The Pros and Cons of a Juice Cleanse

A million dollar industry in America, it has as many fans as detractors. A juice cleanse or juice fasting involves limiting your diet to fresh vegetable and fruit juices plus water for a few days to a few weeks. Claims range from significant weight loss, clearer skin, bolstered immunity, body detoxification, and cancer prevention. What should you know before undertaking a juice cleanse?

The amount of information and varied opinions on the web is enormous! I waded through a lot of it to distill this post down to some simple key points. Several recommended articles are listed at the end, and I’m sure you can find many more (but always consider the source).


1. If you’re cleansing or fasting with juice, you’ll probably lose weight. But you’ll be losing mostly water. A reduction in bloating is well-known benefit of juicing. (see Con #5)

photo from Flickr, courtesy of Luxomedia

photo from Flickr, courtesy of Luxomedia

2. If you undertake a juice cleanse (shorter is preferred, i.e. 4 days or less) and see it through, chances are you’ll feel great at the end of it. You’ll have a real sense of accomplishment, and you’ll look at your regular diet with fresh eyes.

3. By spending a few days ingesting only fruits and vegetables, you are avoiding highly processed foods that have solid fats and added sugar. If you have a strong habit of making unhealthy food choices, a brief juice cleanse may help you break them.

4. If you diet rarely includes fruits and vegetable, juicing is an easy way to increase your daily intake. Keep in mind that if you’re really lacking in this department, substituting one glass of juice for a meal each day, will dramatically boost the quality of your diet.

5. Again, if you’re not a fan of green side of the food pyramid, juicing can help retrain your taste buds to enjoy fruits and vegetables.

6. Many of us reach for carbs, sweets, chips or alcohol when we’re bored, sad, lonely or anxious. These foods are off-limits on a juice cleanse. So the process of undertaking a whole new diet, briefly, can put you in touch with your body and it’s automatic habits.


1. You’ll find little to no protein and fat in fresh pressed juice. Some commercial juices contain added nut milk that contributes a small amount of fat and protein and helps with satiety. But your body will suffer from going for more than a few days without sufficient protein — the raw materials to build new tissues. Low-fat diets are notoriously hard on the skin and hair. Don’t forget that fat is also necessary to processes fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K).

2. Common side effects from a juice cleanse include dizziness, blood sugar spikes, headaches, constipation, fatigue, irritability, nausea. The symptoms occur as your body releases glycogen (stores of carbohydrates). Ultimately, many people report feeling “amazing,” which is explained by the body going into ketosis (glycogen stores are used up and the body begins burning fat). Though you may experience a decrease in your appetite (that makes things easier), ketosis can cause nausea and bad breath, and ultimately organ failure.

3. A juice cleanse is not safe for everybody, especially people undergoing chemotherapy, diabetics, anyone with nutritional deficiencies or kidney disease. Check with your doctor is you have any medical conditions that a cleanse might impact.

4. Juicing removes some of the fiber and nutrients found in whole fruits and veggies (those in pulp, skin and seeds). Because there is less fiber in juice, more of the fructose is absorbed by the body, so lean toward more vegetables than fruit. Less fiber will also leave you feeling less satisfied. Keep in mind that a juicer removes fiber, but a blender, masticating or triturating juicers help retain more fiber and nutrients.

photo from Flickr courtesy of

photo from Flickr courtesy of

5. You’ll lose weight but most will be water weight. People love that they feel less bloated (and they do), but if you’re looking to lose fat and keep it off, a juice cleanse is not the answer. The majority of people put the weight right back on after the cleanse.

6. Any calorie-restrictive diet will lead to some weight loss. Yet your body will respond to prolonged “starvation” with calorie conservation. This screws with your metabolism, lowering it. If you put your body into starvation mode too often, you risk permanently lowering your metabolism (i.e. metabolic syndrome).

7. A big claim among juice fasting systems and products is that it will detoxify your body. Many medical experts disagree with the idea that humans need help detoxifying our bodies. The liver, kidneys and intestines are highly evolved bodily systems that rid us of the toxins we ingest or encounter in the environment. We excrete them in our urine, feces, breath, and sweat.


  • A maximum length of three to four days is advised.
  • Health and wellness is a booming industry. Lots of people want to make money from your desire to lose weight and get healthy fast. If you buy a pre-made juice cleanse system make sure it is reputable! Check that the produce is carefully cleaned and the juice is made in small fresh batches to avoid bacterial growth. Pasteurized juices are not advised. Follow a reputable plan if you are making your own at home.
  • If you have any doubts that a juice cleanse is right for your body, please check with your physician.
  • There’s no proof that eating liquefied fruits and veggies offers an advantage offer the same ingredients in their whole state. If you’d like to increase your intake, try swapping fresh juice for your regular breakfast, or as a mid-afternoon snack. Meanwhile, stick to a balanced diet including adequate amounts of fat and protein.

Have you had experience with juice cleansing? I’d love to hear about it in the comment section.

MORE INFORMATION, Do Juice Cleanses Work? 10 Truths About The Fad, by Melissa Valliant, 03/21/2012., My Body Knows the Way: My Experience With a Juice Cleanse, by Robin Hoffman, 05/15/2013., Is Juicing Healthier than Eating Whole Fruits or Vegetables? by Jennifer K. Nelson, R.D., L.D., Jesus and Moses Went on Cleanses;That Doesn’t Mean you Should, by Judith Shulevitz, 06/21/2013

Juice fasting by a Dietitian, Laura Oliver, from


5 thoughts on “The Pros and Cons of a Juice Cleanse

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  5. I have a rule of three. I have inflammation of my hands legs and feet. Living on prescription water pills is no fun. I started doing a three day juice fast as a way to reset my body. And to get off the medication.
    Most of my sinus issues, and swelling are from allergies. I have both a fructose and lactose intolerance. Both make it hard to find foods lacking in one or both.
    My suggestion to anyone doing a juice cleans is this. I agree with keeping it limited to three to four days at a time. I never go right into eating regular meals after the cleans. On day four I introduce my home made protien drinks. Made with a pea protien, almond butter and almond milk.
    I also add herbal tea to my intake during this cleanse. I have found that this works for me and within a few days of starting this I can feel the difference in my whole body.
    I can breath without the allergy pills and my inflammation is way down.
    Day two is usually the hardest. If I feel dizzy or out of sorts I will add one protien shake for the day.
    My doctor also recommended that I avoid doing any excessive exercising while on a cleanse like this. It is fine to do light yard work, moderate house keeping and relaxing yoga. Just keep it calm and easy during the cleans. This minimizes an stress you’re putting on your body.
    I personal love the way I feel afterwards. It also helps me to understand what the foods I put into my body are doing to me. I introduce any new foods I may want to add into my diet right after a cleanse. I pay attention to how my system reacts to the foods.
    I only do the cleanse when I know I don’t have anything planed. I do this because with the increased water and juice intake you will have frequent trips to the rest room. I can only equality this to being nine months pregnant with a 8 pound baby sitting on your bladder.
    I do enjoy doing the cleanse and will continue doing so. I do mine for health reasons. I do drop a few pounds during the process but I know it is because of the inflammation and water retention I have.
    Ironically I am on day three as I write this and I can only say that I feel really good this morning. My sleeping is better, my sinuses are clear, and no swelling anywhere. I have dropped 6 pounds of water weight as well. I will keep doing this once a month until it no longer benefits me.

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