A juice cleanse is a type of detox diet that involves consuming vegetable and fruit juice for a short period of time, such as one to three days. It is also sometimes called a juice fast.
There are many different varieties of juice fasts: some people prefer homemade juice made with fresh fruits and vegetables run through a juicer or pulverized in a blender, while others prefer store-bought juices.Some programs include one or more smoothies per day to provide protein, fat, and other nutrients for energy and to curb hunger, or even vegan meals and snacks.
Fruits and vegetables are filled with vitamins and minerals, and juicing extracts those nutrients making them easier to digest. Drinking juice is believed to flood the body with healing nourishment while also flushing toxins and waste.
In this article:
All You Need to Know about Juice Fasting
How Does it Work?
During a juice cleanse or fast, it is recommended to drink only juice or smoothies for the duration of the cleanse, which is typically one to three days. A typical cleanse has three important stages:
- Preparation: For three to five days before the cleanse, you will gradually eliminate certain foods, such as coffee, refined sugar, meat, dairy products, wheat, alcohol and nicotine to reduce headaches, cravings, and other withdrawal symptoms. It’s also recommended to increase your intake of fresh vegetables, fruits, and fluids during the preparation phase.
- Cleanse: For the one to three days of the actual cleanse, it is recommended to drink at least 1 litre of juices or smoothies with at least half being the juice of green vegetables.
- After the fast: Once the fast is over, it is recommended to eat lightly for a few days, gradually adding foods back in over the course of several days.
What are the Pros of Juice Fasting?
Those in favour of juicing say that it offers people many benefits, which include those below:
- Fruits and vegetables are high in vitamins and minerals. Drinking juices could introduce extra nutrients into the body to boost overall health.
- Juices are rich in anti-inflammatory compounds that may boost the immune system and help a person feel more energetic.
- The creators of many juicing plans market the ability of their juices to flush toxins from the body, although they rarely specify which toxins the juices remove.
- Juices could help improve digestion by introducing healthy enzymes that make the gut work more efficiently.
However, most of these potential benefits are unreliable, meaning that they do not have scientific proof to support them.
What are the Cons of Juice Fasting?
Doctors have identified several risks of juice cleanses, such as those:
- Drinking large quantities of juice may be harmful to those with kidney disorders. Certain types of juice contain oxalate, an acid that can cause kidney stones and other kidney issues.
- Cleansing diets are usually low in calories. A reduced calorie intake may result in temporary weight loss, but this change is rarely long-lasting.
- If a person consumes juices that are unpasteurized or have not had another treatment to remove bacteria, they are at greater risk of illness. This is especially true for very young and older people as well as those with weakened immune systems.
- If a juice cleanse includes laxatives or other methods of bowel stimulation, a person could lose too many nutrients in their stool. This can lead to dehydration and imbalanced electrolytes.
- Consuming an insufficient number of calories can cause a person to experience symptoms relating to low blood sugar because the body does not have enough energy. Examples of these symptoms include fainting, weakness, dehydration, headaches and hunger.
A person should also be wary of pre-packaged juice cleanses that promise significant results, such as reversing diseases or providing dramatic health benefits. There is usually a lack of research to support these claims. In addition to this, juicing or detoxification diets work for quick weight loss, however, they tend to lead to weight gain once a normal diet is resumed.
Drinking six of these juice combinations daily provided an intake of 1,310 calories per day:
- apple, cucumber, celery, romaine lettuce, lemon, spinach, kale and parsley
- apple, lemon, ginger and beet
- apple, pineapple, lemon and mint
- filtered water, cayenne, lemon, almonds, dates, sea salt and vanilla bean
Other popular cleanse combinations include:
Carrot Celery Cucumber
Pineapple Kale Mint
- half pineapple, cored and skinned
- 2 kale leaves
- 1 handful of mint
- half a pineapple
- 1 mango
Apple Beet Juice
- 1 beet (good for liver)
- 3 apples
- 4 carrots
- 1/2 beet
- 2 apples
- 1 cup of grapes
Word of Caution
Juice cleanses are a controversial topic within the medical community because they do not usually offer long-term solutions for weight loss or wellness. Most experts will recommend a balanced, healthful diet instead.
The evidence to support the possible benefits of juicing tends to be anecdotal. There appears to be more evidence to suggest that a juice cleanse can have a negative impact on the body, for example, by reducing kidney function. Before starting a juice cleanse, people should speak to their doctor to ensure that they do not need to amend their juicing plan in any way to protect their overall health