Are Juice Cleanses Healthy?

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Adenike Eketunde
Adenike Eketundehttps://www.wikidoc.org/index.php/Adenike_Eketunde
I am a health enthusiast with a degree in medicine and public health. I have over 5 years of experience working in the clinical and non-clinical setting. I have experience in medical writing and review with published articles on PubMed. Favorite Quote “No thief, however skillful, can rob one of knowledge, and that is why knowledge is the best and safest treasure to acquire.” ― L. Frank Baum, The Lost Princess of Oz
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People who have been trying Juice Cleansing to lose weight or detoxify their bodies may find this headline quite confounding. Am I right? Besides, many of you look upon it as a miracle and feel why not take a chance on this shortcut. But I think you should know why you have to give up on this, and for others not to try it. In this article, I will discuss the myth about juice cleanses, the science behind this, and provide some alternatives.

What are  Juice Cleanses?

Juice cleanses, also known as Juice Fast, are diets that make you consume only fruit juice and vegetable juice without any solid food for a couple of days. The duration of a Juice Cleanse usually varies from 3 days to 3 weeks. During this time, you have to abstain from taking any solid foods. It is now believed that if you practice juice cleansing at a regular interval, it’ll detoxify your body and help you ‌lose weight. Surprisingly, it’s a trend of the twenty-first century!

What does Juice Cleanse do to your body?

Many of you consider this process of detoxifying and loosening weight very convenient. But there is a saying, “There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.” I am not saying that drinking fruit juice won’t give you any healthy minerals.

 It’s obvious that this practice can provide you with easily absorbable nutrients. You will get antioxidants like vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E also minerals, micronutrients like selenium and folate, and phytonutrients [1] like Anthocyanins, Quercetin, Ellagic Acid, Lycopene, Beta-Carotene, etc that may support your immunity. [2]

They also restrict fat and protein intake. So, your body burns fats and your blood cholesterol levels come down. It can also help with lowering blood Uric Acid levels if the fructose/glucose intake is not excess.

Benefits of the juice cleanse diet 

Though there are a lot of claims about Juice Cleanse, scientifically there is less evidence. Even then, this diet has some short-term beneficial effects.

Easily absorbable nutrients

When you drink fruit or vegetable juice, you are getting less dietary fiber. In the presence of fiber, the absorption process slows down. Subsequently, this helps your gut to absorb the mega dose of nutrients very easily. People who are suffering from malabsorption syndrome get benefits from this. Those people can not absorb nutrients from the food properly. So, less fibrous foods like these pressed juicery items give them some health benefits.

Balancing gut bacteria

As you have heard, there are many bacteria in our gut. The two most abundant bacterial phyla in humans are Firmicutes (40–60%) and Bacteroidetes (20–40%)[3]. Relative proportional abundance of Firmicutes has been associated with increased body weight and that of Bacteroidetes with low body weight. 

In 2015, researchers at the UCLA School of Medicine found that juice cleanses increase the number of Bacteroides. But reduce the number of bacteria associated with weight gain, Firmicutes. So, if you ask, are juice cleanses good for gut health? Yes,  Juice Cleanses takes good care of your gut health by balancing the gut bacteria.

Weight loss

It’s found that juice cleanses may produce short-term weight loss because of calorie restriction. It also eliminates unhealthy fats from the diet, and lowers lipid levels, unless the sugar intake is high. Hence, your body will use the reserve source of energy; glycogen, and lipid from your body and make an impact on reducing weight. 

Detoxification

Drinking a lot of fluid keeps you hydrated and improves your kidney function. juice cleanse also restricts protein intake. So it decreases urea production, leading to less pressure on the kidneys. Thus, your liver and kidney can remove the waste products easily. Though there’s no scientific evidence. According to Joan Salge Blake, a professor at Boston University, “There is no science to suggest that you need to detox your body,” He said. “Your body is smarter than that. You have built-in detox organs, the liver, and kidney clean up any waste that needs to leave the body.” 

Is Juice Cleanses Healthy for You?

