Does juicing really work?

The increasing popularity of all-juice cleanses and detoxes leaves us with one question — are they effective?

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Just when it seems as if we’re safe from yet another widespread and highly touted myth concerning diet and health — I’m talking to you colonics — another “truth” surfaces to great fanfare, accompanied by a barrage of junk science as supporting evidence and usually with its own celebrity spokesperson to lead the media charge.

Pop culture has given way to pop science culture as everyone from starlets to high-profile fitness trainers parrot urban legends that for example, extol the merits of drinking eight glasses of water a day to stave off dehydration and moisturize skin, or counsel readers to irrigate their colons as part of a detoxifying process — call it unnecessary cleaning, since the colon is its own best housekeeper.

Our bodies don’t need an intervention — our kidneys, livers and spleens keep everything in tiptop shape by nature, and they don’t charge for their services either.

Try telling that to the latest faddish cure-all — the juice cleanse is the most popular new health kick on the block, promising to “rest and detoxify” the body over a period of three to five days and beyond, according to a recent article in Maclean’s.

Experts interviewed for the article point out that the digestive tract isn’t dirty, but that hasn’t prevented an entire new industry from springing up in the wake of seemingly exaggerated claims concerning the efficacy of a liquid fast. Julia De Laurentiis Johnson writes, “A juice-only cleanse after a binge works in reverse. But, says Gershon [professor of pathology and cell biology at Columbia University], if you torture your body one way, it’s not good to torture it in another. And a short period of purging may be more harmful than a short period of bingeing.”

While clinical evidence in favour of the benefits of juice fasts are scarce, it seems there is no dearth of consumers willing to spend $50 and more a day to have juice delivered to their houses over the duration of a fast.

As Maclean’s points out, most people use juice fasts as a weight-loss tool — typically, all they get for their efforts is a headache, fatigue and a session of binge-eating after the fact that recoups their temporary losses and adds more on for good measure.

Tell us — Have you ever tried a juice cleanse? Did you feel better, or worse, afterwards?

4 comments on “Does juicing really work?

  1. Thank you for confirming my thoughts on fasting and cleansing. Absolutely no need for it!! Pseudo science is what it is! I have never done a cleanse and never will.


    • A few years ago I got into Juicing. Beets, celery, carrots, parsley, all the good stuff. Within 1 month I came down with a case of kidney stones. Apparently you are supposed to dilute the juice. Anyway one can opt for better things in life then kidney stones. Once bitten, twice shy from them for sure. that was the last juicing I have done. When tested to see what the kidney stone was composed of it was an oxyolate stone consisting of everything I had been ingesting in a concentrated form.


      • Hi there.
        I started juicing of kale,Swiss chard ginger, apple, carrot, orange. I have been doing it for 4 weeks now. I am having it around 11:30am. So far so good. I am not diluting it. I just read your comment and worry about any illness. I am drinking it because It is hard to eat they much vegetables. Should I consult my doctor of I can continue doing or just start to drink half water and half juice. How much juice a day you were drinking?


  2. I’ve done a 3-day juice cleanse, but the cost for the fruit and vegetables was more than I could afford to completely stay on it longer. During those days, I did feel better: mentally and energetically. It was like a fog and weight had lifted from my brain, too, and I could actually think and remember more clearly. Maybe I had such a good reaction because I had already cut back on sugars and processed foods a while before even thinking to do a juice cleanse. It was infomercials that had gotten me thinking about drinking my nutrients.

    Opting to incorporate food along with my juicing, I followed a combination of Joe Cross “Reboot With Joe” Juice Diet and “The Juice Cleanse Reset Diet” by L. Farley & M. St. Clair. Both had a lot of incredible juice and meal recipes along with meal plans. Following the menus for a couple of weeks, I felt really, really good and my complexion began looking healthier and younger. Even though I like many vegetables and fruit, I started to actually want to eat them when looking in the refrigerator.

    But like most good things, it comes to an end. Not because after awhile I began having negative effects, but because sometimes life steps in and disrupts your carefully constructed plan, ritual, system, whatever you want to call it. It’s hard to stay on track. I even packed my juicer and blender to take with me once when I was going to be gone for 2 weeks. They were heavy and I barely had time to unpack them to use.

    I plan to go back on my juicing program because I do feel so much better inside and out when I’m on it. I think it’s because it helped to provide what my body probably seriously needs in a way that eating just can’t. I don’t think that a juice-only-juicing for really long periods would really be good for anyone because juicing does remove the fiber that you also need to have, plus there are some important things you don’t get in what’s thrown away.


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