The Juice Cleanse: Helpful or Hurtful?

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.

 

4 thoughts on “The Juice Cleanse: Helpful or Hurtful?

  1. Sarah Jo Sokoloski

    I found this blog post extremely interesting because I myself was interested in doing a juice cleanse. There is always a lot of speculation when it comes to fads such as this one. I agree with what you stated that the juice cleanse may not be the most effective way to lose weight, but may be a good option if you want to detoxify or kickstart a healthier lifestyle. In a New York Times article the author gave their own personal experience with juice cleanses, the article goes into depth on how these juice cleanses can be potentially dangerous. In anyone that has undiagnosed diabetes it could cause serious blood sugar issues and in people who seriously struggle with food it won’t solve their issues but only create temporary weight loss. As you stated, there are certainly pros and cons to doing a juice cleanse and it is definitely specific to the consumer.

  2. Julia Hall

    I have done cleanses with and I agree with everything you said in the last paragraph. I hated waking up every morning knowing that I wasnt able to eat real food. I was super tired, and really moody because, I was honestly, really hungry by the end of the day. It was a struggle to keep myself going on the cleanse but I ended up finishing it. Honestly, at the end of it I felt really good because I was clear of toxins, I did loose weight but then I quickly gained it all back because it was pretty much all water weight. So personally, I think that juice cleanses don’t really work and are a waste of money and time.

  3. Giana Shan Yu Han

    My aunt did a juice cleanse; actually, she’s done several. I have always been highly skeptical about the benefit of that decision, although part of my skepticism comes from the fact that I value food too much to diet… But anyways, it was really interesting to read this and find that it seems like the cons outweigh the pros by a significant amount. I did not know that the body needs carbohydrates to hold water or that proteins improve the immune system. Now that I do know that, it seems very unwise to cut them out of your diet. Also, I learned in health class in high school that the body will remember the times without food, so it will actually begin storing more fat once you start eating again. I wonder if this occurs after juice cleanses as well. Additionally, how many toxins are released from your body after a cleanse and how much of a benefit is this? Are juice cleanses really worth it? It seems like they aren’t.

  4. Morgan Alexandria Parker

    I thought this post was really interesting because it was always something I considered and wondered about. I have heard before that they can actually do more harm than help, so it’s nice to get some facts on the situation. I like that you clarified it’s good to start a new lifestyle, but not for long term weight loss. I wonder how often you should do cleanses/if they are ever really necessary for the body? Thanks for the post!

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