In the mess of “fad” diets, juice cleanses are one of the most popular among Americans looking to lose weight fast. While making your own juice can be great for your health, many complications can arise from only eating fruits and drinking juices.
Juices and Fruits are Healthy
The concept of adding fresh, homemade juices into your diet is great, to begin with—you’ll be able to incorporate more fruits and veggies into your diet, and you’ll find a use for leftover produce before it goes bad. Plus, fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins and natural sugars, making them a great tool for people who need to take multivitamins.
Eating fruits and vegetables is ideal when you’re eating a balanced diet, that is full of proteins, lipids, and other kinds of foods. However, the idea of a “juice cleanse” is to stick to a completely liquid diet of only produce. Here are some problems that may arise by going on a juice cleanse:
The fruits and vegetables used in juicing tend to be low in calories. Since we need a set amount of calories per day to survive (this number varies from person to person), a juice cleanse is more likely to send the body into “starvation mode.” Starvation mode occurs mainly when you haven’t had enough to eat for several days, and your metabolism slows to compensate for the lack of food. You may know when your next solid meal is, but your body doesn’t, and it will take a moment for your body to catch up once you’re no longer on the diet.
Not only are juices low in calories, but they’re low in protein too. Without enough proteins in the body, your immune system may struggle to stay full, retain muscle mass, and fight off infections. For example, it is common for people on juice cleanses to get Urinary Tract Infections from the low protein and high acidity these juices offer.
Regardless of its contents, all-liquid diets can irritate the digestive tract and cause nausea, vomiting, bloating, and often diarrhea. Since produce is stripped of its fiber in a juice diet, your body won’t be getting the key ingredient it needs to aid digestion—which is the main cause of bowel irritation and potentially other complications. In some cleanses, spices like cayenne pepper can further exasperate these symptoms, since the spices themselves can damage or irritate the digestive tract in large amounts.
There’s No Scientific Backing
Juice cleanses and other “detox” diets are not linked to any scientific background. In other words, your doctor probably won’t recommend one if you want to lose weight. While the benefits of produce are there, juicing them often strips away extra proteins or fiber these fruits and vegetables have, leaving just the liquid and natural sugars. While non-processed sugars are great in moderation, a juice-only diet can leave people with sugar crashes, dizziness, and fatigue. For people with diabetes who cannot regulate their blood sugar naturally, this is potentially deadly for them and is not recommended.
Of course, adding homemade juices into your diet is not a bad thing—just make sure you drink in moderation.