The Best Way To Do A Juice Cleanse, According To Nutritionists
8 minutes read
Do juice cleanses actually work? There is a work-in-progress debate that is still circulating. Some are pro cleanse – the promise of weight loss and detoxing is too alluring to dispel. Some are firmly in the ‘no’ camp – after all, the body does an excellent job of detoxifying itself.
There is insufficient scientific evidence to suggest that juice cleanses or other detox diets impact the ability to remove toxins (if that’s what you’re after) and most medical practitioners don’t recommend this kind of ‘quick fix’ solution either.
“Your body is hardwired to detox itself — with or without a juice cleanse. Your liver is designed to detoxify harmful chemicals, your kidneys act as a filter to excrete materials that do not belong inside you, and your blood is loaded with natural antioxidants that neutralise damaging free radicals that stress out your cells,” Scientist Dr William Li, President and Medical Director of the Angiogenesis Foundation and Author of the New York Times Bestseller Eat To Beat Disease, tells Beauty Daily.
Yet, there’s a catch. “When you do a juice cleanse, the biggest benefits are staying well hydrated from the liquid you consume, and the added vitamins bonus for any greens included – and intentionally avoiding junk food that contains artificial preservatives and other unwanted chemicals. So when you stop eating junk food, it does give your body a chance to restore itself,” Dr Li adds.
We consulted with three healthcare experts, including Dr Li, on the best way to do a juice cleanse: from the pros and cons of a juice cleanse, to expert-approved ways to ‘drink’ your rainbow diet in a healthier and more sustainable way.
What is a juice cleanse, and does it work?
A juice cleanse, interchangeably called “juice fast” or “juice detox,” is a strict all-liquid diet that involves consuming only freshly-extracted vegetable and fruit juices for typically between 3 days and three weeks.
“It can go two ways: it can make you feel more energised by providing extra micronutrients from fruit and vegetables and saving energy from not having to digest food, or it can do the opposite and make you feel tired, irritable, and weak. So it’s not for everyone, and support from a nutritionist is advised,” Marilia Chamon, Founder of Gutfulness Nutrition and Registered Nutritionist, says.
What are the pros and cons of a juice cleanse?
Pros of a juice cleanse
1. Increased veggies and fruit intake
Studies have shown that fruit and vegetable juices can boost levels of important vitamins and antioxidants such as Vitamins A, C & E, and folate, among others.
People who find it hard to eat enough fruit and vegetables might find juice cleanses beneficial as it’s an easier way to get the vitamins and minerals they miss, especially if they eat highly processed food.
2. A break from unhealthy eating habits
“It depends on what you are looking to achieve. If it is to help shape better eating habits or break a sugary cycle, it may be helpful for some,” Chamon says.
Adding: “I personally do not recommend it as I prefer my clients learn how to eat a varied and balanced diet that does not trigger the need to jump into a juice cleanse.”
3. Temporary weight loss
Most juice cleanses can lead to short-term weight loss because of their severe calorie restriction. In one small randomised study, a short 3-day juice-only diet altered the gut bacteria in 20 healthy people and resulted in substantial weight reduction.
Cons of a juice cleanse
1. You will not have enough energy for an active lifestyle
“A liquid-only diet will not provide sufficient nutrients for an active lifestyle. You may feel lightheaded or weak or become irritable. Sustaining a liquid diet is not a healthy habit. During a cleanse, strenuous exercise is discouraged. Exercise is good for you,” Dr Li says.
2. Gain weight
Chamon explains: “A juice cleanse will lower your overall calorie intake leading to less glycogen and water stored in your muscles hence why the weight on the scale might go down. However, once you go back to eating, that weight will return to what it was before.”
A 2017 review found that while juice cleanses may cause initial weight loss due to calorie restriction; they will lead to overall weight gain once a person resumes a full, healthful diet. Yikes!
3. Kidney issues
Some research has also highlighted the potential risks of juice cleanses with long-term risks such as kidney issues. For example, a report found a patient who experienced kidney failure after a six-week juice cleanse.
