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 #3: All Juices Are Equal
You really have to scrutinize juice ingredients. According to Hyman, some fruit-only juices can be very high in sugar – even added sugars, which are one of the main toxins you want eliminate in the first place. On the flip side, juices made only of green vegetables are often super-dense and too tough to stomach, says Haas. Your best bet: Cocktails of kale, spinach, parsley, and barley grass, along with sweeter veggies such as carrots, celery, and cucumbers and fruits like apples for flavor. These foods are chockfull of essential vitamins and minerals that the body needs. They also contain some amino acids, Haas says, which are extra important while juicing since you're not getting them from meat and other protein sources.
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