What Is a Juice Cleanse?

What Is a Juice Cleanse?

Read up on the most recent studies and evidence if you've heard of juice cleanses and are curious about what they are and whether they function as their proponents promise. Juice cleanses experience ups and downs in popularity, particularly around the New Year and in the spring. Juice fasts, commonly referred to as juice cleanses, are detox diets. You only drink vegetable and fruit juice during the cleanse, which lasts anywhere from one to three days. Juice is said by supporters to remove toxins and waste from the body while also flooding it with therapeutic nutrients.

Juice cleanse proponents assert that by eliminating sugar, caffeine, refined foods, and other items that can drain energy from the diet, they are supporting the body's natural detoxification processes. However, there isn't enough evidence to back up these claims, so whatever weight you might lose while on a juice fast is likely to come back once you resume eating normally.

A normal cleanse lasts one to three days, but it is frequently preceded by a preparation phase (three to five days), followed by a post-cleanse return to a solid-food diet.

7-Day Diet Plan

  • Day 1: In the preparation phase, gradually eliminate coffee, refined sugar, meat, dairy products, wheat, alcohol, and nicotine to reduce headaches, cravings, and other withdrawal symptoms during the cleanse.
  • Day 2: Continue eliminating the listed foods. Increase intake of fresh vegetables, fruits, and fluids.
  • Day 3: Consume minimal amounts of restricted foods, and further increase intake of fruits, vegetables, and fluids.
  • Day 4: Once the cleanse begins: 8 oz. green vegetable juice; 8 oz. smoothie with almond milk and berries; apple (if hunger pangs are persistent or uncomfortable); 8 oz. green vegetable juice; 8 oz. vegetable broth; 8 oz. carrot, beet, and apple juice
  • Day 5: 8 oz. green vegetable juice; 8 oz. smoothie with coconut milk and pears; small salad without dressing; 8 oz. green vegetable juice; small portion of carrots and celery; 8 oz. ginger, apple, and cucumber juice
  • Day 6: Post-cleanse, eat lightly. Gradually add foods back in over the course of several days.
  • Day 7: Continue to add calories and previously restricted foods in small amounts.

What You Can Eat

Organic juice that is raw (unpasteurized) is usually suggested for a juice fast. Juices can be created at home or purchased already prepared. You can also drink lukewarm or room temperature water in between each juice or meal to "flush" away pollutants. Juice cleanse supporters favor organically grown food. For those who need additional calories, you can add or swap smoothies and certain healthy snacks. Gluten-free meals and snacks are another option for some people, while others choose just raw or vegan food.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables used to make juices as well as raw vegetables to snack on include:

Nut Milks

Nut milks are often used during juice cleanses to provide additional nutrients and variety. They are drunk alone or mixed with fruits and vegetable juices.

  • Almond milk
  • Cashew milk
  • Coconut milk

Gluten-Free Whole Foods

Gluten-free vegan meals and snacks may be suggested if you are hungry during a cleanse, while you are preparing for a cleanse, or as you transition off a juice cleanse.

  • Whole grains
  • All fruits and vegetables
  • Soy products such as tofu
  • Beans and legumes

What You Cannot Eat

The strictest juice cleanses restrict all solid food, as well as any liquids not made from the compliant fruits, vegetables, and nut milks.

Animal Products

All animal products are excluded from juice cleanses, including dairy, eggs, and foods eaten on a vegetarian diet.

  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Meat
  • Poultry
  • Seafood
  • Fish

Non-Nutritive and Processed Foods

Part of the cleansing process involves removing processed foods and those that do not provide nutrition.

  • Caffeine
  • Sugar
  • Sugary drinks or sweets
  • Fried foods
  • Alcohol

How to Prepare a Juice Cleanse & Tips

Advocates of juice fasts assert that liquid nutrients, phytochemicals, and antioxidants are more easily absorbed by the body. However, there is conflicting evidence on the bioavailability of raw juices compared to that of entire fruits or vegetables. Juice should be consumed slowly to maximize vitamin absorption, according to proponents. Juice is commonly ingested in intervals of two to four hours, with the final drink of the day coming at least three hours before bed.

