Juice Cleanses: 6 Myths Busted


Juice cleanses are special diets where much or all nourishment is consumed in the form of fruit or vegetable juices. The typical juice cleanse is short-term — usually less than two weeks and sometimes as little as a few days — but very strict.

For decades, the benefits of juice cleanses have been an article of faith among health enthusiasts. We’re told that a juice cleanse rests the digestive tract, removes toxins, and boosts your immune system.

Because juice cleanses result in fairly rapid weight loss (so conventional wisdom has it) they can help kick-start a new diet. There have always been dissenting voices, those who viewed juice cleanses as potentially doing more harm than good.

Now a growing body of evidence suggests that the skeptics may have been right all along. Here are six popular myths about juice fasts.

1. A juice cleanse detoxifies the body

From additives and contaminants in our food to smog in our air, most of us are exposed to many toxic substances every day. That said, two questions remain: do “toxins” really build up in our bodies, and can a juice fast help to get rid of them?

We’re certainly exposed to toxic substances, but this has been true throughout human history. Many water sources contain naturally occurring traces of poisons such as arsenic.

Common foods also contain toxins: kidney beans, for example, have notoriously dangerous alkaloids that must be removed by soaking. In addition, our bodies generate toxins as byproducts of normal metabolic processes. These are all dealt with by our liver and kidneys.

Can a juice cleanse detoxify your system? In fact, it could have the opposite effect. A juice cleanse is apt to cause the digestive system and metabolism to slow down, meaning that unhealthy substances stay in the body for longer.

Glutathione (an antioxidant that plays a significant role in liver function) is depleted when you fast, further slowing the rate at which your body processes toxins.

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