A simple Google search for "juice cleanse" yielded about 2.6 million results. As a typical Google user, I only looked at the first page of results and found a few articles that list the best juice cleanses. One company showed up on most of these lists, so I dug into their website. They offer four types of cleanses, which are just different combinations of the bottles of juice they sell. You get six bottles of juice for $65 and can select the number of days you want to cleanse, so ten days would cost $650.
Using my favorite Microsoft application, Excel, I compiled the nutrition facts for the four types of cleanses. At first, after adding up the total daily calories and macronutrient profiles, I was in disbelief. Then I rechecked my data entry points and disbelief turn into disgust. Here are the nutrition facts for their beginner level cleanse.
...I know enough to look at these facts and see this is a terrible idea.
This data represents the highest calorie per day cleanse. The other three options go down in calories from here. The expectation for a person doing a cleanse is to drink these six bottles and eat nothing else all day, for one to 10 days. Looking at the macronutrients for this option, you can see 93.4% of the calories come from carbohydrates and only 4.1% from protein. That amount of protein is well below the RDA, and the RDA is sub-optimal. There is zero fat. There is zero fiber. I am no Ph.D. in nutrition, but I know enough to look at these facts and see this is a terrible idea.
I assume most people will try a cleanse because they want to lose weight. Well, I guarantee you will lose weight while on this cleanse. You won't lose any body fat, but you will weigh less. The weight loss will come from completely emptying out your digestive tract. Eating zero fiber for a few days and just drinking juice will require a commitment to being within sprinting distance of a toilet for the duration of the cleanse, as everything gets flushed out, pun intended.
You won't lose fat during the cleanse, and you will gain more body fat after it's done. During this cleanse, you are putting yourself in a severely calorie-restricted state. Consuming only 860 calories per day would be considered extremely low for most people, and this is the highest calorie option. Your body will respond by going into starvation mode. We have evolved over millions of years to survive periods of famine, and our bodies know exactly what to do to fight starvation. First, our basal metabolic rate slows down. The longer you stay in a calorie-restricted state, the slower your metabolism gets. That means your body burns fewer calories while at rest. Next, your fat storage hormones ramp up. Your body likes to store fat as a protective measure for situations just like this, and during a calorie-restricted state, the fat storage signaling hormones increase.
Your body will respond by going into starvation mode.
Let's say you do the cleanse, lose a few pounds on the scale while keeping the same amount of fat mass, and then go back to your normal diet. I say normal diet, but it's probably an everyday overeating diet because that's how you ended up getting fat and wanting to do a cleanse in first place. So what? Well, now you have a lower basal metabolic rate and higher fat storage hormone profile. Your metabolism and hormones take a long time to recover — maybe a few months if the cleanse is long enough. This is proven science; PubMed has enough studies on this, so I don't even need to link them here. You might feel happy because you accomplished something that was hard (starving yourself) but be prepared to get fatter. You have created the perfect storm for increasing body fat mass.
...be prepared to get fatter.
Oh yeah, the toxins. You don't care about losing weight; you just want to rid your body of horrible toxins you have been exposed to due to our modern-day toxic lifestyles. Great idea. Let's get rid of those toxins. Quick, to the juice! Hold on a minute, which toxins? Go ahead and be specific. Don't you know which toxins? OK, forget about trying to name the toxins. How does the juice remove them? Which physiological process does the juice up-regulate to improve toxin removal? I couldn't find any of that information on the juice maker's website. Your body already has processes dedicated to removing unwanted substances, and they function with or without juice. If these processes fail, you will die quickly. A juice cleanse cannot replace or enhance a normally functioning liver and kidneys.
So, a juice cleanse doesn't help you lose fat; it actually helps you gain more. Juice cleanses cannot remove toxins, and they don't need to. You just spent $65 per day to essentially starve yourself for no reason and potentially get even fatter. Buying an expensive juicing machine and juicing fruits and vegetables at home is no better. You should actually be eating the whole fruit or vegetable because you need the fiber to offset the sugar intake. Fiber is essential for maintaining a healthy gut. I don't understand why so many people want to remove the fiber and throw it in the trash.
Try thinking about what you are eating...
What should you do instead of a juice cleanse? Try thinking about what you are eating instead of mindlessly consuming an endless supply of calories. If you don't know how many calories you consume per day, start right there. That's the ground level for mindful eating. It's so easy to track your food, thanks to our modern lifestyle. Once you know how many calories you eat in a day, then you can see how that level of intake impacts your weight. Now you have something to work with. It's called data, and it's way more powerful than juice. Take some time to figure out how many calories you need to just maintain your current weight, then subtract from that to start slowly losing fat. Do that for a long time and I promise you won't be fat anymore, or ever again.
Thanks for reading. Please like, share and comment!