Last Updated: 10th October 2016
Detoxing with a juice cleanse is the fashionable way to slim down, flush toxins from your body, and “reset your metabolism”. Detox diets, and cleanses have become so popular, in fact, that dozens of different options have sprung up–the Cleanse 9, 7-Day Detox, Master Cleanse, and the list goes on.
But hang on just a pea-pickin’ minute! Before you think about doing a juice cleanse or detox, do you even know what happens to your body when you go on an incredibly low-calorie, veggie and fruit juice-only diet?
Below, you’ll find out everything you need to know about detox diets, what they ARE and AREN’T, and tips on how to do them right. By the end, you will be educated on how to cleanse safely and detox your body using juice fast…
The Truth About Detox Diets
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No doubt you’ve heard of all the AMAZING benefits of detox diets and juice cleanses. These benefits include:
- Weight loss
- Fat burning
- Faster metabolism
- Enhanced mental clarity and focus
- Reset appetite
- Breaking unhealthy eating habits
- Eliminate toxins
- Improved digestive health
They all sound pretty awesome, right? All great reasons to do a detox or juice cleanse.
Here’s a dose of harsh reality for you: there is ZERO scientific evidence to prove that detox diets and juice fasts are actually good for your health.
All of these juice diets make wild claims about the benefits of detoxing or cleansing, but the science they have to back it up is sparse at best.
They point to the health of fruits and veggies. Sure, fruits and veggies are very good for your health, but you also need protein, fat, fiber, starch, and other nutrients you can’t get from the fruits and veggies included in a juice fast/cleanse/detox.
They point to the benefits of fasting. Fasting, particularly intermittent fasting, can benefit your body in many ways: enhancing HGH production, promoting cellular repair, decreasing insulin levels, and belly fat loss. However, this is short-term fasting (no more than periods of 48 hours at a time, usually closer to 16 to 24 hours). The long-term fasting of a juice cleanse will NOT offer the same benefits to your body.
They point to the benefits of increased fluid intake. On a healthy diet, drinking more water can help to suppress your appetite, keep you full, and reduce calorie intake. But your body isn’t designed to thrive on liquid alone. You need solid food to function properly.
On the flip side, there is a staggering amount of evidence to point to the dangers of juice cleanses and detox diets. Here are just a few of the links where you can find information on why you’d be better off not doing juice cleanse:
- Detoxing/juice cleanses don’t do anything for your digestive system, and they do very little to enhance the detoxification process. (Live Science)
- Detoxing/juice cleanses’ don’t help your body get more nutrients from the food you eat. They are unsafe starvation diets, and they are not a quick fix for weight loss or dietary problems. (Live Science)
- Detoxing/juice cleanses can be dangerous over the long-term, and they can cause you to gain weight rather than lose it. (Berkeley Wellness)
- Detoxing/juice cleanses have no positive effect on circulation, blood pressure, or heart health, and can lead to serious health problems. (WebMD)
- Detoxing/juice cleanses can lead to muscle breakdown, nutritional deficiencies, and reduced immune function. (NBC News)
Who Are Juice Cleanses For?
You may be thinking, “Sure, there’s all this evidence against juice fasts/detox diets, but if they were so bad, why would they be popular? There has to be some reason why these diets are everywhere?”
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Well, let’s put aside the fact that juice cleanses/detox diets make some big (read: wild and inaccurate) claims about their benefits. Let’s be as objective as possible and examine who could benefit from juice cleanse:
Someone with bad eating habits. A few days of ONLY drinking fruits and veggies could help you to start eating healthier and making better food choices.
Chronic overeaters. People who rely on food for comfort and happiness may benefit from changing up their eating habits for a few days.
People who eat a lot of sugar and processed foods. Both sugar and artificial foods are highly addictive substances. Over time, your body starts to crave them. A juice fast/detox diet can help to get rid of these desires and promote healthier food choices.
If you fall into any of the above three categories, juice cleanse may be for you.
Note: If your goal is weight loss, fat burning, metabolism boosting, or managing a disease, you’re juice fasting/detoxing for the wrong reasons!
The Secret to a Healthy Juice Cleanse
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Putting your body on a Very-Low-Calorie Diet (VLCD) like a detox or juice cleanse can have serious negative repercussions. However, as mentioned above, Intermittent Fasting (a long period of fasting between shorter periods of eating) can benefit your body in some ways:
- Improve cellular repair, hormone production, and gene expression
- Promote weight loss, specifically fat loss
- Reduce insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes
- Prevent inflammation and oxidative stress
- Enhance cardiovascular health and circulation
- Boost brain health
If you want to do to a smart juice fast/detox diet, you should approach it with the mindset of intermittent fasting instead of hardcore starvation/detoxing.
For example, you can drink ONLY fruit and veggie juices for 24 hours. This will help to detox your body and restore healthy function. For the following 8 hours, eat small, well-balanced meals. Follow that up with a 16-hour period of fasting (water only).
Repeat this 48-hour cycle of cleansing/eating/fasting, and you can obtain all the benefits of fasting without the downsides that come from a “normal” juice cleanse/detox diet. Check out alcohol detox drink recipes here.
