To Cleanse or Not to Cleanse?

By Amanda Watts, MD - Baton Rouge General Physicians

Every other month there is a new food trend generating buzz online. The latest trend getting attention is the juice cleanse. Although several variations of cleanses exist, the general idea is to replace your normal diet and meals with 4 - 6 liquid drinks consisting of fruits, vegetables and dairy free nut milks. After cleansing for several days, promised health benefits include eliminating toxins from your body, increased energy and weight loss. The pros of cleansing sound great, but let’s talk about the cons:

  1. Don’t do it for weight loss. A juice cleanse should not be used as a weight loss diet. Drinking liquids for an extended period of time may kick off a few pounds, but cleansing does not include a healthy nutritional balance of protein, fat and carbs.

  2. It won’t eliminate toxins. Our bodies, specifically the liver and kidney, are built to manage and remove toxins through urine and feces. There is no evidence to support that juicing contributes to this process.

  3. Cleanses contain sugar. The juices are notorious for having an extremely high sugar content (some more than 130g per day) which is not recommended. This can spike your blood sugar, upset your metabolism and be very dangerous if you have a condition like diabetes.

  4. Low in protein. Your body needs protein to build healthy immune cells and regenerate muscle. Many cleanses contain little to no protein.

  5. They have little fiber. Juicing often strips the fiber out of the fruit and vegetables leaving you with a fiber free meal and feeling hungry.

Based on nutritional information, my advice would be to forego this trend and speak with a professional about your health goals and lifestyle. Diets and eating are not one size fits all and what works for one person may not work for another. Regardless of the method you chose, you should always consult with a doctor or dietitian beforehand.


Amanda Watts, MD
Baton Rouge General Physicians - Bella Family Medical

Phone: (225) 763-4500

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May 24, 2018