Have you had a friend or family member tell you they were doing a juice cleanse? Did you wonder what the fuss was about, or maybe ask, “do juice cleanses work?”
Many people turn to juice cleanses as a detox or weight loss strategy. They believe they will help you shed pounds quickly while detoxing your body and resetting your digestive system. If only it were that easy!
The promises of weight loss and glowing skin are all marketing materials for a juice cleanse, and they aren’t telling you that the results are only short-term and the negatives greatly outweigh the positives. I’m going to talk about the pros and cons of a juice cleanse, answer the question, “do juice cleanses work,” and tell you about my proven method for achieving optimal weight and detoxing. First, let me tell you more about juice cleanses and why they are so popular.
What Is a Juice Cleanse?
Juice cleanses are pretty simple: you drink only juices from fruits and vegetables over a period of time, from 3 days to 3 weeks. These cleansers are designed to promote weight loss, remove toxins from your body, and reset your digestive system.
A juice cleanse is considered a convenient “quick fix,” however, I’m here to tell you nothing thought to be a quick fix fixes anything. Juice cleanses are convenient because you can do one at home with fresh fruits and vegetables as long as you have a juicer. Electrical juicers can cost between $30 to $150. The other option is to buy expensive juice cleanse packages from a local juice bar, which can cost anywhere from $99 to $300.
Juice cleanses are appealing because large amounts of nutrients and phytonutrients, which are free radical scavengers, are all present in fruits and vegetables. So, it is a quick way to get a lot of nutrients. However, when you juice a vegetable, you strip it of its dietary fiber. Reducing the amount of fiber can make you feel more hungry.1 Yet, some research suggests that restricting fiber makes it easier for your body to absorb nutrients.2
While there are minimal benefits to doing a juice cleanse, the cons greatly outweigh the benefits. Simply put, juice cleanses do not work, and here is why.
Why Juice Cleanses Don’t Work
On paper, juice cleanses appear to be a healthy solution to detoxifying your body, losing weight, and ensuring you’re getting many nutrients. Yet, you’re not getting as much as you believe you are. As I mentioned, when you juice a vegetable or a fruit, you strip away dietary fiber in many fruits and vegetables. Here are a few reasons your juice cleanse won’t work.
Juicing Removes Key Nutrients
You’re indeed getting a large number of micronutrients in juice. The issue with a juice cleanse is that you replace your meals with only juice, which means you deprive your body of crucial nutrients such as protein, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids that fruits and vegetables can’t provide. Depriving your body of protein, iron, and omega-3s can lead to deficiencies linked to autoimmunity and slower progress to any weight loss goal because protein supports weight loss. It’s better to eat a diet consisting of organic produce and meats.
Juicing Removes Fiber
As I mentioned, the juicing process extracts juice from fruits and vegetables and leaves behind all of the dietary fiber found in the skin or pulp of fruits and vegetables. Dietary fiber is essential to your digestive health, and fiber supports digestion, helps eliminate waste, and can reduce the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.3 Fiber also promotes healthy blood glucose levels and keeps you feeling fuller. Women should eat at least 21 to 25 grams of fiber daily, while men should aim for 30 to 38 grams daily.4
Juicing is Expensive
If you recall, juice cleanses cost a lot of money, whether you make juice at home with a juicer or buy a juice cleanse from your local juice bar.
If you don’t have a juicer, a new juicer can cost up to $200, along with all the money on fresh fruits and vegetables. For example, getting 1 cup (8 oz) of freshly squeezed apple juice takes 3 medium-sized apples. A juice cleanse from your local juice bar can cost up to $300, and you have to go pick it up. Some places ask that you pick up your fresh juices every day instead of giving all the juice you need for the duration of your juice cleanse, and that can be inconvenient if you are a busy person.
Weight Loss from Juicing is Only Short-Term
You’re going to lose weight on a juice cleanse, I can’t deny that. Before you run to your local juice store or plan your next juice cleanse, remember that once you start eating whole foods again, the weight will return.
