Let me preface this by saying that juice cleanses are NOT recommended by dietitians and that they will NOT help you lose real weight or make you “skinny”. You might lose a couple pounds of water weight, but as soon as you eat again, that’ll change. In fact, fasting & restricting food actually decreases your metabolism. That being said, I am an advocate for cleanses (well, obviously, I make my own and sell it). Here’s one of the few reasons why.
No matter how healthy you are, your body takes in a lot of junk. Everyone has their moments and eats junk now and then, healthy packaged foods are still packaged foods, and even if you are 100% clean eating whole, natural foods, you’re still breathing. As long as you’re breathing, you’re building up yucky free radicals in the body.
Oxygen causes the buildup of free radicals. This is a wholeee long process that takes place in the mitochondria (oh yea, remember high school bio?) that I cannot wait to have the time to write about in an easy-to-understand way (stay tuned for Nourish the book!). In the meantime, basically, oxygen → free radicals → aging, cancer and other diseases…the list goes on. If the human body were a bicycle, oxygen is rust.
So, before I get too off-track, let’s answer this: what does this have to do with cleanses?
Well, antioxidants are pretty much free radical killers. You all know berries and other foods have antioxidants, but I bet you didn’t know that your body naturally makes really powerful antioxidants without food, called superoxide dismutase-2 (let's call this SOD2 for short!). But, the process of eating and metabolizing food turns off these little guys, which further adds to the free radicals running wild.
When you are on a cleanse, a juice one or a calorie restricted one, you give your body the chance to not only give the liver and other organs a quick break (which they don't really need, but hey, might as well!), but more importantly, your body has the time to build up its natural antioxidants (primarily SOD2) to alleviate the buildup of free radicals. These natural antioxidants have been suggested to prevent aging, cancer, alzheimer’s, diabetes, and so many other diseases.
I personally don’t like the idea of starvation and strict juice cleanses. That’s one thing I (and my clients) love about my cleanse: they are never hungry and you don’t have to give up eating food.
If you don’t calorie restrict, I highly recommend a cleanse every month or few months. Not to lose weight, not to look thin, not to avoid dieting, but rather to build up the body’s natural defenses to fight disease and encourage healthy aging. You’ll thank me when you’re a healthy, active old man or lady!