Juice cleanses are incredibly popular and many swear by their benefits, but the idea also raises questions such as how long and how often you should do a juice cleanse. Can doing a juice cleanse too frequently be dangerous?
How often should you do a juice cleanse? Doing a juice cleanse involves listening to your body and choosing what is right for you. When deciding how often to cleanse it is important to consider the following: The length of the cleanse and what your body needs.
- How long the cleanse lasts:
- Longer cleanses should be performed less frequently, as they are generally more stressful for the body and the body needs time to recover between cleansings
- How your body reacts:
- If you feel unwell while doing a juice cleanse, such as having headaches, weakness, dehydration, and fainting, you should not perform the cleanse for as long or as often
- If you have any concurrent health disorders:
- Those with kidney disorders or blood sugar disorders should generally avoid juice cleanses or execute extreme caution when performing
What You Should Know First
Most juice cleanses last anywhere between 1 day to 2 weeks, so the frequency may vary based on how long you plan to cleanse. Those who only do a juice cleanse for a day or two may choose to cleanse every Monday, so as to detoxify the body after the weekend and reset themselves for the workweek.
Those who perform longer cleanses or who generally have a healthier diet may choose to perform cleanses less frequently, such as once a month. The goal of a juice cleanse is usually to reset the body and/or help lose weight, so often it is only necessary to perform a cleanse when you feel your body needs to accomplish either of these tasks. Otherwise, there is no added benefit to routinely performing a cleanse.
If you are unsure of how often you should perform a juice cleanse, the best advice will come from your personal physician. Your primary physician will be able to give a tailored answer based on your personal health history and help you arrive at an ideal frequency.
If you are curious to try a juice cleanse or have tried some but want to know more so you can improve your approach, read on below to find the answers to some commonly asked questions about juice cleanses.
How Long Should You Do a Juice Cleanse For?
As mentioned earlier, juice cleanses can vary in length. Some prefer a short 1-2 day cleanse just to reset the body, especially after a holiday where one may have overindulged a little. This length cleanse is great for getting yourself back on track to a healthier lifestyle and help shake off the sluggishness that comes with eating too much junk.
A three to four day cleanse is ideal for those who want to enjoy a healthy lifestyle and want a little more benefit than just a one or two day cleanse. Even if you have never tried a juice cleanse before, a three to four day cleanse is achievable. It is long enough to receive the energizing and refreshing effects of the cleanse, but short enough that you don’t become fatigued or overwhelmed by the routine.
Longer cleanses are reserved for those with experience with juice cleanses and who are familiar with listening to their bodies to determine what is best for it. Juice cleanses longer than five days are generally not a good idea for complete beginners and you should consult your primary care physician before starting any extended cleanse.
The length of your juice cleanse may also vary simply based on how you feel. If you start out feeling fatigued and bloated, you may cleanse simply as a tool to reset your body and stop the cleanse once you feel restored to normal. The key is to listen to your body and adjust your cleanse based on how your body responds to it.
What Does a Juice Cleanse Do to the Body?
While some juice cleanse enthusiasts swear by the internally detoxifying effects of a cleanse, there is no evidence that a juice cleanse has any actual effect on the systemic cleaning of your body. Your kidneys and liver are the organs responsible for removing toxins from your body, and juice cleanses will not actually alter any toxic components within you, despite what some may claim.
A juice cleanse can potentially alter the microbiome of your gut, however. The components found in fruit and vegetable juices can have a positive influence on the body and contribute to overall well-being and a decreased risk of adverse health outcomes.
If you are young and healthy, a juice cleanse is generally safe. However, juice cleanses are usually low in protein and fiber, which may cause some older adults to be more at risk for getting sick. If you also aren’t getting enough calories in a prolonged juice cleanse, your body may go into “starvation mode.”
Starvation mode results in your body adapting to a low caloric intake by holding on to any potential energy stores in the body. This means your metabolism will slow down and you will actually burn fewer calories, thus sabotaging any attempts at weight loss. This is why it is important to follow a cleanse that has a sufficient amount of calories for your body or to only cleanse for short periods, supplemented by a nutritious and healthy diet.
What Are Common Mistakes to Avoid with a Juice Cleanse?
When going on a juice cleanse, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by all the opinions offered by friends, family, and even the internet. There are some common misconceptions and confusion about juice cleanses, so it is important to recognize common mistakes that people make so you can avoid these potential pitfalls.
