How Juice Cleanses Actually Work

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Celebrities, Instagram influencers, your best friend it seems like everyone is jumping on the juice cleanse train. Subsisting on cold-pressed juice for a short period of time is believed to have detoxifying benefits that include more radiant skin, increased energy, and improved mood. But with so many mixed reviews and thoughts out there, it begs the question: Do juice cleanses actually work?

But while detox programs have gained traction over the past few years, the idea of an internal reset is nothing new. “The general concept of body detoxification is thousands of years old,” explains Golan Raz, head of global health division at Lycored. “Our body absorbs substances from the food we eat, the oxygen we breathe, and the environment we live in.

While part of the substances the body absorbs is supportive of our physical wellness, others are not as much. A portion of those substances have the potential to be toxic to our physical system.”

Especially post-holidays — and in the midst of your New Year’s resolutions — you may be tempted to try a juice cleanse, yourself. But before you run out and buy 20 pounds of organic produce (or gallons of pricey, pre-made concoctions), there are a few things you should know.

Ahead, health pros de-mystify five common juice cleanse misconceptions while sharing their tips on how to refresh your body the right way. If you thought you were ready to liquify your diet for the next few days, step away from the juicer, and read this first.

Juice Cleanse Urban Myths

It Will Detox Your Body: While consuming antioxidant-rich superfoods is undoubtedly beneficial, the idea that they can course through your body and rid toxins along the way is actually a myth. “Our kidneys, lymph system, and liver are the true detoxifying tools of the body,” clarifies Nicole Centeno, founder, and CEO of Splendid Spoon, which delivers ready-to-eat, plant-based soups and smoothies. “Nothing you eat is going to do as good a job as them.”

Dr. Haider Al-Hilaly, a general practitioner based in the UK, backs this up. “Our body detoxifies itself through the digestive tract, liver, lungs, and kidneys. Juice cleanses may contain fewer calories and fat than normal meals and make us lose weight, but they don’t ‘detoxify’ anything.”

It’ll Provide All The Nutrients You Need

Sure, fresh-pressed juice is choc-full of vitamins and minerals, but by default, it’s missing one key nutrient your body needs. “Juices strip fruits and veggies of one of nature’s most powerful tools for health: insoluble fiber,” says Centeno. “Fiber slows down the absorption of sugars and creates more even energy levels, plus it keeps your gut in great shape by keeping things moving and creating a happy home for good bacteria.”

Juice Cleanses Should Last For Several Days

While multi-day liquid diets may be trendy, Centeno says to limit the timeframe you abstain from solid foods. As far as the duration of a juice cleanse, “I suggest one day as being extreme enough for most, and no more than three without a doctor’s supervision,” she advises. “Depending on body type and activity levels, the body can start to go into a stressed state after extended periods of time on significantly decreased calories. This is especially true for women.”

Green Juices Are Full Of Veggies

While fresh-pressed fruit makes juices a lot more palatable, a truly balanced juice should have an emphasis on veggies. “A common mistake when doing a cleanse is going too heavy on fruit juices,” points out Jessica Young, founder and CEO Bubble, an online store that sells curated health foods. “You have to understand that just because the juice is green doesn’t mean that it isn’t mainly filled with fruits. Just a few leaves of spinach can turn a juice green.”

In fact, juice that’s primarily fruit can cause blood sugar spikes and drops on par with eating a chocolate bar. “There are also no fibers in juice, which means it hits your bloodstream right away,” Young continues. “Too much fruit can lead to too much sugar, and this can pose reverse effects.”

It’ll Make Up For A Period Of “Bad” Eating

Now that the holiday’s leftovers are finally gone, a cleanse may sound appealing — but it shouldn’t be done out of frustration. “Restriction and punishment are not invited to my version of the cleanse,” says Centeno. “They perpetuate the myth that we need to control our bodies.”

Instead, she believes that cleanses should be an opportunity to get in touch with your unique nutritional needs, and juice-based ones should last no more than 24 hours. Our body is a friend and a great teacher of what we need physically and emotionally.

If we are using a cleanse day as a platform for self-judgment, then we are perpetuating a negative relationship with the body. If instead, we can see the cleanse day as a quieter day where we can listen to the body, we’ll start fo feel a lot better. We want to feel at home in our body, so it’s good to be kind to it 🙂 🙂

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