The Truth About Juice 'Cleanses'
Ro Huntriss - EXALT Clinical Lead Dietitian
A Guide to Juice Cleanses
We are often asked the question, "are juice cleanses safe, and are they healthy?". Our Clinical Lead Dietitian, Ro Huntriss, shares her thoughts in this guide. Here is the essential information you need to know about juice cleanses.
Table of Contents
- What is a Juice Cleanse?
- Are Juice Cleanses Healthy?
- Do Juice Cleanses Work?
- Can You Lose Weight from a Juice Cleanse?
- How to Do A Juice Cleanse
What is a Juice 'Cleanse'?
A juice cleanse is generally marketed as a ‘detox’ diet where liquefied fruit and vegetables are consumed for a short period of time. These juice cleanses often come with claims of weight loss, detoxing the body, supercharging your energy levels and boosting your immunity. Choosing the right way to take part in juice cleanses: with juices made for juice cleanses can be a way to support your health and mindset.While these ‘cleanses’ are not always what they make out to be, they can be a way to reassess your diet, lifestyle, and make a change to begin healthy habits going forward.
Are Juice Cleanses Healthy?
Juice cleanses can be healthy. However, depending on how you go about taking part, they may not be as healthy as they seem.
It’s important to choose the best cold pressed juices, made from quality ingredients and containing all the juice cleanse benefits you need.
Juice cleanses typically consist of just of fruit juice and water. This leaves you feeling hungry, tired & can cause nutritional deficiencies.
LOW IN PROTEIN
Juice cleanse diets lack protein, which is required for maintenance of muscle mass. Another reason why we need protein is to support the body with growth, repair and hormone production. Not intaking enough protein can lead to unwanted health problems.
Juice cleanses may come with claims of 'detoxing' the body. They may suggest you’ll be looking & feeling younger, with supercharged energy levels and 'boosted’ immunity. However, these claims are unlikely to be backed by any reliable, peer-reviewed studies.
Weight loss through many juice cleanses is because you are not eating enough or getting enough calories per day. When you finish, it can mean that any weight you may have lost returns, as your body protects itself against future shocks.
Potentially Harmful to Your Health
A juice cleanse diet made up exclusively of juice may not contain the essential nutrients needed for daily bodily health. Juice cleanse drinks often lack fibre. This means the sugar content is absorbed into the blood quickly, thus increasing the potential for harmful side effects.
Do Juice Cleanses Work?
Along with there being a lack of scientific evidence to show that juice cleanse diets can significantly benefit our health, they could in fact be harmful. Consuming fruit and vegetables in the form of juices is not bad for you. Juices do contain antioxidant nutrients and folate (1), and they can increase your nutritional intake. However, a diet made up exclusively of juice is often deficient in protein, healthy fats, vitamin B12, and fibre.
When juiced, fruit and vegetables lose the majority of their fibre. This means the sugar content is absorbed into the blood quickly. This can increase the risk of hunger, mood swings and cravings (2). All of these are undesirable consequences of following a juice cleanse.
Juice cleanse diets also lack protein which is required for maintenance of muscle mass as well as to support the body with growth and repair as well as hormone production. Consuming too little protein can also result in anaemia, physical weakness, oedema and impaired immunity (3). Protein and fibre also help keep us feeling full, so it is important that your juice cleanse include these essential ingredients.
Claims that a juice cleanse can ‘detoxify’ the body are not accurate. Detoxification is a process that is carried out in a highly sophisticated way by our liver, kidneys, lungs and colon to remove toxins such as ammonia, waste products, drugs and alcohol. There is no scientific evidence to suggest diet can aid these processes (4).
A further unpleasant side effect of juicing can be diarrhoea; juice enthusiasts often suggest this is a sign your body is ridding itself of toxic substances. However, this is not the case. The reason for this side effect is because of the high fructose content of the juice cleanse. This can lead to poor water absorption, therefore risking electrolyte imbalance, headaches, and fatigue.
Can You Lose Weight from a Juice Cleanse?
Many people may use a cleanse as a method to lose weight, as well as other methods such as intermittent fasting. Juice cleanse diets provide a very low calorie content compared to what our bodies require. Therefore, you may lose weight when following such a “detox”. This is because you are in a significant calorie deficit. You may lose fat mass but you could also lose water mass too. When you follow a low-carbohydrate diet such as a juice cleanse, your body may drop water weight.
Water is generally used to store carbohydrates in the body in the form of glycogen. When our carbohydrate intake drops, our glycogen stores are depleted. This means the water is no longer needed to store it, resulting in a water weight loss.
Due to this major calorie restriction, juice cleanses are often only sustainable for a short amount of time. These intense diets should not be followed for a prolonged period of time due to the insufficient nutrient provision they can offer. Your body isn’t getting all the essential vitamins and minerals it needs, such as vitamin D. Inevitably, many find that they quickly return to their usual eating habits and patterns before too long. This usually means any weight loss experienced from a juice cleanse is unsustainable and temporary.
How to Do A Juice Cleanse
A juice cleanse can be done in a healthy, balanced way. They may help you feel on track of your diet, exercise, and lifestyle. It’s important to go about them in the right way. EXALT’s high protein juice cleanses are designed by our Clinical Lead Dietitian to contribute to a healthier, sustainable weight loss technique.
- Try the EXALT Reset for a 14 day juice cleanse, with a tailored meal plan and ongoing support. Try the EXALT Life juice cleanse, and choose from 1 to 14 days of great tasting juices and protein smoothies to guide you through.
- Try the EXALT Life juice cleanse, and choose from 1 to 14 days of great tasting juices and protein smoothies to guide you through.
Our fresh meal replacement drinks contain all the nutritional support you need to replace a meal, and keep working out alongside your cleanse.
Losing Weight Healthily
Losing weight at a realistic pace for you is the healthiest way to reach a healthy weight and to maintain this long-term. It is recommended that to lose on average 1 lb per week, you need to create a calorie deficit of 500 calories per day.
General advice recommends eating three regular, balanced meals, whilst exercising portion control, and substituting high-calorie food for healthier, lower-calorie alternatives. Exercising alongside this can further help to aid weight loss and keep you healthy, helping you to reach your goals. Practising the 3 R’s of exercise recovery with post workout recovery is essential to staying on target and healthy at the same time.
If you have any health conditions or take medication, you should seek advice from a registered dietitian, nutritionist or your GP before embarking on any weight loss intervention and before taking part in a juice cleanse.
EXALT Smoothies & Protein Powder
At EXALT, we specialise in great tasting drinks and nutritional blends to support your healthy lifestyle alongside your workout. From breakfast smoothies to start the day, to pre-workout and protein powder, try our recipes designed by experts.
One EXALT high protein smoothie provides all 9 essential amino acids, as well as a range of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and all three macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats). Its three-phase release of the protein can help to keep you feeling fuller for longer with a sustained protein release over seven hours to stave off hunger and cravings.
Healthier Weight Loss from exalt
Our weight loss plans are designed by our clinical-lead dietitian for healthier, sustainable weight loss. We have two types of plan below.
Say buh-bye to yoyo dieting baby! 👋🏼🙅🏻♀️
About The Author
Ro Huntriss - EXALT clinical lead dietitian & nutritionist
BSc (Hons), PGDip, MSc, MRes, RD
We’ve been working with Ro as our clinical lead dietitian and nutritionist from the very beginning, to ensure our juices and smoothies provide everything your body needs to lead a nutritious and healthy, balanced lifestyle.
She is a UK Registered Dietitian with several years’ experience working in the NHS, private practice and commercial business. She is an academic author, having published in peer-reviewed journals including the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
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