Juice cleanse programs are regularly preached by wellness gurus, claiming the benefit of detoxing, resting your digestive system, reducing food craving, and many more. I tried it a few times with different levels of intensity and duration and decided I will never do it again.
Juice cleanse usually involves consuming only juices for a certain period, typically from 1-10 days. There are various levels to it: beginner, intermediate, and advanced.
- Beginners: Usually has a higher percentage of fruits in comparison to greens, and often comes with a filling smoothie-like almond milk to start and end the day
- Intermediate: A fair mix of fruit juice and green juice with a filling smoothie at the end of the day
- Advanced: Green juices with minimal fruits
I tried all three levels but realized the cons triumph the pros, and many claims are merely myths (at least from my experiences)!
Myth #1: Juice cleanse refreshes and energizes you
Truth: Especially at the beginner level, the level of sugar in each drink is significant. The daily sugar intake is recommended to be around 30 to 50 grams per day for a 2,000 calorie diet. On average, the total sugar in juices ranges from 5g-30g per bottle. I have even seen 50g of total sugar in one bottle, higher than a can of 12 oz Coca-Cola that has 39g! People with diabetes should be aware. If you want to try a juice cleanse, remember to opt for the ones lower in sugar.
The high level of sugar spiked my blood level so much that it made me dizzy and sleepy shortly after the drinks. The fluctuation of my glucose did not make me feel energized as it claimed, nor did it reduce my craving, instead it exacerbated them.
Myth #2: Juice cleanse helps with weight loss
Truth: The total calories of the juices can range from 1200-2000. Having 3 meals of 400-666 calories a day is certainly more filling and sustainable than the unsatiated juices. Furthermore, Fibers is destroyed and removed during the juicing process which can no longer be used to keep us feeling full or be fed to healthy bacteria in our gut. Juice cleanse can be high in calories without making you feel satisfied; you might end up snacking or eating a full meal when you get too hungry. So instead of being in a calorie deficit, you might risk being in a calorie surplus.
Myth #3: Juice cleanse is accessible
Truth: Juice cleanse might be accessible in terms of location, you can easily find to purchase. But when it comes to price, it is not particularly cheap, it can be even more expensive than a meal if you purchase the juices from a store. It costs around HKD 600 (USD 77) for a day.
Thoughts after my experiences:
Indeed, fruits and vegetables high in vitamins and minerals provide extra nutrients into the body accompanied by the anti-inflammatory effect that strengthens the immune system. But a multi-vitamin and some supplements offer the same benefits without the sugar rush of hunger.
Personally, if I am going a thorough detox cleanse to rest my body, a water fast is probably easier and more effective than a juice cleanse since my glucose level will not yo-yo every few hours to make me hungry. A clean diet like organic paleo or rare organic vegan can surely reap those proclaimed benefits and rejuvenate me in a similar way.
Don’t get me wrong, I would certainly love a glass of green juice to start my day. But a full-on juice cleanse for a few days? No thanks.
*Before you try any of these detoxes cleanse, make sure to check with your doctor to ensure it is safe for you.