Most juice cleanses will result in initial weight loss, but all of this is water weight—simply the result of suddenly and drastically reducing calorie consumption. But as soon as your cleanse ends, you’re out of luck. “Unfortunately, data shows us that most people gain back everything they lose, plus more, because the plan was unsustainable,” says Lauren Harris-Pincus, RDN, owner of Nutrition Starring You, LLC. “Then when the weight comes back, it will most likely be gained as fat—not the best plan for long-term weight maintenance.” In other words, going on a juice cleanse can eventually lead to more fat on your body. No thanks!
2. You’ll feel crappy.
A Consumer Reports investigation discovered that some juice cleanses provide only 735 calories per day. A moderately active woman, by comparison, needs about 2,000 calories per day (around 1,600 if she’s trying to lose weight). The problem: living under this kind of a calorie deficit, even for a few days, can leave you feeling weak and sluggish. Cleanses are also notorious for causing big swings in energy, thanks to the high sugar content found in most juices: 70% to 91% of the carbohydrates in popular juice cleanse brands come from sugar, with little fiber to slow the release of that sweet stuff into the bloodstream, according to Consumer Reports. That means each bottle will give you asugar surge and a boost in energy, only to be followed by a sugar crash shortly thereafter.
3. You could get some short-term benefits, with an emphasis on short.
A few days of juice cleansing can have a few positive effects. Some people experience a drop in blood sugar, insulin, and blood pressure. But, like all the things that happen on a juice cleanse, these benefits are temporary. Want a long-term solution that’s more effective? Try these ways to lower blood pressure naturally and scale back on your consumption of added sugars the smart way with these tips.
4. You’ll shrink your muscles.
Want to feel strong? Then don’t even think about cleansing. “By limiting yourself to a juice cleanse, you definitely won’t meet your protein needs, and that can lead to a loss of muscle mass,” say Harris-Pincus. In fact, if you go on a weeklong cleanse, you could lose as much as a pound of muscle per day. Need more convincing? Losing muscle actually slows down metabolism. That’s because it takes more calories to maintain muscle mass than it does to maintain fat mass—so having less muscle means you burn fewer calories overall. Losing three pounds of muscle translates to burning 150 fewer calories each day.
5. You might have digestive issues.
The average juice cleanse provides you about 14 grams of fiber per day—way less than the recommend 25-plus grams. We know that getting adequate amounts of fiber is key to staying regular, so skimping could leave you with a bad case of constipation. Oddly, juice cleanses can also cause the exact opposite problem: diarrhea. Many fruits included in juice cleanse plans are naturally rich in a sugar alcohol called sorbitol, which has a laxative effect in many people.6. You’ll spend a lot of money.
Most 3-day juice cleanses cost a staggering $200 or more—all for a diet plan that won’t do you much good in the long run. Instead, take the $200 and load up on these cheap, healthy foods you can find in any grocery store.
7. You won’t actually get rid of any “toxins.”
Our bodies don’t need help from a bottle of juice to clear toxins. “Our liver and kidneys already do a great job of removing waste and toxins from our bodies,” says Harris-Pincus. Their main function is to break down toxins into compounds that the body can excrete via sweat, urine, and poop. So don’t buy any claims that juices can outperform your finely tuned internal organs—they can’t even hold a candle to the wondrous, complex machine that is the human body.