Juice cleanses have become a trend for dieters who are looking to lose weight quickly. Many websites and blogs promise that consuming an all juice diet will help detoxify your body and help you lose weight quickly. But do they really work? What are the potential risks of this restrictive diet?
Currently, there is no evidence-based research that supports the claims of extreme juice cleanses. Fresh juice can be a healthy addition to a balanced diet, but it cannot serve as your entire diet. Juice contains vitamins and minerals but lacks other important nutrients such as fat, protein and fiber. The carbohydrates in juice provide a quick burst of energy, but this energy is not sustained. Carbohydrates from juice are processed much faster than protein or fat. This puts users at great risk for blood sugar fluctuations. High intake of juice may also lead to unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea. In addition, juice cleanses are extremely low in protein and calories, causing decreased action of the body’s natural detoxification processes. It is important to make sustainable lifestyle changes to progress toward your goal weight. Feeling unsatisfied on a juice cleanse could lead to a binge and eventually weight gain.
The best option to move toward your weight loss goal is to make small changes. Instead of taking away from your diet, try adding essential vitamins and minerals from food. Focus on antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables for all your detoxification needs. Strive for a healthy diet pattern including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, low fat dairy, water and unsaturated fat sources (vegetable oil, avocado, nuts, etc.) Most importantly, find a way to love what you’re eating. Personalize your diet by choosing nutritious foods that you find satisfying.
1. Foroutan R. Whats the Deal with Detox Diets. Eatrightorg. Available at: https://www.eatright.org/health/weight-loss/fad-diets/whats-the-deal-with-detox-diets. Accessed April 2, 2018.
2. Juicing 101: Nutrition Tips for Consumers | Nutrition.gov. Nutritiongov. 2018. Available at: https://www.nutrition.gov/subject/shopping-cooking-meal-planning/juicing-101. Accessed April 2, 2018.
Lisa Beilman is a Senior in Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Pittsburgh. This article was previously published by the University of Pittsburgh.