Our site has featured quite a bit of information about the potential health benefits of consuming nutritious, well-balanced blends of whole foods in the form of smoothies, but we have yet to discuss juicing.
Juice extracts the liquid or the juice, from fruits and vegetables, but leaves the fiber and pulp behind.
I often encourage my patients to include vegetable juices as part of a healthy diet.
With that said, I strongly discourage juice cleanses that involve days of not consuming anything besides juice. These fasts can be dangerous, especially for people with compromised immune systems.
In fact, I have worked with IBD patients who have flared just days into a juice cleanse.
Coincidence? Perhaps. But there are plenty of reasons to avoid juice cleanses:
Juice fasts can hinder your body’s own detoxification process. Detoxification is highly energy dependent and juices are very low in calories. As a result, consuming only juices interferes with your body’s ability to excrete toxins. This is a real shame given that many people are seduced by the notion of using juice fasts to “cleanse” the body.
Juices lack protein and your gut depends on protein to function properly, notably to maintain a strong barrier against unwanted toxins. This is another example of how a juice cleanse could conceivably accomplish the exact opposite of what the faster intends.
Juices lack fiber and fiber is needed to produce normal bowel movements and feed the healthy gut bacteria. I, for one, don’t want to starve those little buggers and neither should you.
Juices often contain a lot of sugar. Juice enthusiasts need to be careful to choose juices that contain mostly vegetables to avoid sugar shock from too much fruit.
Juice cleanses may lead to rapid weight loss and electrolyte imbalances.
Bottom line: Include fruit and vegetable juices and/or smoothies as part of a well-balanced diet.