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No need to “juice cleanse”—the human body is self cleaning—on the inside anyway.

No need to “juice cleanse”-- the human body is self cleaning—on the inside anyway. Don’t be fooled into magical thinking.

This cleanse thing is a fad that comes and goes. Master Cleanse was first published in the 1940s. I think it comes back when those who tried it last go round are old enough not to fall for it again and a new crop of consumers with more money than training in human physiology are ripe for the taking.

First of all your body makes waste or toxins constantly. We breathe and make the waste product carbon dioxide. You drink and make urine. You eat and make poop. The body systems from your skin to your lungs to your liver and kidneys are designed to remove the waste and keep you healthy. No three days of juice needed. Amazing self cleaning on the inside!

I’m not the only one who thinks this way. Consider the source. Those who want your money tell you how great “cleanses” are. Here’s a great quote from a dietitian friend of mine, Dr. Stella Volpe, PhD, RD, professor and chair of the Department of Nutrition Sciences at Drexel University. “There's honestly really no true cleanse because no matter what, your body will make metabolic waste. A lot of people want to go on cleanse diets because they think it'll cleanse themselves or give them a jump start on weight loss. It will help them with weight loss because they eat so little.” (This quote is from My Health News Daily )

So you could create any magical mix of juice, ground nuts, green tea and whatever and call it a cleanse. Sure you will like what you see on the scale because you have just starved yourself for 3 days. But sadly the weight loss is mostly just water and the weight of the muscle and stored sugar (glycogen) you lost. You’ll gain that right back when you start eating real food. The only reason I see to cleanse or fast is for religious reasons.

Want to be “pure” and “clean”? Eat better. Take the ~$200 you’d spend on a “cleanse” down to the produce aisle of the grocery store and load up on fresh food. Buy (and eat) fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains to fuel the body’s natural detox system with vitamins and minerals. And eat them whole, not juiced. The fiber not only provides roughage to move the waste along through your digestive track it also provides prebiotics. Prebiotics are a type of fiber in these foods that get fermented by the good bacteria that live in your gut and help prevent cancer, lower your blood cholesterol, and increase calcium absorption. Apples, artichokes, asparagus, bananas, blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, cranberries, garlic, jicama, leeks, onions, tomatoes, spinach, strawberries, raspberries and raisins are good sources of prebiotics.

I’d only juice my food if I broke my jaw. It is good to chew you food so that you are consuming it slowly enough to register how full you are. Also you can enjoy it! Juice, even green juice, has 100-200 calories a cup. I’d rather eat that instead of drinking it.

So if you really want to do a juice cleanse that is between you and your wallet. Just don’t be fooled into magical thinking.

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Kristin Thomas January 24, 2013 at 10:06 PM
I suspected this - thanks for confirming!
Richard Weisgrau January 25, 2013 at 06:00 AM
Thank you for writing this informative piece. I agree 100%. I'll be 71 y.o. in a couple months. At my annual physical this week my Doc remarked that, based upon my blood work, blood pressure, general fitness like height to weight proportion, general body strength and endurance, he sees living to be 100. (I hope my mind holds out.) My secret is common sense. Eat slowly and stop when you begin to feel full. Eat unprocessed food, e.g. a roasted turkey breast sliced down is better than turkey cold cuts and a heck of a lot cheaper. Stay hydrated with beverages that are not chemical mixes like soda. It is amazing how great tap water, natural juices, and teas taste after you lose the taste memory of sodas and other chemically perfected drinks. Let your instincts take over. Feel a nee for carbs: eat them but only complex carbs. Feel a ned for protein: eat it but avoid the processed crap in packages. Substitute a sweet orange for a piece of cake. OK, you get the idea. It may sound like punishment, but I can attest to the great feeling you get when you just eat healthy. Have you tried fresh ginger tea mixed with black tea, lemon and a touch of honey? No! Try it – best drink you will ever have.
area man January 25, 2013 at 06:43 AM
Live long Richard. Common sense is the best medicine. I'll have to try your ginger/black tea suggestion.
Carol Meerschaert, MBA, RD January 25, 2013 at 12:28 PM
I'm drinking lemon ginger tea right now. Thank you Richard for your comment.
Bob Guzzardi January 27, 2013 at 04:38 PM
thanks good information. I did not know this. I thought there was something to "cleansing". It sounds good but not good science, it seems.

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