There are instructions you should follow when you are juicing. Hence it would be healthy for you. They include duration, selected food items, your eligibility, and other parameters. It may be helpful in some conditions and on the other hand, it may aggravate your disease conditions. 

Are juice cleanses good for IBS?

To know whether the juice cleanse is good or bad for IBS, you have to know some extra information. There are two types of fibers found in our daily foods; soluble and insoluble fibers. Juice contains the majority of the soluble fibers but loses most of the insoluble fibers. IBS with constipation and bloating may be relieved by taking foods with soluble fibers where insoluble fibers worsen the IBS symptoms. [4]

Are juice cleanses good for diabetics?

People with diabetes should be cautious while they are on a juice diet and detox diet. As you know that some fruit juice contains an excessive amount of sugar in them also there may present added sugar. So while you are following this diet there may be a spike in blood sugar which is very unsafe for a diabetic patient. You know this very well.

Are juice cleanses good for hypertension and heart disease?

Juice cleanses increase Nitric oxide production and cause vasodilation, it reduces cholesterol levels by inhibiting lipid peroxidation. It also inhibits platelet aggregation and prevents hyperhomocysteinemia. These all have their combined effects on controlling hypertension and heart diseases. [5] 

Are juice cleanses good in pregnancy and lactation?

It’s not recommended to juice cleanse during pregnancy and lactation periods. Your body needs lots of protein and calories while you are pregnant. So if you cleanse at that time you may face various antenatal and postnatal complications. Besides, you are juice fasting your body liberates toxins that may pass to your child’s body through breastfeeding. [6]

How much weight can you lose on a Juice Cleanse diet?

A study on 20 people found that they lost about two pounds on average and saw an increase in gut bacteria associated with weight loss. They took juice for three consecutive days. You can reduce 10 pounds or more weight after 7 days of Juice Cleanse. On a daily basis, your weight loss can vary from half to 4 pounds. If you think you would burn your fat, you would be wrong. This loss of weight occurs due to loss of water weight rather than fat burn.

Risks of Juice Cleanses

Here comes the most exciting part for me to write, and you may consider it a thought-provoking part. As because now I am going to tell you why you should be concerned about this trend.

Relapsed weight gain

I have mentioned earlier that drinking juice will cause short-term weight loss. Yes, that’s correct. But as per NCCIH, this is due to the loss of calories and protein in your diet, you may lose weight initially, but subsequently, you will regain your weight. As you have lost your muscle mass, you have possessed a slow metabolism rate, which makes you more likely to gain weight when you go back to your regular diet.

Increase in appetite

Dietary fibers give us a feeling of abdominal fullness. Juice Cleanses are usually devoid of these dietary fibers because juices are mostly pressed. So, no pulp or fiber remains in it. As a result, it could make you feel more hungry and tired than before. Though it has no short-term side effects, one of the risk factors for colorectal carcinoma is a dietary habit of less fibrous food. 

Kidney diseases and blood sugar imbalance

Foods like spinach and beets containing high amounts of oxalate are more likely to develop renal stones. Besides, its less fibrous property allows the sugar to be absorbed more rapidly. This will raise the blood glucose level, which may cause danger in a diabetic person.

Infection

When you are on this diet, you have to drink raw juice. As those are in raw form, they may contain numerous microorganisms. Commercial companies who supply these products to the markets must maintain proper hygiene. Such as proper cleaning, pasteurization, and standard storage procedure. If they don’t follow these accordingly, you may suffer from various infections like gastroenteritis.

Severe nutritional deficiency

We can easily guess that juice cleanses is devoid of fats. So what’s the issue here? Well, without fat in our diet, we can not absorb fat-soluble vitamins: Vit-A, D, E, and K. Their deficiency disorders may develop as a long-term effect. Also, Vit-B12 has only animal origins. If you are so concerned about detoxifying your body with juice cleanses, you may progress symptoms of Vit-B12 deficiency.    

