Nowadays, it seems like at least one person you know is doing a juice cleanse at any given point. Too much to eat last week? Better detox. Feeling sluggish and bloated? Time for a cleanse. No matter what the reason, people are jumping on the chance to suck down their nutrients in order to feel lighter. But are all juice cleanses even good for you?
When it comes to juice cleanses, we want to believe they are healthy. After all, they're made of fruits and vegetables. However, not all cleanses are nutritious and can actually do more harm to your body than good. We asked a few experts to give us the real skinny on juice cleanses—specifically, which ones to avoid. After you've reassessed whether or not that program is legit or not, head to the grocery store and look for these 25 Best Foods for Instant Detox instead!
It's Not Organic
What makes for a bona fide bad juice cleanse, no other questions asked? One that isn't made of natural whole foods. Organic is everything, says Nichole Lené Falco, a specialist from Yoga Veda Center says organic. We couldn't agree more. It's bad enough we don't know how many pesticides and other harmful chemicals are in our restaurant dishes and other foods; let's not knowingly drink them.
It Lacks Key Nutrients
A juice cleanse with very little nutrients (perfect example: The Master Cleanse with just lemon, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup) is nothing but a "deprivation diet" says Jacqueline Albir, creator of Secrets of a Foodie. "Although it seems like a quick weight loss [solution], it actually slows your metabolism and can lead to future weight gain while depriving your body of essential nutrients." Find out how else you're halting your fat-burning abilities with these 25 Things You're Doing to Slow Your Metabolism.
It Doesn't Work With Your Body Type
There's never one size fits all, and juice cleanses are no exception. It's essential to take your body type into consideration, says Falco. She helps explain it by comparing it to yoga: "There are three different body types in Ayurveda—Vata, Pitta, and Kapha—and [then the corresponding] juice combinations." Like any weight loss program—especially one that is a bit more intense—you should consult a professional about what would work best for you.
It Isn't 24-Hours Fresh
Organic juices can be pricey, so we want to make sure we get the most bang for our buck, right? Sure, but that doesn't mean they should sit in our fridge for days on end like leftovers. The fresher the better—as in, less than a day old.
It's Packed With Sugar
Sugar in fruit is naturally occurring, but you'll still want to be mindful of just how sweet the stuff you're sipping is. And any added sugar is a huge no-no. "It's always good to stick with more deep green choices and only a couple fruit ones," Albir recommends. Lower your sugar intake in general with these 30 Easy Ways to Stop Eating So Much Sugar.
It Claims You Won't Be Tired
Whether you're juicing for two days or five, there's no getting around feeling sluggish—no matter what the juice claims. In fact, it's okay to not be super perky! "All cleanses require rest," Falco says. "It's important that the person cleansing get adequate sleep."
It's Way Too Intense
Juices that have very few ingredients might be too intense for your system. "You're basically starving yourself," says Albir. "And [it's a harmful choice to detox] too quickly without replenishing your body with the vitamins it needs."
It Doesn't Change How You Think About Eating
A solid cleanse will help you understand more about your eating habits. "You are not only changing your diet, you're addressing your cravings," Falco says. Get more insights into how to know if something is working for you or not with these 21 Signs You Should Change Your Diet.
It's Not Cold-Pressed
Falco says it's essential to drink cold-pressed juices because the hydraulic press used to extract the juices allows for a fresher result without pasteurization.
It Wasn't Developed by a Professional
Juice cleanses are a huge trend—which means it's an opportunity for businesses to make money or for non-experts to try and be relevant. But you shouldn't spend several days in a row drinking a juice cleanse developed by just anyone. Nor should you hop around town buying whatever juice for a couple days. If you're going to do a juice cleanse, look for one developed by nutritionist or other professional with real credentials. For more advice on slimming down like a smart person, check out 25 Weight Loss Mantras Nutritionists Swear By.