Natural juice can help detoxify and purify the body, we have all heard of them. Certainly most of us want a healthier lifestyle, but how effective can it be? Juicing cleanses promise health benefits and weight loss, and it sounds like an opportunity to consume more fruits and vegetables in our diet in a fun and interesting way.

What is a juice detox and how do you know if you need it?

Juice detox is often used interchangeably with ” juice fasting ,” in which you can choose to only drink a wide variety of fruit and vegetable juices for an allotted period of time. Not only does it mean eliminating solid foods and replacing them with fresh juice, unless you want to invest a lot of money in pre-made juices, you will most likely have to juice at home.

The detox juices are used to detoxify the body of toxins and “bad foods” have been consumed for a long period of time. People often use these cleansing juices after a long vacation, or perhaps after a particularly difficult life situation. It is not uncommon for a cleanse to be done as a way to “reset” or start over if you are trying to change your lifestyle.

The cool part about the juice detox is how long it takes to do one. Unlike other diets, the juice cleanse can take literally a day to two months, depending on what you are trying to do or the health goals you are trying to achieve. However, it is recommended that you do not perform a juice cleanse for more than 60 days if it is the first time that you are going to integrate them into your diet.

It is important to note that no two detox juices are the same. There are detox juices for diabetes, to lose weight, to increase energy or simply to try it with simple recipes. As mentioned above, many people consume them for a day or two to regulate their health cycle after a few days of indulgent food.

There are also several styles of juicing diets that involve eating soups and salads as a way to make the radical change in diet less “intense”. So based on whatever you’re looking for, you can tailor a juice detox to suit your unique needs.

Pros and cons of doing a juice cleanse

Although there are many advantages to juicing, as with any detox, there will almost always be drawbacks as well. Your body will react to any change in the normal diet, and a juice cleanse (even for a short period of time too) is an intense effort.

That means you need to be well prepared for what’s to come, including side effects, benefits, and even lifestyle adjustments (i.e. buying a large number of products, considering buying a juicer, making them, not giving up, etc. .)

  • Pro:  You get your daily intake of fruits and vegetables much easier and faster than normal. A single serving of juice (depending on the type of juice cleanse you’re doing, which could be 8 to 20 oz. Per serving) has many servings of fruits and vegetables.
  • Cons:  You lose fiber from your diet. Yes, some fruits and vegetables have fiber, but if you drink juice for long periods of time, you don’t get the high fiber content from a regular diet that is necessary for a well-balanced health regimen.
  • Pro:  You can lose weight when you cleanse using juices. Many studies have shown that most people lose weight if they use detox juices for a week. Juicing all of those fruits and vegetables, along with a temporary lifestyle change, can get your body responding in a big way.
  • Cons:  Weight loss results are not for everyone. When you are drinking juice, especially the first three days, you will feel hungry. Switching to a full liquid cleanse is not easy, and you will be tempted to eat to feel satisfied. And because some juices don’t have significant amounts of protein, if you’re trying to build lean muscle mass, you’re out of luck.
  • Pro:  You will have much healthier skin, hair and nails. When you do a detox, you are digesting a concentrated amount of vitamins and minerals daily, and your body thanks you for it.
  • Cons:  You can end up consuming more sugar in your juices if you’re not careful. Because juice removes insoluble fiber from fruits and vegetables, you can get a load of sugar without the fiber that normally slows sugar absorption. So stay away from eating too many sweet fruits. Follow the 80/20 rule, or 80% vegetables and only 20% fruits in your recipes to avoid this type of sugar overload.
  • Pro:  There is a lot of variety. When you drink juice, you are not drinking the same three fruits and vegetables every day. The world has many varieties and styles of fresh fruits, seeds, and vegetables, so take advantage of it to experiment with different levels of sweetness and flavors. Juicing helps you try new things.
  • Cons:  If you’re not careful, it can get expensive. Remember, when you juice, you pack a lot more fruits and vegetables together. Typically you will eat a fraction of the entire product. And because many juice recipes require you to buy organic food, things can add up really quickly.

Juicing a detox isn’t for everyone , but it has many advantages if you decide to take the challenge and the disadvantages are avoidable. Whether you decide to supplement your diet with more juices, or go for the 30-day challenge like a pro, juice cleaners provide a way to get to know your body better and “reset” it for a healthier lifestyle.

Important: It is recommended that a nutrition professional evaluate your medical history, as well as a doctor to assess your health before starting the juice detox.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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