Juice Cleansing: The Truth About “Detox”

It’s easy to pick up a bunch of cold-pressed, organic concoctions promising to rid our bodies of our food sins and restore us to the pinnacle of health when we slip up with our nutrition. But is there truth in detoxing with fresh juices? What does the trendy juice detox you’re considering really do for your health? Let’s bust the myths about juice cleansing and dive into some healthier alternatives.

Detox isn’t really a thing.

Lucky for you, the best way to detox your body is to:

  • Own a liver
  • Own a kidney (preferably two)
  • Keep up your water intake
  • If you’re reading this, we imagine you’re already set on at least two of three!

Yup, the body is already miraculously designed to process the bad things out of our bodies and make sure we get rid of them. Consuming any type of exotic superfoods or tonics won’t improve or speed up this process.

So what does a juice cleanse usually mean?

When starting a juice cleanse, you usually purchase a bundle of juices set to last you a few days. During these days you essentially fast, other than drinking several juices at designated times throughout the day. These juices are usually made by a combination of fruit and vegetables which are stripped of everything but the sugar and some (not all) water-soluble nutrients by pressing out only the juice. Thus, leaving the rest behind (a.k.a. the fiber). When this happens, you’re losing more than half of the important nutrients and the part that helps you digest produce slowly. Pumping your body full of (natural) sugar with nothing else still puts your body into a roller coaster of sugar highs and lows, much like processed foods full of sugar. Because the juices lack nutrients like fiber, protein, and fat to keep this sugar release slow, you’re more likely to end up having huge sugar crashes that leave you feeling cranky and fatigued. This also means your body has to start breaking down other sources of fuel in the body to keep things going. This process eventually messes with your metabolism long term and makes it more difficult to lose weight or keep stable energy levels.

What should I do instead?

Let’s say you still love the idea of superfood juices because it’s the only way to get them in your diet. That’s totally fine as long as you’re combining it with other healthy foods and you’re NOT fasting. As a healthier alternative, try taking the same fruit and veggie combinations and blending them with water instead of pressing them to make juice. With a high-speed blender, you’ll get the same consistency as juice but you won’t miss out on any of the fiber and nutrients. Now you can eat all the fruits and veggies your body deserves and get that extra water you need to keep your insides happy.

Lindsey Gass

Lindsey Gass, RD, LD/N is a registered dietitian in Miami, FL. With a bachelor’s degree from Florida International University, Lindsey has years of experience in clinical, sports, long term care, and community nutrition. Lindsey currently works in critical care at Jackson Memorial Hospital, where she provides nutrition support and participates in trauma research. Outside of her career, Lindsey is an avid runner and Nike run club pacer working towards qualifying for a Boston marathon. Follow Lindsey on Instagram at @lin.health for nutrition tips and tricks. Learn more about Youfit’s Registered Dietician