juiceJuice cleanses have been a popular trend in the get healthy quick world.  A healthy body isn’t made over night, but neither is disease.  You have to put the effort in either way – to be healthy or to not be healthy.

I have heard people rationalize that juice cleansing has been practiced for centuries to heal the sick, but before you buy that one, you need to look at the facts.  People had been blood-letting for centuries, and just because you aren’t dying from juice cleanses doesn’t mean it’s good for your health.

Most people that do juice cleanses say they feel better and have more energy and get a clear mind.  The truth to these results isn’t about the juice.

1) They eat less

We all eat way too much in this over stimulated, over processed, super-sized world.  Cutting back on food consumption and caffeine intake WILL be a relief to your body, because you are giving it an opportunity to do less work, to slow down, and take a much needed vacation from trying to cleanse your blood and eliminate all of the toxic overload that is the norm, this itself, will translate to having more energy.  Removing clutter from your diet, allows you to function at a higher level, and this creates more room for clarity and creativity.

 2) They have more awareness about their body

You get in touch with your body when you don’t overload it with junk calories.  This is good because you can start to learn what your body is really saying to you. There will be times when you think you are hungry and discover you were only thirsty or you were just bored or procrastinating.  Being aware of your true needs is an important first step to health.  However, many people who choose a juice cleanse want a quick fix and when the cleanse is over they quickly lose sight of this connection they briefly had to their body.

These same benefits can be achieved in other ways that is better for your body and better for making a true committed change to  your health.

Here are the reasons that I actually believe that juice cleanse-only diets are hurting you more than they are helping you:

1) Calorie Deprivation

You require a certain amount of calories to function on a daily basis.  Yes, it’s true that most of us have enough fat stores to go a few days without any food, but that is just a fact.  It does not mean that anyone should go days without food.  Your brain requires a minimum number of carbohydrate per kg of body weight to operate. And that’s just for your brain.  As an athlete you need more just to function, especially if you plan to continue exercising during the cleanse.  If you go too long without enough calories and carbohydrates, your body will start breaking down your lean mass – muscle tissue – to the glycogen it needs to keep you alive. This also sends your body into starvation mode which slows down your metabolism which is something you never want to do.

2) Fiber deprivation

Even though you are drinking (presumably) vegetable juices, you are not getting the essential parts of the plant that contribute fiber to your diet.  Fiber is necessary for clearing your system of toxins, it contributes bulk to your stool and that bulk binds to excess hormones and other disease causing toxins.  If you aren’t getting fiber you are just allowing the existing toxins you have to continue circulating in your system. So much for the cleansing you thought you were doing.

3) Missing nutrients

You are not getting your daily nutrient requirements.  Most of the beneficial nutrients in fruit and vegetables come from eating their cell walls.  Have you ever seen how many pieces of fruit it takes to get 12oz of juice?  You might be surprised and you are not getting any cell wall in your juice.

4) Blood sugar crisis

Going longer than 4 hours without food will cause your blood sugar to drop.  Most of the juices have more fruit juice than vegetable, which is sugar.  Yes, it’s natural, but it’s still sugar.  This will cause your blood sugar to spike, creating a cycle of dips and spikes in your blood sugar throughout the day.  This is not good for a plethora of health reasons and having drastic blood sugar changes will condition your body to be more prone to insulin resistance which leads to diabetes or metabolic syndrome in the future.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking all juicing or an effort to be healthy.  I want you to be as healthy as possible. I also want you to know that you can detoxify your system in a much healthier way, by eating less and eating ‘clean’.  Juices can be part of this, but food is also necessary to take your body in the direction you want to go.

Feel good, do what you love,