1. No Pre-Cleanse
If you want to do a juice cleanse, it is best to ease yourself into it. If your diet is mostly processed foods and pre-packaged junk, it will be hard for you to immediately jump into a juice cleanse. Instead, spend anywhere from a few days up to a few weeks weaning yourself off of processed foods.
If you already practice a fairly healthy diet, you may not need to pre-cleanse before a juice cleanse.
2. Going for Too Long on a Juice Cleanse
Sometimes it is easy to fall into the belief that a longer cleanse will mean better results. Longer cleanses have a higher risk of causing complications resulting from a prolonged decrease of protein, fiber, and fat. Not to mention it is simply harder to maintain a longer cleanse, and so it is easier to get discouraged and resort to eating unhealthy foods.
3. Not Drinking Enough Water
Just because you are on a juice cleanse, you may think you are getting enough hydration. But in fact, you need to continue to drink water even while on a juice cleanse. Dehydration can also give symptoms that can be mistaken for hunger, so drinking more water during a cleanse can also help you feel fuller for longer and not be tempted to reach for the snacks.
4. You Ignore Your Health
If you have a slew of health disorders, a juice cleanse is generally not recommended. For those with low blood pressure, blood sugar issues, immune disorders, or kidney disorders, it is not a good idea to participate in a juice cleanse.
Juice cleanses are also not advised for anyone who is underweight or who has disordered eating.
If you want to participate in a juice cleanse but have concurrent health complications, it is important to consult with your primary care physician before starting.
5. Choosing High-Calorie Juices
Not all juice is created equal. Some juice may seem perfectly acceptable for a juice cleanse but when you look at the nutrition label it may be loaded with sugar and calories. In general, most experts recommend you try to aim for juice that has between 50 to 100 calories per serving and less than 10g of sugar.
In addition, you likely want to look for juices that are mostly vegetable-based, since these will naturally have fewer sugars. Drinks that have more fiber can also be helpful as it is usually difficult to get sufficient amounts of fiber during a juice cleanse.
What Are the Benefits of a Juice Cleanse?
If participating in juice cleanses responsibly, there are some notable benefits to be reaped. If your diet is less than ideal, juicing can be a great way to shift yourself into cleaner and more nutritious eating habits.
First of all, the fruits and vegetables used in juices of a juice cleanse are high in nutrients that are good for your body. Fruits and vegetables have vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can help boost your body’s performance and reduce inflammation. If your diet lacks these critical components, a juice cleanse can help you feel more refreshed, energized, and healthier.
In one scientific study, a three-day juice cleanse was shown to give a significant decrease in body weight (an average loss of 3.75 lbs.) that persisted for the two weeks following the cleanse. This study believed the decrease was due to the juice cleanse altering the gut microbiome in a positive fashion that promoted weight loss and even reduced risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
In addition, the CDC states that less than one-third of Americans eat the recommended daily amount of servings of fruits and vegetables. Juice cleanses are a great way to incorporate significantly more servings into your diet. There is a plethora of research describing the benefits of having more fruits and vegetables in the diet, and juicing is a great way to get these nutritious servings in.
Since juice cleanses are generally low in calories, they can result in a significant short term weight loss. The lack of calories forces the body to break down fat supplies for energy. However, if you stay on the juice cleanse for too long or you don’t have enough fat to fuel the body, it can have a negative effect on your body, so it is important to practice caution when starting a long juice cleanse.
Are There Any Risks to a Juice Cleanse?
If you are sticking to a juice cleanse that is only three days in length, there are generally no dangerous side effects to worry about. However, if you are consuming any unpasteurized juices, there is always a risk of the juice being contaminated by bacteria that can cause serious illness, so to be safe it is best to avoid these.
If you have any health issues such as a kidney disorder or blood sugar issues, a juice cleanse may not be safe for you. Certain juices can cause an increased risk of kidney stones or other complications in those with already damaged kidneys.
Juice cleanses tend to be significantly low in calories, especially compared to a typical American diet. As such, the calorie reduction may cause some people to experience low blood sugar. This can lead to fatigue, headaches, weakness, and irritability. In some severe cases, low blood sugar can be dangerous.
In conclusion, juice cleanses can be a great option for anyone who is looking for a way to jump start a healthy eating trend or to reset the body after an overindulgent weekend. However, it is important to listen to your body when determining how long and how often to perform a juice cleanse in order to pick the routine that works best for you. If in doubt, it is always safest to consult your primary care physician to determine the best course.