Carbohydrates are your body’s preferred source of glucose because the process of breaking them down is easier. Fruits and vegetables are full of complex carbohydrates, which are more sustainable energy sources than simple sugars.
Once your body runs out of carbohydrates to make glucose, it turns to protein. The last resort is fat if there isn’t enough protein to convert into glucose for energy. Relying on fat for glucose is the principle behind the keto diet. Turning protein and fat into glucose is more complex than carbohydrates and takes more work from your body, and that’s why your body will always go to carbohydrates first.
Once you return to your usual way of eating after a juice cleanse, your body uses any protein or fat that you eat to restore the glucose reserves it lost during the juice cleanse when it needs it for energy, which will cause all those pounds you lost to come right back.
Juicing will Leave You Tired and Hungry
As I mentioned earlier, juice is high in sugar and contains no fiber, fat, or protein to aid digestion. The high amounts of sugar cause blood glucose levels to spike and quickly drop, which leads to lethargy and feeling hungry. Due to the lack of macronutrients such as protein, carbohydrates, and fat, your body will burn calories faster and make you weaker and tired.
Are There Benefits to a Juice Cleanse?
While weight loss is one reason you might do a juice cleanse, they have other benefits. I’ll talk more about this and my proven solution for optimal weight in just a minute. It is essential to remember that results are linear and will be different for everyone. Here are some benefits of juice cleanses.
If you have noticed the number of skincare products that contain vitamin C, there’s a reason for that. Vitamin C has many benefits for your skin, including promoting wound healing, supporting collagen production, nourishing aging skin, repairing skin damage, preventing imperfections, and so much more.
Another benefit is that due to its antioxidant properties, vitamin C also protects skin against UV damage, enhancing collagen production and improving the appearance of wrinkles. I’d be willing to bet your sunscreen has vitamin C in it.
Citrus juices are abundant with vitamin C. However, you should avoid citrus juices if you are sensitive to citrus, like so many people are. To find out if you have a citrus sensitivity, or any other food sensitivities, I recommend doing an elimination diet.
Limited Processed Foods
Americans eat more processed foods than any country in the world. The Standard American Diet, appropriately abbreviated SAD, is one of the worst choices for a healthy diet. It contains processed and inflammatory foods, typically high in sodium, trans fats, and refined sugars, and lacks essential omega-3 fatty acids. Nearly ¾ of the food on the SAD is processed food. Unfortunately, it is how most Americans (and many people worldwide) choose to eat.
One of the benefits of a juice cleanse is that fresh juices aren’t processed and come from organic fruits and vegetables. If you are making your juice at home, ensure your fruits and vegetables are organic. Non-organic produce contains toxic chemicals and GMOs due to the mass production of food for a growing population.
They Contain Phytonutrients
Eating fresh, filling, and colorful fruits and vegetables is vital to your overall health. Fruits and vegetables contain phytonutrients, which give them their color and protect plants from bacteria, viruses, fungi, and toxins. The four common phytonutrients in organic fruits and vegetables include carotenoids, flavonoids, resveratrol, and glucosinolates. These potent compounds have many benefits, including being free radical scavengers, supporting a healthy immune system, and boosting your metabolism.
As I mentioned before, juice cleanses are “quick fixes.” Most people return to their usual way of eating after a juice cleanse, so any of these benefits will be short-lived. The good news is that you do not need to do a juice cleanse to get its benefits. There are better ways, and let’s talk about them.
Better Alternatives to Juice Cleanses
Let’s face it, juice cleanses are too expensive for unsustainable results. Not to mention, a juice cleanse will leave you feeling hungry and tired and affect your mood. The most effective way to support weight loss and get optimal amounts of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients is by following the diet of our ancestors – the Paleo diet.
What is the Paleo Diet?
