Quality, cold-pressed juices are everywhere right now – from Starbucks to the grocery store. And while they're not just being sold to people on so-called juice cleanses, the act of giving up all food but juice for better health is trending too. The idea is to give your body a break from all the garbage you normally put in it and, for three days up to a week, consume nothing but nutrient-packed fruit and vegetable juices. When done correctly, these cleanses can help rid the body of excess sugar and stop the flow of synthetic food ingredients, which get backlogged in our bodies and can make us feel sluggish, achy, bloated, and generally like crap.
"The point of any detox program is to optimize the body's natural ability to detoxify itself," says Dr. Mark Hyman, author of The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet. "Juice cleanses are a way to rapidly reboot your system."
But there are many myths swirling around about juice cleanses – that they'll make you drop 10 pounds in as many days, or they'll magically cure long-term ailments. Here's the truth.
Myth #1: Cleanses Are Always Safe
Some juice cleansing programs want you to follow them for multiple weeks, or even permanently. That isn't safe. By switching to a juice-only only diet, you're cutting calories and missing out on key nutrients like protein and healthy fats. Therefore, these should only be temporary plans – three to 10 days – to help your body flush out toxins and inspire you to eat better afterward.
In general, it's a good idea to run any detox plan past your doctor. But definitely consult them if you have a condition like diabetes or are taking medications, Hyman says, to make sure a cleanse won't throw your blood sugar out of whack or interfere with your overall health.
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