Why I don’t believe in juice cleanses

11 Sep 2014

Juicing has become a huge fad with everyone from your best friend to Gwyneth Paltrow recommending to do them. It seems like the whole world has gone mad with this magical cure all that will let you dance with unicorns, touch rainbows and lose heaps of weight in a day. So while juicing can have some very beneficial effects, most people don’t tell you that a juice cleanse has some pretty negative associations that come with it as well.

I get asked all the time whether I believe in juice cleanses and if my detox is only juicing. I’m very happy to say that NO my detox is not juicing. So do I believe in juice cleanses? No, I don’t. Here’s why:

Juicing is a fantastic way to get some extra nutrients into your body if you are not eating a plant heavy diet. When you are juicing only green vegetables then the benefits are immense:

  1. You get a highly concentrated dose of vitamins, minerals and enzymes that rapidly enter the bloodstream. This means that your body doesn’t have to take the time to break down the fiber of the produce in order to get the nutrients.
  2. Juicing can facilitate weight loss due to lowered caloric intake. There have been a growing number of people who have lost dramatic amounts of weight by doing juice cleanses or incorporating a juice a day. (Please note that weight loss from juicing typically happens because you are cutting out junk food which reeks havoc on your body, instead replacing it with juices. I always recommend changing out diet one step at a time for longer lasting results and a more sustainable diet.)
  3. Increased energy levels and clearer skin. With increased nutrients (and typically decreased processed foods) your body begins to function the way it should and that means you no longer need that morning coffee and your skin will clear up, leaving you with a glowing complexion.

However, what you might not realize is the negative effect so juicing:

  1. You can gain weight. If you are juicing only fruit or a higher level of fruit than vegetables you are putting upwards of 50g of sugar into your body in one sitting. That is more than 3 snickers bars, 2 donuts or 2.5 cans of coke. Yes, it is considered ‘healthier’ sugar as it is from fruit (this is called fructose), unfortunately it gets digested similarly to sucrose because you have removed the fiber, which slows down the rate at which the sugar is absorbed into your blood stream. Too much sugar means that your body cannot processes it all at once and in turn it turns excesses sugar into fat storage.
  2. It can slow down your metabolism. When your body doesn’t think it’s going to get food it stores what it has which slows your metabolic rate. Juicing means you are giving your body no food to digest, only liquid which can put your body into starvation mode and hold onto any excess fat.
  3. Possible eating disorders. Now this is not talked about very often, however it’s a pretty big thing that can come from the juice cleanses. When you go on any restrictive diet, you immediately start thinking of food. Dreaming of the possibilities. So when you come off the cleanse, while you might feel good off the bat it’s hard to train your mind to stop thinking about food all the time and it can lead to hard core binging. The other effect of this is if you do see the desired effects, it’s very likely that you can become addicted to certain aspects of juicing, which is not healthy.

So what do I recommend? Eating your fruits and vegetables. Your body needs the fiber and processes the sugar more effectively when eating as a whole piece of produce. If you do want to juice (I do love my green juices) then I always say having one green juice a day is plenty to get those awesome benefits.



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