Expensive and scientifically unfounded 

Many of you think that our digestive system needs rest, and you should provide it with a juice fast. I am sorry to expose to you that it doesn’t go with any scientific principles. Besides, many of these fruits or veggies you consume can be too pricey. It may cost you between $50 to $70 per day for most bottled juices. Do you think it’s worth wasting money on such a scientifically irrelevant trend?

How to do a Juice Cleanse properly

When some of you have the intention to start a healthy lifestyle, nutritionists usually suggest that you must eat healthy first. In that case, you may start with the suggested juice fasts under supervision. Some instructions you can follow for your health benefits –

  • You should select raw fruits.
  • Don’t choose ripe fruits or fruits with high sugar and calories frequently; mango, grapes, cherry, watermelon, banana, etc.
  • According to Molly Knudsen, M.S., RDN [7]
  • You should drink 16 ounces of juice per day.
  • Out of this 80%(13 ounces) should be veggies.
  • You should keep spinach, zucchini, cucumber, carrots, kale, beets, and celery.
  • Fruits like lemons, limes, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, and kiwis as they have less sugar in them
  • Avoid laborious exercise during this juice cleanse program.

How many days should you juice cleanse and who is it for?

 It will be suitable for you to start juicing for a couple of days to get your body used to what you are going to do. Usually, three to four days is perfect for a first-time cleanse.

 So the Juice Cleanses program is convenient for those who are at the start of a healthy life. But remember!! They are not for frequent and prolonged use. 

Alternatives to a juice cleanse

there is not much evidence that can justify the effectiveness of juice cleanses. If any of you wish to detoxify your body through this process, you need to reassess. What will you achieve by doing an already done job occurring in our body naturally? So, to lead a healthy life, and to maintain your metabolic system functioning well, you can try the following alternatives I have mentioned.

Intermittent fasting

It is a pattern of taking meals that goes on by altering between a period of fasting and following your daily meal schedule. There are several ways of continuing intermittent fasting. Like you may try eating during a particular period of time daily, and for the rest of the day, you will perform fasting.

 On the other hand, you may prefer to eat your meal only once a day and continue this for a couple of days in a week. This habit will help you to lose extra weight by burning your fat.

Consume whole fruits and vegetables

Do you know there are some gross differences between juice and raw fruits or vegetables? Whole fruits and vegetables can be called icons when it comes to healthy carb intake. 

According to Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D., “Juicing is no healthier than eating whole fruits and vegetables”.While you are juicing fruits or vegetables, the fibers that make these foods so healthy in the first place are gone. Dietary fiber intake reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases and risk for colorectal carcinoma. [8]

 So if you want to keep yourself healthy and lose weight, you better try consuming whole fruits and vegetables. That won’t imbalance your nutrition level and dietary habits.

Balance diet

I am sure you have heard of this term. But many of you don’t have a clear idea about it. To keep yourself healthy, you need to maintain a balanced diet.

A balanced diet is a diet that contains different kinds of essential nutrients in certain quantities and proportions. So, the requirements for calories, proteins, minerals, and vitamins are completely met.

 In the juice cleanse, there is a deficiency of protein and fat rather, it’s a carb dominant diet. Thus, if you are looking to maintain healthy body weight, then you need to keep your metabolism activated. You need to choose your fat source ‌carefully.

Unsaturated fats also called healthy fat like polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats will help you lose belly fat.

Smoothies instead of juicing

Smoothies are blends that are made by the entire fruit or vegetable including both its skin and pulp. Therefore, in this process, you don’t lose any essential fibers like any Cold Pressed juice. Smoothies possess more satiety value compared to juices, which helps you to lose weight [9].

A doubt may arise now. Does blending destroy nutrients? The answer is no. Blended fruits and veggies are nutritionally equivalent to whole fruits and veggies.

FAQs

Is a Juice Cleanse Good for Weight Loss?

You may lose weight after Juice cleanses, but it’s a short-term effect. You will regain your weight after you get back to your regular diet.

Does a 1-Day Juice Cleanse Do Anything?

A particular question may arise in your mind. If you juice cleanse only for one day what will happen? Actually, it will provide you with a mental focus more than a physical change.

How Long Should You Be on a Juice Cleanse?

