Ask a Nutritionist: Are Juice Cleanses Actually a Good Idea?

Are juice cleanses a shortcut to a "new year, new you" or just a waste of good fruit? We asked nutritionist Peggy Kostopoulous, RHN, to give us the skinny.

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If you’ve opened social media lately, you’ve probably seen plenty of ads for juice cleanses popping up in your feeds. But are the liquid resets really a short cut to a “new year, new you” – or more of a mistake? We asked nutritionist Peggy Kostopoulous, RHN, author of Kitchen Cures: Revolutionize Your Health with Foods that Heal to give us the skinny.

Are Juice Cleanses a Good Idea?

That depends on why and how you’re doing a juice cleanse. If you need the discipline of a juice cleanse to reset your eating habits, one- to three-day cleanses are the perfect dose. A cleanse is the process of clearing the accumulated toxins in your body that can come from the additives and chemicals used in processed foods. Freshly pressed juice, consisting primarily of greens, sends a surge of nutrients into your body; it provides an injection of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients you might not otherwise be getting.

Juice cleansing is a conscious effort to reduce your intake of toxins while increasing your intake of nutrient-rich foods. Make sure the juice is organic, otherwise the concept of cleansing is out the window. Non-organic juices can be laced with a plethora of pesticides, typically in concentrated amounts, because you would juice more produce than you would eat in a single sitting.

In addition, your body needs fiber. Fiber is essential for keeping your digestive system regular and also for cleansing. Fiber binds onto toxins and clears them from your body. Juices don’t contain fiber —including the prebiotic fiber essential for healthy gut flora, which enable your body’s eliminative organs, such as the liver, kidneys, and colon, to function properly. That’s why juice cleansing isn’t recommended for longer than three days. Alternatively, you may want to add fiber-rich foods, such as chia or flaxseeds, to your cleanse.

I personally love green juice made with kale, Swiss chard, cucumber, celery, and ginger. It’s my liquid chlorophyll drip that I add daily to my overall diet. Our bodies are working on overdrive to detoxify and neutralize all the stress they undergo on a daily basis. The best way to show them some love is to eliminate harmful substances and add an abundance of nutrients. Eating clean and organic on a regular basis does this.


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