The Paleo diet is based on the theoretical diet of our ancestors before modern farming. The idea is not to eat any foods that did not exist in those days or were cultivated for consumption. It eliminates processed foods, including preservatives and additives. I also include dairy products, grains, and legumes as foods to eliminate as part of the Paleo diet. While that may seem like a substantial portion of your diet, remember whole foods such as meat, fish, nuts, seeds, vegetables, and fruit are the most nutrient-dense foods available, and they are all permitted on the Paleo diet.
The Paleo diet is the best alternative to juice cleanses, yet there are other great alternatives if you’re trying to detox and achieve optimal weight and health. Here are some other options other than doing juice cleanses.
Organic Superfood Powders
I designed the Organic Superfoods Kit to include 27 fruits and vegetables in every scoop. This kit contains Organic Greens and Organic Reds powders that provide essential red and green fruits and vegetables.
Organic Greens include green vegetables such as broccoli, kale, and spinach that are high in vitamins A and C along with magnesium, calcium, and iron. Adding more green leafy vegetables into your diet can support optimal brain health, fight belly bloat, relieve stress, support bone health, healthy aging, boost digestive enzymes, and tame the toxins, among many other health benefits.
Organic Reds powder contains red superfoods & phytonutrients often missing from our diets, including beets, berries, carrots, and tart cherries. Adding more red superfoods can facilitate healthy blood flow and vascular elasticity to support healthy blood pressure, reduce oxidative damage from free radicals, and support a healthy fat metabolism and skin.
These juice recipes are delicious ways to utilize the health benefits of the Organic Superfoods Kit.
I have to admit that I am a smoothie fanatic. When it comes to my morning routine, there’s always one step that makes it easy to get out of bed and get excited for the day ahead: a delicious smoothie!
Smoothies are a quick, easy way to pack a ton of vitamins and nutrients into one delicious drink. Smoothies are a great meal replacement and support weight loss, and this Green Detox Smoothie is a great way to start your morning. If you’re looking for a sweet treat, the Strawberry Mango Tropical Smoothie or Key Lime Pie Smoothie makes for a refreshing summer treat.
The Functional Medicine Approach to Weight Loss
Remember, any weight loss from a juice cleanse is only short-term and will return once you return to your regular diet. I have a better solution.
After working with thousands of patients and helping hundreds of members of my community meet their weight loss goals – as well as tackling my stubborn weight gain problem – I created The Myers Way® Optimal Weight Breakthrough™ Program.
The Myers Way® Optimal Weight Breakthrough™ Program contains three physician-formulated, pharmaceutical-grade supplements and an abundance of resources to set you up for success. In addition to the game-changing supplements — CLA, Lean, and Double Chocolate Paleo Protein – this program includes:
- A program guide: A walkthrough of the program with step-by-step instructions on how to get started, directions to your supplements, and how to tame toxins that can sabotage your weight loss efforts.
- Meal plans: I included two 30-day meal plans – a standard and a keto plan – that include a variety of delicious meals and snacks.
- Recipes: Simple and delicious recipes to nourish your body and enjoy your weight loss journey.
- Sleep guide: Tips to help you optimize your sleep and avoid some of the common pitfalls that will keep you from tossing and turning all night.
- Goal setter: Weekly tracker for you to write down your goals and track your progress throughout the program.
- Activity tracker: A 30-day tracker keeps you motivated as you work towards your movement goals.
The Optimal Weight Breakthrough™ Program is a comprehensive resource that makes following it sustainable and straightforward. Juice cleanses are not the quick-fix as advertised to be. If you’re looking to lose weight or eat healthier, it’s more important to maintain a sustainable healthy diet of whole foods, including organic fruits, vegetables, and meats.
- It’s Time to Leave Juice Cleanses Behind — Here’s Why. Shahzadi Devje, RD, CDE, MSc. Healthline. 2022.
- The Health Benefits of Dietary Fibre. Thomas M. Barber, et al. Nutrients, vol 12. 2020.
- Why do we need dietary fiber?. Jillian Kubala, MS, RD, . Medical News Today. 2020.
- Fiber. Harvard School of Public Health. 2021.