Cleanses & Juice Fasts

Well as you probably have guessed there is a new diet fad.  I cannot count the number of times people ask me about cleanses/juicing/juice fasts. Bottom line: I do NOT recommend any cleanse, fast, juice fast, etc for any person for a handful of reasons.

1. There is ZERO scientific evidence that cleanses or juice fasts do anything beneficial for your body and they can actually cause quite a bit of harm.

2. You will probably have diarrhea. Diarrhea can cause the body to not absorb the nutrients in our food. Having several bouts of diarrhea through out the day might make you feel as if you are losing weight or “cleaning toxins” from your body, but that is completely false. Also no food specifically creates toxins in your intestines. Lets leave cleaning toxins from our body to our kidneys and our liver. It is what they are designed to do.

3. Dehydration. When an individual has diarrhea for a length of time the body is not reabsorbing enough water in the GI tract.

4. Potentially not enough total calories, carbohydrates, protein, and/or fat to provide your body with what it needs on a daily basis. Although some fasts and cleanses do promise that you are consuming x amount of calories, most are lacking in one, if not more, macronutrient. Inadequate macronutrient content can lead to slowing of your metabolism, muscle wasting, and break down of organ tissue to use as energy … just to name a few.

5. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies out the wazzoo. Many people may think that vitamin and mineral deficiencies would not be a problem because a lot of the time the cleanse/fast consists of fruits and vegetables, but we get a lot of a vitamins and minerals from dairy, grains, meat, fish, etc. Also if we do not have enough dietary fat in our diet our bodies cannot absorb certain vitamins.

6. Lack of protein. Protein is the building block of our bodies and you cannot meet your protein needs with green leafy vegetables. There may be some protein, but no where near enough.

7. Cleanses and fasts decrease your body’s metabolism. Any time we do not eat adequate amounts of food our body goes into starvation mode. This means that the body decreases its daily energy needs (read: burns less calories) in order to conserve energy.

8. The weight loss you see is most likely from fluid loss and muscle wasting. Muscle wasting is caused by the breakdown of protein stores to be used as energy.

9. You will gain back the weight you lost once you resume normal eating (See number 8 again).

10. You will have increased physiological and psychological cravings for food because you are not meeting your needs, which will likely result in a binge.

I hope you find this helpful and please feel free to comment with any further questions!