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 #2: A Cleanse Will Melt Your Belly Fat
It's true that you'll probably drop a few pounds while juice cleaning, but it's not sustainable weight loss. You're likely consuming fewer calories per day than usual, and given all the fluids you're knocking back, you'll be urinating often.
"When the body hangs on to extra toxins, it stores them in fats and other tissues and also retains more water," says Dr. Elson Haas, author of The Detox Diet. "So when detoxing, you'll pee more than usual." Once you go back to Whole Foods, you'll probably gain most of the weight back. But remember, you're cleansing to give your body an edge on eliminating toxins, not to instantly help your pants fit better.
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