Who hasn’t picked up a magazine lately and not noticed a celebrity touting some amazing cleanse that helped them lose 20 lbs and keep that Hollywood glow? Pricey juices are all over grocery stores and even pricier juicers (up to $700!) are advertised all around us. But how many of us know what a juice cleanse actually is? Additionally, what toxins are we trying to remove from our bodies? Is there really any science behind the whole craze?
First, let’s define what a juice cleanse actually is. According to Health Magazine, a juice cleanse is a diet that should last for no more than 3 days and that has been undertaken with a doctor’s approval. During this time, the person who is cleansing, drinks only juice made from fresh, organic, raw fruits and vegetables. The juice can be purchased or homemade.
Second, what exactly are these toxins that juice cleanses are supposed to rid us of? Toxins do really exist. Medical experts typically define them as something that enters the body and that can have a damaging effect on a person’s system. Lead, pesticides, and antifreeze are some examples of toxins. Toxins can also be defined as too much of certain substances like alcohol or acetaminophen which is the active ingredient in Tylenol.
Our body has organs that are designed to eliminate toxins from our bodies. These organs, which include the liver and kidneys, draw substances out of the bloodstream and then process them so that the body can ultimately eliminate them. For the vast majority of people, their body does just fine on its own without a fancy juice. So far, there is no good scientific evidence proving that a juice cleanse is needed in order to remove toxins.
However, many people swear by juice cleanses and many nutritionists do agree that drinking vitamin rich juices can help you feel lighter and ready to improve your overall eating habits. Again, it is important to limit a cleanse to no more than three days. Longer than that can lead to low energy, headaches, and/or constipation (which will make anyone irritable!).
Also, a juice cleanse should not be used for weight loss. Any weight loss is going to be water and muscle. A juice cleanse is not a long term fix. It can however, help you change your eating habits. Many things in our diet like sugar, refined carbohydrates, and overly processed foods do cause cravings and thus make it difficult to give them up for a more healthy diet. A juice cleanse can help eliminate those cravings and enable to us to get started on the path to healthier eating.
Also, a juice cleanse can be helpful in assisting people who have food intolerances or allergies feel better. These intolerances can sometimes affect a person’s digestive systems and cause bloating and general discomfort. The important thing is that whatever juice you choose is full of fiber. Otherwise, you will probably just experience the same symptoms!
For many people, adding juicing into their diet is probably a better option than a juice cleanse. Most people will benefit from the extra vitamins and fiber as well as the healthy attributes of many fruits and vegetables. As far as “detoxing”, juice doesn’t really perform that function. A better option is to help your body’s own detox system (the liver, kidneys, etc.) by making sure that you are drinking plenty of water every day. And if you want to lose weight and keep it off, long term changes like exercise and a healthy diet work much better than a juice cleanse that promises miracles!