A juice cleanse is a kind of diet that only involves drinking juices from fruits and vegetables in an attempt to detox and lose weight. The real question is: just exactly how nutritious are these cleanses? Some people are wondering if this cleanses truly lives up to the hype – the answer is both yes and no. Let’s take a deeper dive into why that is, and weigh the pros and cons of a juice cleanse.
The good things about juicing
1. Helps with portion control
Juicing can help you accomplish portion control and eating less. When you go back to eating food after being on a juice cleanse, you can reset your portion control and stop overeating, which is easy to do.
2. Weight loss motivation
Juicing can also provide motivation when it comes to weight loss. It reduces the starch your body absorbs, causing you to shed water weight. Seeing that number get lower on the scale can help provide that boost of encouragement.
3. Get your nutrients in
Technically, the ingredients in a juice are healthy when you’re blending your own fruits and veggies. Blueberries, for instance, are high in vitamin C and K, while mangos are high in B6 and Vitamin A. If you drink these juices, you can stock up on nutrients that your body is naturally depleting in.
4. Green juices really are superfoods
While too much fruit can mean too much sugar, a veggie-filled juice is much more nutrient-dense and not as overloaded with sugary fruit juices, which can cause blood sugar spikes.
5. It’s a post-holiday restart
If you’re been eating poorly or snacking on lots of deep-fried, processed, or heavy foods, you can go on a juice cleanse to detox your system. But rather than thinking you need to starve the pounds off, see it as a way to give your body what it’s nutritionally craving – for no more than a couple of days.
The not so good things about juicing
1. Don’t deny yourself the pleasures of life
They’re based on deprivation, which isn’t sustainable. While drinking your calories is a viable way to survive, it’s not satisfying, and can make some people even feel ill. Depriving yourself of whole foods can also increase stress, which can raise cortisol and cause weight gain, or make you overeat when the cleanse is over.
2. Too much sugar
By juicing a fruit or veggie, you’re squeezing out all the fibrous pulp and goodness that makes those ingredients so nutritious when eaten whole. Separating fructose from fiber, aka the meat of the fruit, causes your body to digest sugar too quickly, which just ends up making you hungrier, and even possibly increasing the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
3. High calorie
If you’re drinking liquid all day, you must be eating fewer calories than you would with a full plate of food, right? Wrong. The calories of juice skyrocket easily. Just think of the amount of food that it turns into an easy-to-chug juice – it can easily climb to 500 calories.
4. Reduced fiber
By getting rid of all the meat of the fruit or veggie, you’re drastically reducing your fiber intake. Fiber helps keep your digestive system regular, keeps you full and has multiple weight loss benefits! Juicing can mean you exceed that daily calorie quota, while not getting enough fiber, which is dangerous.
The bottom line
Juicing shouldn’t be thought of as a long-term diet. Instead, it should be seen as a supplement to fortify your existing diet if you’re looking to eat cleaner. When properly balanced, cleansing with juice is kind of like drinking salad in a bottle. Consider swapping one meal, like lunch, for a juice, but eating solids for breakfast and dinner.
Just drinking juices alone, as we’ve explored, won’t necessarily lead directly to weight loss or a healthier body. But juicing effectively and in a balanced way can help aid in a nutritious diet. Pro tip: consider leaving in the fiber and swapping some juices for smoothies. Or even better, consider just eating a few more whole fruits a week, so you can reap more of their direct benefits.
Ultimately, as humans, we don’t really need to detox – our body has hundreds of natural processes that do that on its own. It only needs to “detox” when removing substances like poison, drugs, and alcohol from the body. However, sometimes, we could all use an extra boost here and there, which is what the occasional juice cleanse is great for.