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What Is A Juice Cleanse

Considering a juice cleanse? Read this first before you start.

What is a juice cleanse and how does it work?

A juice cleanse is a detox where a person consumes only fruit and vegetable juices. It can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, and can be done using homemade drinks or store bought creations. The cleanse is meant to reset your system, improve skin appearance, mood, and overall health. Some people swear by these detoxes, others think they’re a health hoax, like detox teas, or a diet fad. Here’s what we know a juice cleanse can do.

1.  Reduce your appetite

Juicing will not shrink your stomach (smaller stomach usually means you’re full faster) but it will stop you from eating comfort/junk food, which may help you start eating healthier in the long run. You’ll also feel fuller faster after doing a cleanse, which means you can reduce your portion sizes and not feel deprived.

2.  Eliminate potential allergens

The benefit of only consuming fruit and vegetable juices is that you’re eliminating a bunch of food groups that could be causing you to feel unwell if you have an undiagnosed food allergy. Stuff like soy, corn, eggs, nuts, wheat, and dairy could all be wreaking havoc on your body, causing you to feel bloated, puffy, and achy, and give you headaches or digestive issues. Feeling significantly better during a juice cleanse is a good sign you’re suffering from an allergy, and slowly reintroducing these food groups after the cleanse can help you find out which one.

3.  Jump-start weight-loss

A lot of people on a juice cleanse lose weight, although most nutritionists say this is water weight, so although you may feel less bloated, you probably won’t keep that weight off. “This type of diet isn’t effective for long-term weight management, due to it being too restrictive and low in calories,” says Jim White, RD. Best to use a cleanse as the start of a change in lifestyle habits, like improved diet and more exercise, and not as a standalone weight-loss solution.

4.  Get energized

Energy levels fluctuate greatly on a juice cleanse. Proponents of the cleanse say you’ll have more energy, which is probably due to the sugars in the fruit juices, but could also be due to not consuming as much food. “Digestion is a very active process and takes lots of resources from the body such as blood flow and energy to break down food,” says Robynne Chutkan, M.D. “Even though you’re taking in fewer calories, your body isn’t doing this work, so that energy is available to be used elsewhere.”

As your blood sugar fluctuates, you’re likely to feel grouchy or sluggish. “Each juice floods your system with simple sugars, which requires your body to produce more insulin more quickly,” says Jo Ann Carson, Ph.D., R.D., L.D. “If your body sends out more insulin than is needed, your blood sugar could drop too low, and you may be faint or light-headed.” So pacing when and how often you drink for your cleanse is key to feeling good while detoxing.

5.  Reset your insides

It’s true that you are giving your digestive organs a break, as you’ve cut solids, most carbs, fat, and protein out of your diet. And you’re getting a heavy dose of nutrients that you may otherwise not receive in your normal diet, especially if you eat a lot of carbs.

You’re also helping your body on a cellular level, says Woodson Merrell, M.D. “Switching to an organic, plant-based diet allows cells to work optimally to re-establish efficient internal messaging and manufacturing processes.  This allows the mitochondria to create energy without having to fight off a plethora of free radicals and inflammation, and reduces some of the impediments to proper DNA functioning.” Basically? You’re helping your cells repair themselves and function properly, just by chugging juice. Be prepared for more trips to the bathroom though, as your body processes liquids far quicker than solids.

Most nutritionists and doctors agree that as long as you don’t cleanse for too long, you won’t cause any long-lasting damage to your body. And if you feel good after a cleanse, then by all means, keep on cleansing (with healthy breaks in between, of course). It can be a great way to kick-off a new, healthy you, with better diet and exercise habits. Just remember to be gentle with your body, drink plenty of fluids, and not take out your hunger cravings on your loved ones.

{Editor’s Note: The opinions in the article are the author’s own opinions. This article is for educational purposes only. Be sure to consult your doctor before beginning a juice cleanse.}


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