Tips to Help You Survive a Juice Cleanse
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We’ve given you all the facts about the pros and cons of juice cleanses/detox diets, and it’s up to you to decide if you want to go through with it or not. If you choose to undergo a multi-day detox diet or juice fast, below we’ve compiled a few tips to make it the most effective cleanse/detox diet possible.
You can’t just decide to go on a detox diet/juice cleanse from one day to the next. It will take some preparation:
- Stock up on fruits and veggies. For fruits, you want a lot of apples, pears, oranges, lemons, pineapples, and watermelon. Fruits like peaches, plums, and mangoes are loaded with sugar. For veggies, get a lot of dark leafy greens, celery, and carrots. These are the greens that will taste best in the juices, and they’re high in minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. You’ll need A LOT of veggies to get through a few days of detoxing, so make sure your fridge is full.
- Clear out junk food. You’re going to be very tempted to cheat on your detox diet, as your body will crave sugar, fat, protein, and artificial ingredients. The best way to avoid cheating is to remove temptation. Clear out your fridge, hide snacks, and throw away any unhealthy foods.
- Plan it for the right time. If you are detoxing while at work, you’ll be tired and cranky. If you’re doing a shorter detox, plan it for a 3- or 4-day weekend. If you’re going on a 7- to 10-day detox, plan it during the holidays when you don’t have to go to work.
These smart preparations will help you get through the juice cleanse/detox diet alive!
Remember the WHY
Remember that you’re NOT doing this diet to lose weight or burn fat. If you’re going on a juice cleanse/detox for that reason, you’re going to be sadly disappointed when you don’t see the expected results.
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Instead, focus on the fact that you’re trying to eat healthy, adjust your appetites, and eliminate unhealthy foods from your diet. It’s meant to be a change in your lifestyle and food preferences that will have long-term benefits to your overall health.
While you’re on the diet, it’s a good idea to do a bit of exercise. Go walking for 30 minutes, take a short 10-minute jog, or do some moderate bodyweight training. This will help to boost your metabolism and increase calorie burning during your diet.
However, it’s vital that you don’t overdo it! You’re going to have very little energy thanks to the fact that you’re eating next to nothing. If you push your body too hard, you can pass out mid-workout. Stick with very mild to moderate exercise until you’re back to eating solid food.
Rest A LOT
You’re going to be very tired during the juice cleanse/detox diet. This is the result of not eating enough calories or getting a proper balance of nutrients. Most of the energy you get from your juices will go to keeping your brain, organs, and internal functions working properly, so you won’t be able to do much else.
During your detox/juice cleanse, plan to spend most of your time in front of the TV/computer, reading, or taking naps. You may find that the detox headaches make it hard to concentrate on work, so it’s better to take time off for detoxing/cleansing.
Listen to Your Body
Feeling aches or pains in your muscles, joints, or bones? Got a headache that refuses to go away? Too tired to get out of bed in the morning? All of these signs are your body screaming at you “FEED ME!”
Your body needs food and energy to function. During the “starvation” period of the juice fast, alarms are going to be going off in your various internal functions, systems, and organs. You need to pay attention to the warning signs. If you’re not careful, you can do irreparable damage to your body.
There are a few symptoms that are a normal side effect of the diet:
- Brain fog
- Concentration troubles
- Bad breath
- Bowel disturbances/diarrhea
- Hunger pangs and cravings
You should expect these symptoms to set in once you start the diet, but it’s vital that you take note of them. If they get out of control, it could be your body’s way of telling you that the juice diet/detox is causing serious problems.
If the symptoms have set in, it may be time to end the juice cleanse–or at least put it on pause. Eat a light meal, complete with healthy fats, lean protein, and complex carbohydrates. Just a few hundred calories of “normal food” will be enough!
Ease in and Out
Your body may struggle to deal with sudden changes in your diet, especially if that change involves reducing your diet to 500 to 800 calories per day of ONLY fruits, veggies, and water.
If you want to make the detox/juice cleanse easier on your body, ease into the diet:
T-Minus Day 5: Eliminate all artificial foods and alcohol from your diet.
T-Minus Day 4: Replace one of your daily meals with a fruit/veggie juice.
T-Minus Day 3: Limit yourself to 200 calories’ worth of carbs.
T-Minus Day 2: Cut all carbs from your diet.
T-Minus Day 1: Eat mostly fruits and veggies, with a bit of protein.
Takeoff: Start with the first day of your fruit-and-veggie-juice-only diet.
This gradual change in your diet will make it easier for your body to acclimate to the Very Low-Calorie Diet.
When ending the diet, do the same thing in reverse. Your digestive system will have grown accustomed to only liquids so it will rebel if you suddenly add a lot of protein, fats, and complex carbs. Ease back into eating normal food, and you’ll avoid a lot of digestive problems.
While doing a detox, it is important to know what combinations work for you. And keep in mind the great health benefits it would give you not only while you’re in the process but also long after you’re done.
If you’re looking for a good and effective detox supplement we suggest PurityLabs Colon Complete Cleanse and Detox it is specifically formulated to enhance your weight loss program with traditional herbs that aid in digestion and eliminate harmful waste. It can also increase your metabolism resulting in natural and safe weight loss.