To Cleanse or Not to Cleanse

I recently read a VERY long, in depth article about cleansing. Specifically, the article addressed juice cleanses: the kind where you purchase enough pre-juiced fruits and veggies for a 3-day cleanse. Ideally, you would consume ONLY this juice for 3 days, although I believe the instructions indicate you can supplement with raw almonds and raisins if necessary. I've never attempted a juice-based cleanse. And I never will after reading this article:

In case you'd prefer just the gist of the story, I'll give you the findings in a nutshell.

First, there is no scientific basis for the idea that drinking juice can "cleanse" or "detoxify" your body. In fact, there is no science behind the idea that your body NEEDS any type of cleansing at all. While fasting can give your digestive system a rest from the constant processing of food, drinking juices of any kind does not perform the same function. And in no way is juice "cleaner" or less toxic than whole fruits, vegetables, and other whole foods.

By juicing your fruits and veggies, instead of eating them whole, you are removing the process of chewing which brings satisfaction to the eating experience. Hence, drinking only liquids for 3 days tends to bring on extreme hunger. By consuming juice instead of solid foods, you are also removing all the fiber from the diet. This actually accomplishes the opposite of cleansing your colon. Fiber is vital for keeping solid waste moving through your colon efficiently. This 3-day cleanse also eliminates almost all protein and fat from the diet. Juice is mainly sugar (fructose) and water. This combination is digested very quickly, provides a quick burst of energy, and then just as quickly drops the blood sugar level again, causing increased hunger. Protein and fat are the elements in a diet, along with fiber, that slow digestion and create long-lasting satiety. Another reason why folks on the juice cleanse tend to experience extreme hunger.

High levels of nitrates in veggies such as celery and beets can bring on debilitating headaches during a juice cleanse. The low blood sugar levels brought on by only consuming juice can add fuel to the fire of these headaches. Between low blood sugar, headaches, foul moods, and extreme hunger, many participants in the 3-day cleanse found it difficult, if not impossible, to get a full eight hours of quality sleep. Participants in the cleanse also found it near impossible to work out while on this diet. Energy levels were low. The stress of the diet, coupled with lack of sleep and the inability to follow a normal exercise routine, made for some unhappy customers.

If you are considering a juice cleanse, you might first ask yourself what you're looking to gain? Do you hope to lose weight? Increase your energy levels? Boost your immunity? All of these goals can be accomplished much more easily by simply cleaning up your current diet. Cutting out refined sugar, alcohol, processed foods, and other empty calories while upping your intake of grassfed meats, wild-caught fish, organic fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats will help you meet these goals. And in the process, you won't have to suffer at all!

Still not convinced? Clink on the link in the first paragraph and read the entire article. Or try a juice cleanse and report back! I'd be interested to hear about your experience.