Living in Los Angeles, California, I constantly see people going through the newest and craziest dieting fads. Recently, the most popular weight loss technique has been the juice cleanse. This is when you obtain all of your nutrients by drinking 3 to 5 vegetable/fruit juices per day. There should be no solid food consumed during these cleanses, only the approved juices. These cleanses can last anywhere from 3 days to a few weeks depending on what results you want from it. The question I want answered is whether or not juice cleanses do more help or harm to your body.
Purpose Starting a Juice Cleanse:
In theory, the juice cleanse is a great concept. Its purpose is to eliminate the toxins we put into our bodies daily, such as colorants and preservatives in our food. Susan Blum, M.D., the founder and director of the Blum Center for Health explains that “Toxins can build up in the body, causing inflammation and a weakened immune system. This may make us more susceptible to chronic illness, such as headaches, arthritis, and asthma, not to mention heart disease and cancer.” Although the juice cleanse isn’t a permanent solution for all of the toxins in our body, it is meant to relieve our bodies for an extended amount of time. “The idea is that when our bodies are freed from the burden of digesting solid food, they can more efficiently release the toxins swimming in our system.” The point of the juice cleanse is to become toxin free, but most people just look forward to the weight loss aspect of it. Of course you are bound to lose some weight when you just stop eating solid foods. However, most dietitians believe you only lose water weight.
Potential Faults of the Juice Cleanse:
One of the most commonly skipped over juice cleanse faults is the failure of long term weight loss. Because the weight lost is merely water weight, you are likely to gain it back as soon as you start eating solid food again. “When you eat whole foods, especially carbohydrates such as breads and grains, your body needs to hold on to water to digest them properly. Take away the food and the water disappears, too, which can translate to a drop on the scale. The problem: When you begin eating solids again, the water may come right back, leaving you where you started.” Livescience.com went on to list some potential dangers of these cleanses. Firstly, juice cleanses are usually low in protein, which is necessary to maintain a healthy immune system and to build muscle after working out. The point of the juice cleanse is supposed to be to help your body be healthy and stronger, not to weaken the immune system and make you more susceptible to illness. Secondly, people might not feel so great while they’re doing it. In most records that people keep of their juice cleanse experiences, such as Steve Cox’s, they report experiencing a multitude of symptoms such as lack of energy, nausea, anxiety, head aches, and grumpiness. After concluding a three day juice cleanse, Steve realized that the misery was not worth losing only 3.6 pounds. Rather, he decided to commit to other healthy habits such as less snacking and finishing meals by 7p.m.
Here is a video in which Buzzfeed employees did their own juice cleanse experiment. It turns out that different subjects had very different experiences. The people that looked to be more healthy and in shape seemed to have a better time with it. They concluded that although they didn’t like waking up every day and knowing they were only going to drink juice, they never necessarily felt ill. The subjects that were a little more on the over-weight side had a more difficult time with this process. They said that they felt more fatigue, more tired, and had a more difficult time focusing at work. This made me realize that there are a lot of third variables that could effect how the juice cleanse works on your body such as prior food routines, metabolism, gender, exercise routine, and many more. The bottom line is that juice cleanses seem to be a good way to kick start a healthier life style, but not a break through weight loss solution.