Detoxing is definitely a trend in today’s health arena. Every day it seems like a new celebrity detox program appears, another food product marketing campaign claims cleansing properties, or another friend tries the Master Cleanse fast–subsisting on lemon juice, cayenne pepper and maple syrup. Does detoxing have a positive health benefit like medicine, ridding our bodies of poisons? Or is detoxing a myth, another clever ad campaign encouraging us to spend money on special formulas when our bodies already detox themselves naturally? It is up to you to decide the answer.
The most popular kind of detox program promoted today is some sort of juice cleanse, a one- to five-day liquid diet of raw fruit and vegetable juices. Often promoted by celebrities, many detox programs have names like Juice RX, iZOcleanse and BluePrintCleanse (and often costing $65-90 per day), these juice diets claim to do everything from cleansing the blood and sweeping out toxins to bolstering the immune system and fighting off disease. To be sure, juice provides a certain amount of nutrients and minerals that you are not going to find in a Twinkie. But to claim that a juice cocktail is a holistic remedy for anything that ails you?
Scientists don’t agree. In fact, there is zero scientific evidence to support the idea that good ol’ fruit juice removes any kind of toxins from the blood, body or otherwise. Our bodies are made to expel toxins naturally; if they didn’t do this, the human species would not have survived long enough to buy trendy juice drinks. Like douching or colonic irrigation, juice cleanses are just another clever marketing scheme to convince you to spend money on commercial products when your body does the job just fine. The #1 job of your kidneys and your liver is to remove toxins from your body.
But what about the Master Cleanse? No big corporation is behind a juice fast of lemonade, maple syrup and cayenne – so it couldn’t hurt, right? Wrong. After three days on the Master Cleanse juice fast with no solid foods, my brother passed out in the bathroom of his apartment, hit his head on the sink and was rushed to the ER, where he received stitches for his long scar and an even longer medical bill. He’ll be feeling the effects of that detox program for a while.
Our bodies are exposed to a much larger amount of toxins in today’s modern environment, from junk food, alcohol, smoking and exposure to pollutants in our indoor and outdoor surroundings. Detoxing with a juice cleanse is one way to help your body get rid of poisons that it has picked up from living in a chemical-laden, polluted world.
Proponents of juice cleansing insist that it makes them feel more energized, gets rid of aches and pains and even delivers a healthy glow to the skin. Doctors and other scientists might not agree with the purported benefits of detoxing, but there’s a whole field of alternative medicine, including herbal remedies and homeopathy, that isn’t backed by science and yet helps millions of people become healthier this year. (Scientists don’t know everything.)
There’s no doubt that eating less when you are sick can have merits, hence the old saying “starve a fever.” Subsisting on juice alone for several days or more helps the body wash away toxins, resetting the digestive track and bolstering the immune system against illness and disease. Every nutritional plan in existence promotes eating fruit and vegetables, and juice cleanses take advantage of the healing power of whole foods. Sugars, fats and other unhealthy ingredients in our usual diets have an addictive power, and fasting on pure juice is an excellent way to help your body break the cycle of craving. After detoxing with a juice fast, you will feel better than ever – and you might even lose a pound or two as well.
Have you decided if detoxing with a juice cleanse is right for you? Like all matters of the health, detoxing is not a one-size-fits-all cure, and we must all take responsibility for taking care of our own bodies. Please note that most everyone agrees that juice cleanses are not meant for children, teens, pregnant or breast-feeding women, or anyone suffering from an eating disorder or chronic illness.