There are two types of detoxes, the one for people addicted to drugs and the one created by people who want to make money. Juice cleanses are popular among people looking to lose weight and be healthy. On the surface they sound great: rid your body of harmful toxins, lose weight, have more energy, sleep better, improve your mood, the list goes on. They sound like a miracle, who wouldn’t want that? The problem is that juice cleanses really aren’t good for you and the whole detox thing is a scam. Money hungry people prey off of health conscious people looking to improve their lives and overall health. I really don’t like when people take advantage of others.
First and foremost you do not need to detox (unless you’re addicted to drugs in which case you need a lot more than some juice). Our bodies are pretty amazing and they do a good job at detoxing all on their own. That little guy known as your liver is there to do just that. The liver is your primary filter. The liver produces enzymes to help regulate the metabolism of drugs and help protect the body from harmful chemicals and toxins. Your kidneys help to filter out waste; it’s why urine tests are used to screen for drugs. In addition to your liver and kidneys, the respiratory system, immune system, intestines, and even your skin help to prevent and filter harmful toxins and parasites. While some people will claim that cleanses speed up the process of what our bodies do naturally, there is simply no scientific evidence to back up this claim.
Now that we’ve addressed the main reason why you don’t need to detox let’s address some other key downfalls of juice cleanses.
- They don’t help you lose weight: I hate to break it to you but any weight you lose is probably water, carbohydrate stores and intestinal bulk. All of which come back when you start eating solid food again.
- They are extremely low in calories: When you consume very few calories your metabolism slows down. Our bodies work really hard to maintain homeostasis (status quo). Think of your metabolism like a car; ideally you want to be like a Hummer limo and get 4mpg. The last thing you want is to be a Nissan Leaf, don’t be a Nissan Leaf.
- They tend to be inconvenient: Pre made cleanses are expensive and making your own is time consuming and messy.
- Juice cleanses cause an overload: When you consume nothing but juice your body has to work overtime to deal with all the extra compounds from so many fruits and vegetables.
- Juice cleanses to detox from heavy metals makes zero sense: This is one of the dumbest claims of cleanses. Fruits and vegetables naturally contain heavy metals. They’re harmless in small doses but you get a pretty hefty dose when you’re consuming 15lbs a day.
- Nitrates: Many people get headaches on cleanses which is typically attributed to caffeine withdrawal. However while caffeine withdrawal can cause headaches an even bigger contributor is nitrates. Celery and beets both contain nitrates. Nitrates promote vasodilation (dilation of the blood vessels) which can lead to headaches.
- Sugar: Juice cleanses contain a lot of sugar which can cause major blood sugar swings. That’s bad for anyone but it’s down right dangerous for anyone with diabetes.
- GI dysfunction: Yep that’s right, juice cleanses can actually cause GI dysfunction. Fiber is a cleanser, it slows down digestion and aids in the absorption of nutrients. However, juice contains very little fiber. Are you starting to see the irony in “cleansing”?
- Protein: Protein deficiencies can inhibit the body’s ability to eliminate toxins. Again, the exact opposite of what a cleanse is supposed to do.
- Restrictive eating and deprivation: When your hungry and not allowed to eat anything what do you spend your time thinking about? All the things you can’t eat. Which means that as soon as your done “detoxing” all you want to do is eat everything you couldn’t for the last few days. You are more likely to binge and end up gaining weight.
Hopefully that helped clear things up for you. The health and fitness world can be tough to navigate. There are a lot of scams and misinformation floating around and unfortunately a lot of it sounds really good. I’m happy to be your captain to help you navigate through the muck of information out there.
As always if you have questions feel free to comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org