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One Major Side Effect of Doing a Juice Cleanse, Expert Says

If juicing seems like an ideal way to un-do indulgent choices, a doctor explains why it does the opposite.

So maybe you feel like you've overdone it a little! For many, the start of August signals the beginning of the end of summer… and with that often comes a sudden surge of travel, parties, eating, and drinking. That's why a juice cleanse—an increasingly popular "fix" for cleaning up all that damage—can seem like such a relief. However, says one liver expert, juice cleanses are actually unnecessary to your system; and may actually intensify the harm that previous unhealthy choices can cause.

By the end of a food-filled vacation or weekend of socializing, it's natural if the only thing you're craving is a way to reverse the sugar, fat, cholesterol, and alcohol you've consumed. Pressed juices from fresh fruits, vegetables, and some other natural foods often seem like an attractive "detox" method, but California gastroenterologist Kaveh Hoda, M.D. says cleanses often come with a few dirty little secrets.

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On a recent episode of Jen Gunter, M.D.'s podcast Body Stuff (via Insider), Hoda commented in response to whether our bodies need to be "cleansed" by "getting the bad out" with tactics like juice cleanses. "[It] sounds like probably more sugar than you need, probably not the kind of thing that we would recommend," Hoda said.

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Hoda addressed other shortcomings of diet "cleanses," such as the body's need for a wider balance of nutrients than juices alone can provide, and that some of the more acidic juices "can actually irritate the G.I. tract," he said. In particular, he pointed to a lemon-cayenne pepper blend that's relatively well-known.

So juice cleanses alone aren't the perfect solution for righting those summertime wrongs—but, there are healthier routes. Read up on the one beverage you should drink to cleanse your body, according to a registered dietitian. Also, keep reading:

Krissy Gasbarre
Krissy is a senior news editor at <em>Eat This, Not That!</em>, managing morning and weekend news related to nutrition, wellness, restaurants and groceries (with a focus on beverages), and more. Read more