You ought to limit your physical activity when on a juice fast. While it's wise to scale back your workout regimen while on a juice cleanse, regular activities like walking may improve blood and lymphatic circulation. Try massage treatment, contrast showers, and skin brushing, which can be done while taking a conventional shower, such as Swedish massage, lymphatic drainage, deep tissue massage, and Thai massage. Along with a juice cleanse, other mind-body exercises are frequently advised. By adding mind/body techniques like diaphragmatic breathing, progressive muscular relaxation, or mindfulness meditation, you can put your mind to rest. Attempt to obtain lots of sleep. As soon as you can, go to bed, and if you can, take a nap.

It's a good idea to get ready for any potential emotions. The liver is correlated with rage, the kidneys with fear, and the spleen with concern, according to traditional Chinese medicine. Juice cleansing proponents contend that as the body's organs are cleansed, old emotions may surface and leave the body, although there isn't any proof of this.  Some people find it easier to make juice at the beginning or end of the day and to prepare enough for one whole day. Although you should consume juice as close to the time of juicing as possible, you can store juice temporarily in covered glass or BPA-free cups or bottles.

Pros of the Juice Cleanse Diet

While proponents of a juice cleanse tout the benefits of this fasting plan, there is limited research to back the health claims. However, increasing your fresh fruit and vegetable juices can be part of a healthy diet.

  • Improved health: Since fruits and vegetables are rich in nutrients, drinking fresh juice boosts the intake of vitamins, minerals, and other anti-inflammatory compounds. These micronutrients may help support immunity and improve overall health. For example, a 2017 study found that subjects had higher general well-being scores after following a 3-day juice fast. Researchers suggested this was partly due to the juice-based diet altering the gut microbiome.
  • Increased energy: Some people report feeling more energetic after a juice cleanse. This could be partly due to the energy-boosting nutrients in fruits and vegetables combined with a decrease in "energy zappers," such as sugary coffee and foods with added sugars.
  • Reduced dehydration: Another way a juice cleanse might increase energy is by reducing dehydration. Many people don't drink the recommended amount of fluids (9 to 13 cups daily). This can leave you feeling fatigued. Drinking juice all day can help reduce this effect.
  • Toxin elimination: Several fruits and veggies are recognized as natural detoxifiers. Among them are cruciferous vegetables, celery, grapefruit, and berries. Still, some researchers question how to properly test whether detox diets improve bodily function by eliminating toxins. Until more research can be conducted, it's difficult to say what long-term effects this type of diet has.
  • Better digestion: Raw juice contains enzymes that may improve digestion. Freshly squeezed orange juice, for instance, influences pH and acidity in the digestive system. Leafy greens have also been found to improve gut microbiota.

Cons of the Juice Cleanse Diet

While drinking freshly juiced fruits and vegetables may have many health benefits, consuming nothing but juice for three days or more is not necessarily healthy or sustainable in the long term. Any health benefits gained are only temporary.

  • Promotes unhealthy eating habits: A 2017 research review determined that juicing or detoxification diets work for quick weight loss but tend to lead to weight gain once a regular diet is resumed. A juice cleanse a short-term fast that severely restricts calories and labels many solid foods as "unhealthy," which could lead to disordered eating. Additionally, research shows that a juice cleanse may pose certain health risks.
  • May cause kidney stones: Many juices are made from dark, leafy greens and beets. These two foods are high in oxalate, which may cause kidney stones and other problems.
  • May cause low blood sugar: The juice cleanse is low in calories and may cause low blood sugar, which can be dangerous for people with diabetes and hypoglycemia. Symptoms of low blood sugar include dizziness, fainting, weakness, shakiness, headaches, and hunger.
  • May cause bacterial infections: Drinking unpasteurized juice or juice that has not been otherwise treated to kill bacteria can make some people sick.16 This is mainly a problem for people with chronic illnesses, older people, and young children.1 If you are making your own juice, wash the produce properly before juicing. Store unused juice in a tightly sealed container and drink within 24 hours.

Is a Juice Cleanse a Healthy Choice for You?

Juice cleansing is not advised as a long-term weight loss plan but can offer a temporary boost for beginning a new healthy eating routine or a quick reset after a few days of indulgence. While a three-day juice fast may result in temporary weight loss, it does not impart the knowledge or abilities necessary for long-term weight management, such as proper meal planning and preparation. A healthy, balanced diet should include a variety of vegetables, fruits, grains, lean meats, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, dairy products, and oils every day, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.