Do Juice Cleanses Work?

juicingJuice cleansing is a popular and generally discredited diet trend. While true that diets rich in fruits and vegetables are associated with lower disease risk, juice cleanses bring dieters to a nonsensical extreme, relying on fruit and vegetable juice as the only form of nourishment for several days. Some self-proclaimed nutrition experts claim juice cleanses detoxify the body, but our bodies have a liver and a kidney to do that for us. There is no evidence supporting juice cleanses for weight loss, detoxing, or lowering disease risk.

Besides having no benefits…

…Juice cleanses can be harmful. Juicing is a form of starvation because many nutrients are lost in the process: fiber is lost when we remove the pulp and skin, which is why anyone on a juice cleanse will feel hungry and tired. Juices exposed to light even for a short period trigger rapid oxidization, eliminating many of the nutrients found in whole food. The symptoms you’ll feel on a juice cleanse are similar to what you’ll feel when starving because you are starving.

We at Power 20 wholeheartedly advocate a plant-based diet, but that diet only works if it includes whole fruits and vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts, and grains.

Some people swear by juice cleanses.

Yes, putting four of five servings of fruits and vegetables in a single smoothie means you’re probably going to get a ton of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, folate, and B6, in one “meal,” but we can easily achieve the same effect by eating whole fruits and vegetables throughout the day.

Many attribute their weight loss to juicing. Real change is indeed possible when people who go from eating the Standard American Diet (SAD) to a juice-based diet because the SAD is so fattening and unhealthy. This is the same reason why switching to an Atkins diet, mediterranean diet, paleo diet, or gluten free diet can have such a profound effect; anything is better than the SAD.

You’re better off eating whole fruits and vegetables.

Choosing whole fruits and vegetables can also make you fill more full. In one study, participants who ate apples before a meal felt more full and ate less at the meal compared to those who ate the same amount of apples in a juiced form.

Speed may also play a role. Drinking a glass of juice takes up much less time than eating the equivalent amount of fruits and vegetables. In a similar study, researchers found that participants who took time to slowly drink an apple “soup” felt much more full than those who drank the equivalent in a juice form.

Drink Juice The Way You Eat Candy: Sparingly

Juicing should never be a meal replacement or an exclusive nutrition source, but it is fine as an occasional treat or meal enhancer. If you want to juice, do so in moderation and partner it with a balanced diet of plant proteins, healthy fats, and fiber. A tablespoon of flax seeds in the juice, for example, can keep you feeling full two hours after having a smoothie.

Better than juices are smoothies. Choose whole fruits and vegetables or make a filling smoothie, or create a more filling meal or snack by adding some nuts, seeds, or whole-grains. Lastly, be sure to sip it slowly and through a straw, as acid from fruits can erode your enamel as much as drinking a soda would.

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