4. Harmful to your mental health
If you skip meals, rely on calorie counters or apps to control your food intake, obsessing over your weight, have a history of yo-yo dieting, or always follow the latest diet trend, these could all be signs of an unhealthy relationship with food or an eating disorder.
Studies have shown that weight loss from juice-based diets may also be physiologically harmful. Statistics show that 35% of ‘normal dieters’ progress to pathological dieting.
What is the best way to juice cleanse?
Unfortunately, experts don’t support the idea of a juice cleanse diet at all.
“I don’t think one needs to go on a juice cleanse to get the benefits of juicing or detox. Instead, you could add a fresh-squeezed green juice to a whole-food, plant-based diet and get similar (if not better) benefits while never getting hangry [irritable because of hunger],” Maria Marlowe, Holistic Nutritionist, explains.
However, it doesn’t mean a “healthy juice” is not worth incorporating into your lifestyle.
“Drinking a modest amount of juice can be a part of a sustainable healthy diet. Recognise that the beneficial aspects of vegetable-based juice, in addition to hydration, are the natural chemicals called bioactives found in fruit and vegetables.
These are polyphenols that can support your body’s hardwired health defence systems, which help you resist disease, and dietary fibre beneficial for gut health. Just know that eating the whole fruit or vegetable gives you more bioactive and fibre than only drinking its juice,” Dr Li says.
Tips on selecting fruits and veggies for a healthy juice
“When juicing, emphasising non-sweet veggies and fruit is ideal, to keep blood sugar stable. Cucumber, celery, lemon, parsley, ginger, and any greens such as romaine or kale are good examples. I find citrus like lemon or lime usually makes any juice taste better,” explains Marlowe.
Healthy juice recipes you can make or order
To start with your juice journey, you will need a cold-press juicer, something like this one from Juice Master.
However, if you don’t want the fuss of juicing, you can also go for the easier way and have it delivered to your doorstep from organic fresh juice providers like Plenish.
To get you started, we listed three healthy juices worth checking out:
Alkalizing Celery Lemonade
Lemon juice offers a wide variety of beauty benefits – when applied topically, it can help with things like removing fake tan stains from between your fingers, and when consumed in a juice, it can support your overall skin health. If you already drink lemon water and celery juice, you might like Nutritionist Marlowe’s take. This Alkalizing Celery Lemonade makes for a great drink to kick start your morning as it’s great for digestion and elimination of toxins.
“Celery offers anti-inflammatory and alkaline benefits, making it soothing to the digestive system and healing for the body. Plus, it’s a diuretic, which helps your body flush out toxins and waste,” Marlowe says.
Alkalizing Celery Lemonade recipe here
Glow Glo Juice
For those looking for clearer skin, this Glow Glo Juice makes the perfect drink.
“There are a variety of antioxidants in this beauty beverage, but an important one is limonene, which is concentrated in lemon peel. It’s a particularly potent antioxidant because it stays in the body longer than many other antioxidants. Antioxidants combat free radicals to keep your skin clear and wrinkle-resistant,” Marlowe explains.
Glow Glo Juice recipe here
Ginger Immunity Shot
Although there is evidence supporting ginger benefits, research on the “shots” themselves are limited. However, ginger boasts many potent anti-inflammatory compounds, including a variety of antioxidants that ward off chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and high blood pressure.
The Ginger Immunity Shots from Plenish might be worth the try as they also include live cultures too. These potent, fiery shots come from purest pressed ginger and apple, with apple cider vinegar. It provides you with 100% of your daily dose of Vitamin C.
Plenish also offer balanced plans with a proportional amount of calories.
With Plenish’s plans, you can consume up to 6 x 500ml juices a day, so you’re rarely hungry because you consume up to 6kg of organic goodies. Click here for more information.
Whatever your thoughts, a regulated vegetable-based juice cleanse may be a way to hydrate and up your vitamin intake.
Read next: Nutritionist-Approved Guide To Clean Eating
Medical Disclaimer: Always seek the advice of a dietician, nutritionist, or other qualified health providers with any specific questions you may have regarding juicing or juice cleansing. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read on the Beauty Daily website.