Starting a juice cleanse means cutting all solid foods out of your current diet and replacing it food with nutrient-dense juices made of a variety of fruits and veggies. The problem is coffee – It’s not solid food, yet it’s also not a juice.
You can drink coffee on a juice cleanse. If you drink coffee daily, quitting suddenly can cause withdrawal symptoms like headaches and fatigue. Drinking coffee can also keep your energy levels up during a low-calorie juice cleanse. The issue is that coffee might impact the alkaline state you desire.
The problem with juice cleanses is that there aren’t any definite rules, meaning drinking coffee comes down to personal preference. So, we’re going to go over what a juice cleanse actually involves. We’ll then discuss how coffee fits into your juice cleanse.
The Purpose of a Juice Cleanse
When you’re on a juice detox, you’re replacing your entire diet with blended juices made from fruits and vegetables. This unusually large intake of fruits and vegetables greatly increases your intake of vitamins, minerals, and even fiber.
The benefits of such nutrient-dense juices include:
- Greater immune functioning and lower risk of getting sick
- Improved digestion and fewer instances of diarrhea and constipation
- Lower risk of developing cancer thanks to the antioxidants
- Possible weight loss due to lower caloric intake
Just keep in mind that a juice cleanse isn’t meant to last forever.
Though fruits and vegetables definitely have a good amount of vitamins and minerals, you’re still depriving yourself of fats, proteins, and calories.
In the long-term, this can cause excessive weight loss and extreme fatigue.
What You Can and Can’t Drink on a Juice Cleanse
Juice cleansing doesn’t just mean that you’re on an all-liquid diet. There are some liquids that you’ll have to avoid because they lack nutritional value and are too acidic. That includes soda and alcohol.
Your juice cleanses should only include fruits, vegetables, and water. It’s your choice whether you’d rather juice these foods or blend them into smoothies instead.
The Case for Coffee on a Juice Cleanse
Since you’re only supposed to be drinking blended fruits, vegetables, and water, you’re probably wondering why coffee might still be acceptable for your juice cleanse. There are a few situations where it might be acceptable to drink coffee.
The Risk of Withdrawal
If you’re an occasional coffee drinker, then you’re probably lucky enough to not be addicted to the caffeine. Daily coffee drinkers, especially those that drink four or more cups a day, will struggle when they cut their consumption cold turkey.
In fact, withdrawal might occur.
Caffeine withdrawal isn’t anything like drug and alcohol withdrawal. Yet, it definitely isn’t a positive experience for you or those around you.
Here’s a glimpse at the more common effects of caffeine withdrawal:
- Headache caused by the sudden rush of blood to the head
- Increased risk of mood issues or anxiety
- Severe tiredness and lack of energy
- Inability to focus or concentrate
The major problem is just how quickly withdrawal from caffeine can set in. Heavy coffee drinkers might begin to experience these effects in as little as 12 hours since their last cup.
These effects can then last between 2 and 9 days. which could make a 3-day juice cleanse even harder.
Considering juice cleanses might last about three days, you might feel absolutely miserable due to caffeine withdrawal, reduced caloric intake, and low protein and fat.
Your choices are to wean off of the coffee as part of the pre-cleanse or stick to drinking coffee during the cleanse. Or switch to some green tea so you’re still getting the caffeine, it’s just more gentle on the stomach.
A Quick Energy Boost
Even though juice cleanses are generally seen as healthy, they definitely have their downsides.
The first thing worth pointing out is that a juice cleanse usually means taking in between 600 and 1,000 calories a day.
Considering you’re probably used to eating 1,500 to 3,000 calories a day, this sudden lack of calories can impact your health. You also have to consider the fact that you’re not getting any energy from protein or fat when you’re on a juice cleanse.
That means there’s a really good chance that you’ll feel tired and have very little energy.
Though this is exactly what you want when you’re looking to lose weight, it’s not a good situation to be in when you have things that need to get done.
The caffeine in coffee might just be your saving grace during your juice cleanse.
That’s because it can boost your energy levels, alertness, and mood. It might even counteract the negative effects of juicing.
What’s also important to point out is that regular black coffee has 0 calories per cup. You’ll want to avoid adding milk, creamer, sugar, or other additives to keep your nutritional and caloric intake what it should be during your cleanse.
The Case Against Coffee on a Juice Cleanse
What you might not know about juice cleanses is actually how these positive effects begin to take place in your body. Some of these effects occur thanks to a change in your body’s pH levels.
Let’s talk about what that means in terms of juicing and coffee.
Side Effects of Coffee on an Empty Stomach
What’s interesting about liquids and juices is that they pass through your digestive system much quicker than regular food. That means you might be drinking your coffee on an empty stomach without even realizing it.
The high acidity levels of coffee might cause a bit of discomfort in your gastrointestinal tract. These side effects could include nausea, heartburn, or stomachaches.
Yet, there’s not much research into this topic just yet.
You might want to err on the side of caution if you have pre-existing GI tract conditions or if you have a sensitive digestive system.
Making Your Blood More Acidic
Your pH level explains how acidic or alkaline your blood is.
The lower your pH level (0 is the lowest), the more acidic your blood is. The higher your pH level is (up to 14), the more alkaline your blood is.
The current American diet is very acidic.
That’s because it’s loaded with unhealthy foods like sugars, processed ingredients, and carbonated beverages. An acidic diet like that can increase your risk of kidney stones, chronic diseases, and degeneration of the body.
Your blood pH level usually hovers around 7.0. (between alkaline and acidic).
What That Means
A juicing cleanse is meant to make your body more alkaline.
Opposite of an acidic diet, an alkaline diet has plenty of positive effects, such as reducing the loss of calcium in the muscles and bones. That means boosting your pH level can help you to maintain or improve your muscle mass and bone density.
It’s also known to lower your risk of developing cancer.
The problem is that coffee is somewhat acidic.
In a way, drinking coffee when on a juice cleanse can make achieving this alkaline state a lot more difficult. It also means that you might not see the impressive health effects that you’re currently looking for.
The great thing about a juicing diet is that you get to choose how you follow it. You can decide on the fruits and vegetables that you’re juicing/blending and how often you drink these juices, even whether or not you want organic fruits and veggies.
In terms of coffee, it’ll come down to personal preference.
You might want to continue drinking coffee if you’re addicted to the caffeine or if you’ve experienced very low energy levels while on a juice cleanse.
Yet, it might be a good idea to avoid drinking coffee on your juice cleanse to help keep your body more alkaline rather than acidic.
Some people even enjoy an avocado a day, or some almond milk while they are on a detox, so it’s really up to you. Alternatively, you can have warm water without the coffee in it as a substitute to keep morale up.
Your results will of course vary and your eating habits beforehand can change the experience. If you’re used to eating a lot of raw fruits and things like kale and already have a juicer to make green juice you’re going to have an easier time.
- NIH: Caffeine withdrawal, acute effects, tolerance, and absence of net beneficial effects of chronic administration: cerebral blood flow velocity, quantitative EEG and subjective effects
- Medical News Today: Symptoms of caffeine withdrawal
- Healthline: Juicing: Good or Bad?
- Healthline: Can Juicing Help You Lose Weight
- NIH: The Alkaline Diet: Is There Evidence That an Alkaline pH Diet Benefits Health?
- Mayo Clinic: Nutrition and healthy eating
- Merck Manual: Overview of Acid-Base Balance
- Healthline: Tips for Limiting Acidic Foods
- PubMed: Gastric Emptying of a Physiologic Mixed Solid-Liquid Meal