Juice cleansing has risen in popularity in recent years, hailed as a fashionable way to detox and lose weight. While there are safe and beneficial ways to juice cleanse, you must understand what you’re doing and why it might be harmful to your health before you start.
What is a juice cleanse?A juice cleanse means consuming nothing but fruit and vegetable juices to detoxify and lose weight. To attempt a juice cleanse, you’ll need a juicer. These appliances squeeze all the juice out of fruits and vegetables while leaving the pulp behind, making them different from blenders or food processors. Some recipes also incorporate superfood powders and supplements to boost mineral intake.
Because this can be very restrictive in terms of food groups, lots of people are sceptical about how healthy juice cleanses are.
How long does a juice cleanse last?
Juice cleanses usually last between one and ten days. The duration of a cleanse can vary depending on the structure you’re following or however long you choose. Some require a programme of store-bought juices while others provide recipes for making your own at home.
If you’re going to try a juice cleanse, we recommend no more than a couple of days. You should also consider speaking to your GP for advice before starting.
The potential benefits of a juice cleanse
There are some potential benefits to trying a juice cleanse, although there is little scientific proof to support these claims.It should come as no surprise that fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals. Drinking juices can make getting a variety of these nutrients into your body simple1. The high vitamin content of fruits and vegetables can also support the immune system and have anti-inflammatory effects. Many advocates claim the method’s ability to flush away toxins from the body. However, it’s not clear what these toxins include2.
The potential risks of a juice cleanse
Juice cleanses a type of crash diet which deprives your body of lots of the nutrients you’d get from a fully balanced diet. While there may be benefits to a short cleanse like this, you should also be aware of the possible side effects before you start.These cleansing diets are usually low in calories, which can mean a temporary weight loss but is unlikely to result in long-lasting change3. Some juice cleanses also include laxatives or beverages which stimulate bowel movement. If you lose too many nutrients this way and don’t replenish them, for example through a balanced diet, you’re likely to become dehydrated and suffer from an electrolyte imbalance4.
Some more symptoms of these low-calorie diets can include:
Last updated: 1 June 2020