“Lose weight fast!” “Detoxify and cleanse your body!” “Clear out the parasites in your body!” Endorsed by celebrities and glamorized by social media, juicing diets and master cleanses have become a major player in the $60-billion dollar diet industry. These diets are typically marketed as detoxifying cleanses and boast benefits such as weight loss, toxin flushing and rejuvenation.
Juice diets and cleanses are when a person’s diet consists solely of juiced fruits and vegetables, and they typically last from three days to two weeks. The Master Cleanse Diet refers to a period where a person will only consume a concoction of water, lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and a laxative. Cleanses like this are a type of fasting where there is a dramatic decrease in calorie intake.
Of course, a drastic slash in caloric intake will result in weight loss. However, engaging in this type of practice can lead to nutritional deficiencies and negative side effects. These cleanses can also be expensive and no long-term benefits have been proven. This type of diet is not nutritionally sound and is seriously lacking in protein, calories and fiber. Cleansing can lead to the loss of muscle mass, unstable blood sugar, electrolyte imbalance and impaired gastrointestinal function. Additionally, weight loss is not maintained and the result may actually be additional weight gain due to the body’s changed metabolism from periods of starvation.
Another major claim of these cleanses is that they work to detoxify the body. However, there are no current studies with scientific evidence showing that these diets actually remove any toxins.
Bottom Line: Instead of falling prey to illegitimate pseudoscience and hype, let your body do its job. Skip these “detoxifying cleanses” and instead provide the proper nutrition and lifestyle choices to support your body’s natural detoxifiers – your liver, kidneys and colon.
Written by: Ashley Nguyen, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern
1. IDEA Health & Fitness Association
2. The American Journal of Medicine