Over the summer, I had noticed a health trend that was getting pretty popular in my age group, where you would commit to only taking in all natural pre-made juices—or sometimes you made the juices yourself—to cleanse your body of toxic build up and help you drop excess weight. The cleanse could last for three or even up to ten days, and every meal you would only be allowed to drink your food. I found this growing trend extremely interesting because during my freshman year I tried an all liquid diet for one week, however I added ample amounts of protein into my drinks in order to maintain energy levels and not loose muscle mass. By the end of the week I felt refreshed and energized, but completely ready to go back to food. But when I was looking at some of the recipes put together for the juice cleanse programs promoted online, little to no protein was added to any drinks which made me wonder, “Could this juice cleanse fad potentially be bad for you?”
I was researching if there are different type of juice cleanses out there and found that there actually are; there are juice cleanses that involve blended fruits and vegetables and then there is the “Master Cleanse” which only allows the cleanser to drink a mixture of lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, and water. According to Health.com, many people turn to juice cleansing because they feel like their body is off—they feel sluggish, heavy, or bloated. It is believed that only drinking these fiber-rich drinks will rid your body of the toxins that are preventing it from operating at maximum capacity, but this may not be the case. There are already organs within your body—such as your kidneys and liver—that remove all the toxins within our bodies, thus making the idea of a juice cleanse obsolete. According to the Huffington Post, the reason it seems like the juice-cleanse is actually a viable way to loose weight is because it increases the rate at which we lose water weight. Switching over to a liquid diet reduces calorie intake, causing the body to release the carbohydrate glycogen for extra energy for the body to function. Glycogen attaches to water so when it is lost, so is water—but normally the water is gained after the cleanse ends.
The general consensus is that taking part in a juice cleanse isn’t a sustainable way to lose weight—it is still suggested to watch what you eat and exercise regularly. However, there is nothing that shows doing a cleanse for a couple of days would do detrimental harm—so if you’re particularly interested in taking part it is generally safe. However, it would be unwise to partake for more than 10 days because there are not any commercial juice cleanses that go past that length.