use of a balanced intake of whole foods and leafy greens/vegetables. By undertaking these diets, you’ll be able to reap better benefits in the long run without an increased risk of any side effects.

 

 

 

(NOTE: But if you’re still willing to give the Juice Cleanse a try, make sure to check with your health care provider first as this diet isn’t suited for everyone – especially for pregnant women, people who are underweight, diabetic, have unstable heart conditions or any other life-threatening health issues.)

 

Sources

Health Fitness Revolution. (2018). Are Juice Cleanses Healthy? Here are 10 Benefits. Retrieved from: http://www.healthfitnessrevolution.com/top-10-benefits-juice-cleanses/

Hu, C. (2015). Juicing: Body Cleansing or Nutrient Depleting?. Retrieved from: https://exploreim.ucla.edu/wellness/juicing-body-cleansing-or-nutrient-depleting/

MaxLiving. (2018). A Guide to Juicing and Juice Cleanses: Pros & Cons. Retrieved from: https://maxliving.com/healthy-articles/juice-cleanses

Merrell, W. (2014). The Real Reasons Juice Cleanses Can Get Your Health Back on Track. Retrieved from: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/juice-cleanses_b_4549641

NIH. (2017). “Detox” and “Cleanses”. Retrieved from:  https://nccih.nih.gov/health/detoxes-cleanses

The Juice Truck. (2017). The Science Behind the Benefits of Doing a Juice Cleanse. Retrieved from: https://www.thejuicetruck.ca/blogs/news/the-science-behind-the-benefits-of-doing-a-juice-cleanse

Wong, C. (2019). The Truth About a 3-Day Juice Cleanse. Retrieved from: https://www.verywellfit.com/juice-cleanse-89120

 

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