According to Molly Knudsen, M.S., RDN you shouldn’t extend this juice diet for more than three days. Prolonged time may cause serious health issues.

What Happens to Your Body After a Juice Cleanse?

Several changes you may notice. Such as sudden weight loss which is mostly water weight, and improvement of your gut health by balancing your gut bacteria. sometimes it may increase your bowel movement and some people use it to detox their bodies. The prolonged practice may result in an eating disorder, nutritional deficiencies, and many more health hazards.

Do Juice Cleanses Make You Poop?

Yes, in some people fresh juice diets may exert a laxative effect, and relieve constipation. The remaining products of juice in the gut are fermented by the gut bacteria and exert this effect.

Is It Healthy to Do a Juice Cleanse Once a Week?

If your ambition is to lose an enormous amount of weight you can juice cleanse once a week for a month. If you continue like this it may cause severe calorie loss and you might be fatigued all the time.

3-Day Juice Cleanses Result

“A three-day juice cleanse is not a harmful thing,” says Robynne Chutkan, M.D. [10]according to him, this won’t change your health drastically. UCLA says, “The three-day juice cleansing induces persistent weight loss. The juice fast decreased lipid peroxidation and increased NO concentrations, which may improve cardiovascular health.”

Last Words

Well, if you’ve read the earlier section of this article, I must say now you’re able to make your own decision. Let me help you a bit more. As you’ve learned, juice fasting can help you lose weight initially, but it’s no effective health benefit.

Though there is some evidence that it may work in cases of some people. But the largest population is not benefited and may even get into trouble with eating disorders. Besides, doctors still do not support this practice of losing weight and detoxifying your body.

As of now, you have learned the ins and out of this Juice Cleanses, so you can decide whether you should continue this process or not. Instead of this dubious process, you should rather go for other alternatives to follow and have a healthy living.

References:

[1] Hughes, Luanne j. “FS542: How to Squeeze the Most Nutrition Out of Your Juice (Rutgers NJAES).” Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, June 2013, https://njaes.rutgers.edu/fs542/. Accessed 14 July 2022.

[2] Rieder, Anita. “Supplementation with mixed fruit and vegetable juice concentrates increased serum antioxidants and folate in healthy adults.” PubMed, 2004, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15190044/. Accessed 14 July 2022.

[3] PubMed Central. “Health benefit of vegetable/fruit juice-based diet: Role of microbiome.” PubMed, 19 May 2017, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28526852/. Accessed 14 July 2022. 

[4] Axelrod, Cara Hannah, and Miguel Saps. “The Role of Fiber in the Treatment of Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders in Children.” MDPI, 2018, https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/10/11/1650/htm. Accessed 15 July 2022.

[5] PubMed Central. “Effects and Mechanisms of Fruit and Vegetable Juices on Cardiovascular Diseases.” NCBI, 4 March 2017, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5372571/#B47-ijms-18-00555. Accessed 15 July 2022.

[6] The cold pressed juicery. “Pregnancy, breastfeeding, and cleansing.” The Cold Pressed Juicery, 12 May 2016, https://www.thecoldpressedjuicery.com/blogs/the-press/108165830-pregnancy-breastfeeding-and-cleansing. Accessed 15 July 2022.

[7]. Tran, Marc. “Juice Fasting: Benefits, Risks, & How To Do One.” MindBodyGreen, 30 December 2021, https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-7334/the-right-and-wrong-way-to-juice.html. Accessed 14 July 2022.

[8]. PubMed Central. “The Health Benefits of Dietary Fibre – PMC.” NCBI, 21 October 2020, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7589116/. Accessed 14 July 2022

[9]. Zeratsky, Katherine. “Juicing: What are the health benefits?” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Clinic, October 2021, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/juicing/faq-20058020. Accessed 14 July 2022.
[10]. Fowler, Paige. “What Happens to Your Body On a 3-Day Cleanse.” Shape, 9 September 2020, https://www.shape.com/lifestyle/mind-and-body/your-body-juice-cleanse. Accessed 15 July 2022.

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