health

5 common myths about juice cleanses that are total BS.

Look, there's nothing wrong with drinking juice. We're not going to get all up in your face for throwing back a little celery number in the morning - no way! You do you, friend.

But when it comes to only downing fruit and vegetable juice as part of a juice cleanse for, like, five days straight in order to 'detox' - there's a lotta misinformation floating around. Like, heaps.

Watch: Here's 7 common health myths debunked. Post continues below.


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And just to be clear - when it comes to juice cleanses, we're not talking about the carton of Mildura you can pick up from a grocery store. We're talking about the trendy pre-packaged stuff that often hero ingredients like kale, turmeric, spinach, beetroot and ginger. You know the stuff?

For years, these kinds of juice cleanses have been marketed as a way to detox your insides, flush out impurities and rebalance everything. But not everyone agrees that liquid diets are the healthiest route to take on the wellbeing wagon. Especially nutrition and medical experts.

So, we're fishing out the facts. Here are five common misconceptions people have about juice cleanses and what a nutritionist has to say about each.

1. A juice cleanse will detox your body.

Cool thing: You don't need to do this, cause your cute bod is already doing it for you! 

The human body is a nifty ol' thing, and is constantly getting rid of toxins (through your kidneys and gastrointestinal tract), so there's really no need to do it... manually.

"It is important to understand that juices do not cleanse the body," said nutritionist Fiona Tuck from Vita-Sol

Listen: The Quicky investigates why we are still willing to put our health and money on the line to try the latest diet craze, and whether a balanced diet and regular exercise really is the best option. Post continues below.

Instead of jumping on a juice cleanse, Tuck recommends cutting out ultra-processed foods, rich fatty foods and alcohol, and embracing a healthy and nutritious diet.

Yep, that' ol thing.

"The body is designed to naturally detoxify harmful chemicals, but in order for it to do this it requires a number of important nutrients such as B vitamins, zinc, choline, sulphur, amino acids to name just a few. Greens, cruciferous veggies can help to support liver detoxification, but we also need fibre and protein," she said.

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"Drinking only juice for five days followed by binge eating on junk food and alcohol will not have any benefit. It is what we do habitually every day that has the biggest impact on health and wellbeing."

2. Your energy levels will improve.

Here's the thing: When you're not consuming foods that help give you energy, your metabolism will slow right down, making you feel sluggish and tired and anything *but* energetic.

You need do-good nutrients like protein to boost your metabolism and help steady blood sugar, and unfortunately most juices just don't cut it. So, it can be hard to keep these nutrient levels up while on a juice cleanse.

"If someone is active, they need more nutrients to fuel the body and if their nutrient requirement is not being met, they may feel lethargic or tired during a period of only consuming juice," said Tuck.

"Some fruit juices are high in sugar and therefore someone may experience fluctuations in blood sugar such as an energy boost straight after consumption followed by an energy slump."

What's more, if you're someone who is used to drinking caffeine on the daily, and then you suddenly stop drinking it (cos, not juice), Tuck said you may experience symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, lack of focus, irritability and even mild tremors.

3. A juice cleanse is a good way to lose weight.

The overall goal from most people of most people on detox diets is to lose weight. However, nutritionists and doctors agree that highly restrictive diets like juice cleanses are an ineffective solution to long-term weight loss.

On a juice cleanse, you'll probably hit around 1200 calories on the daily - which is way below what a healthy adult should consume.

While a week-long juice cleanse may make people feel a little lighter and less bloated, it's usually just the result of your body losing water - not necessarily weight shifting.

Image: Getty

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"When someone is reducing carbohydrates and calories, the body uses stored glycogen as an energy source after it expends glucose. Water weight loss occurs as the process of metabolising glycogen requires water," explains Tuck.

Plus, that water weight will more than likely come back once you return to a normal diet with solid foods.

"If you suddenly start eating high-carbohydrate foods or excess calories, then the body will start storing excess glucose as glycogen," said Tuck.

The bottom line? There are way better options out there if you're looking for a health-kick.

4. A juice cleanse can help reset your gut.

Word on the trendy wellness streets has it that juice cleanses are good for 'resetting your gut' and 'giving your digestive system a break' - however, there's no scientific evidence behind this. 

In fact, over time a lack of fibre may lead to a whole load of other stomach issues that approximately no one needs.

"Juicing removes the most insoluble fibre from fruits and vegetables. Along with proteins, fibre is essential for regulating hunger and a feeling of fullness. It is also vital for our gut’s health as it stimulates 'healthy bacteria' growth and digestion. Lack of fibre can lead to constipation and digestive problems," said Tuck.

While Tuck stresses that there is no one-size-fits-all approach and everyone's digestive system will respond differently to juice cleanses, it's not something experts would recommend.

"Juice diets are low in important fibre which we need for a healthy gut, and some juices can be high in FODMAPs which for some people may cause gut sensitivity."

5. Your skin will have a healthy glow.

Anyone else just assume drinking a heap of fruit and veggie juices will give you a nice glow? Apparently it'll do quite the opposite, though - your skin, hair and nails will actually take a bit of a trashing if you're on a prolonged juice cleanse.

"If someone is on a chronic low nutrient/low-calorie diet, this may impact the hair, skin and nails," said Tuck.

"The skin requires a variety of nutrients for optimum skin health and if we are not receiving these, then we may see devitalised skin, dehydration, poor wound healing (such as purple marks after breakouts or scars), dry/sensitive skin, weak nails and dry, brittle hair."

Yikes.

While a short juice cleanse is unlikely to result in massive issues around nutrient depletion, if you're hopping on juice cleanses on the reg, this can lead to dry and potentially prematurely aged skin, because you're missing on all the glorious essential fatty acids (your skin's BFF).

Wanna debunk more wellness diets? Check out our article on why diets are still a thing in 2021.

What do you think of the myths above? Do you have anything you'd like to add? Share with us in the comment section below.

Feature image: Getty

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