You’ve heard about the juicing craze. Juice bars are popping up everywhere, from the mall to the gym. And the latest trend are juice cleanses. Juice cleanses involve only drinking juice for a designated period of time, typically ranging from 3 to 10 days. There are different opinions on whether juice cleanses are necessary, helpful, or harmful. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of a juice cleanse, as well as some potential risks, so you can determine if a juice cleanse is the right choice for you.
Benefits of a Juice Cleanse
If you’re going to do a juice cleanse, you should go into it with realistic expectations. Some prepackaged juice cleanses promise miracle results like the reversal of disease. There really is no evidence to support those claims. While juicing can have health benefits, it is not a cure-all. That being said, juicing itself is a very good way to pack a lot of micronutrients and antioxidants into one glass. By juicing your fruits and vegetables, you’ll be able to take in a larger quantity of these nutrients than you would likely be able to eat. While there isn’t a great deal of scientific evidence about the effectiveness of juice cleanses, people who have done them have sung the praises of benefits they have experienced, such as:
- Weight loss
- Increased amounts of health-promoting bacteria
- Lowered amounts of bacteria that can cause illness
- An immune system boost
- Overall health boost
Potential Risks of a Juice Cleanse
While many report having seen positive results from a juice cleanse, there can also be possible risks you should be aware of, such as:
- Many plants contain an organic acid called oxalate, which contains nephrotoxin, which can contribute to kidney issues. Therefore, drinking large amounts of juice may be harmful to people who are predisposed to kidney problems. If you choose to do a juice cleanse, it may be helpful to look into the amount of oxalate you’re consuming each day.
- While you may lose weight during a juice cleanse, it is usually short-lived. The reason for the weight loss is due to the lack of calories you’re consuming. In addition, your body may adjust to fewer calories consumed during the juice cleanse by slowing your metabolism. Then, once you return to your normal eating patterns, any weight lost may reappear.
- If you’re going to do a juice cleanse, be sure to only consume juices that are pasteurized, or that have been treated for bacteria. Unpasteurized juice puts you at a greater risk for illness, especially if you’re older or have a weakened immune system.
- Some juice cleanses contain laxatives or other chemicals that stimulate the bowels. These can make you lose too many nutrients with bowel movements, which can lead to imbalanced electrolyte levels and dehydration.
- If your juice cleanse contains a high concentration of fruit, it probably also has a high concentration of sugar. This might result in fluctuations in blood sugar levels, causing them to peak and then plummet. This can cause your energy level to crash and you may actually find yourself craving carbohydrate-rich foods.
- Some juice cleanses do not contain enough calories for your body’s well-being. An insufficient number of calories can cause low blood sugar levels, a lack of energy, fainting, weakness, and headaches.
Should I Do a Juice Cleanse?
So, what’s the verdict? There really is no right or wrong answer when it comes to juice cleanses. There is a big difference between juicing as part of a balanced, health-supportive eating plan and doing a juice cleanse by itself. When you do a juice cleanse, although you’re giving your body healthful juices that are rich in many nutrients, they can also be quite deficient in other essential ingredients, such as protein and fat. If juice cleanses are taken to the extreme, it can lead to nutritional deficiencies and health problems.
Juicing itself can be a wonderful thing. It can provide your body with a megadose of healthful nutrients. However, juices can be deficient in other nutrients. So, if you’re drinking juice as part of a total balanced diet, the benefits can be plentiful; however, an extended diet of only juice may not be the best choice. Having a balance of nutrients is essential to regulate bodily processes and support good health.
Whether or not you do a juice cleanse is a personal choice you have to make. If you’re considering a juice cleanse, go into it with realistic expectations. And always speak to your doctor first.
The friendly and knowledgeable physicians at Carlisle Digestive Disease Associates are here to help you with all your digestive issues. If you’re interested in a juice cleanse but worried about the risks to you, please call our office at (717) 245-2228 or request an appointment online.