As Spring hobbles into view, we're already prepping ourselves for the summer months and shaking off the last of the winter colds. Juice cleanses sound like a perfect idea to boost health, shed the winter stodge and up that vitamin intake.
Do juice cleanses actually benefit our bodies though?
The concept is simply to replace a normal diet with the juice squeezed from fruit or vegetables. The theory is that going juice-only will rest your digestive system, detox it and ‘reset’ it, allowing good bacteria to thrive.
There have only been small studies into juice cleanses, and they have yet to produce any positive evidence. The digestive system only needs to be rested after gastric surgery, not when someone is in normal health. Similarly, healthy kidneys and liver do all the detoxing that the body requires unless someone is abusing alcohol or drugs.
Restricting food intake to a limited selection of items can mean that allergic or intolerance symptoms stop, as the trigger food is simply not there. Careful selection of the juiced fruit or vegetable can also result in a reduced calorie intake and so possible weight loss.
Juiced fruit or vegetables have none of the dietary fibre that is an essential part of digestion. Taking in too much fruit can mean too much sugar, which is a risk to anyone with diabetes. The combination of less fibre and more sugar can actually upset your digestion, which is not the required effect. A juice fast is also risky behaviour for anyone with a history of disordered eating.
Registered dieticians are the real professionals, and they advise caution with juicing. There’s nothing wrong with a glass of fresh juice, but overall a balanced normal diet is probably the best bet.
I am an advocate. I did all of March this year on juice only. For 5 months before, I stopped alcohol intake. For 2 weeks before I stopped caffeine, to lessen the impact of just switching on day 1. I lost 10kg in 28 days. I went from BMI of 27 to 24. My resting heart rate went from 65 to 58 bpm. I now tend to have 1 or 2 days a week just purely on juice. For me this helped me to shift that remaining body fat to move into the healthy BMI category and helped me to look at nutrition slightly differently : it made me appreciate just how much choice we have with foods available to us; how much we generally just consume without thinking about the content; and how much people tend to over consume. Your article talks about resetting the digestive system, but I would say the value is more in resetting one's psychological relationship with food. You will probably find you use the expression "I'm starving" slightly less liberally afterwards too. :-)
diplomatic as the article is.... all the reputable sources (the ones not trying to sell anything) say that the concepts of internal cleansing and detox are nonsense. Have fruit juice if you enjoy it - not too much of it of course, like anything.
It's crazy now that we used to think this sort of thing was healthy. Nutrition has come a long way in the last 10 years.
I think juice cleanses are going out of fashion now that people are becoming more aware of the sugar load of fruit,. So i certainly wouldn't bother.
reading between the lines it looks as if the simple answer is 'no'! Everything I read says that 'cleanse' is for bathtime.