Why a Juice Cleanse Might Be a Waste of Time (and Money)

Juice cleanses may not be as healthy as you think

The juice cleanse business is drawing in customers like fruit flies, promising weight loss, body detoxification, and the treatment and prevention of everything from the common cold to cancer. Retailers are taking advantage of the craze, too, with Duane Reade’s new 40 Wall St. location including a juice/smoothie bar for customers and Starbucks opening its new Evolution Fresh juice bar chain this past Monday.

A nutritious juice here and there can be beneficial for your health, but when it’s taken to the extreme — limiting your diet to strictly juices for weeks — it not only fails to be the magic solution the fanatics are claiming it to be; it can also do more harm than good.

What Is a Juice Cleanse/Fast?

During a juice fast or cleanse, a person limits their diet to only fresh vegetable and fruit juices and water for anywhere from a few days to several weeks. The fast focuses on freshly made, unpasteurized juice, so the usual bottles of OJ that you would pick up at the bodega wouldn’t be allowed.

People generally either buy the juices from a manufacturer of juice cleanse products or purchase a juicer and make their own concoctions at home. According to The New York Times, the new cleanses contain about 1,000 to 1,200 calories a day and often include a nut-milk component to provide a small amount of fat and protein.

Pathogens can live on all raw food, but packaged juices go through a pasteurization process that kills them. If you do make your own juices at home, make sure to only make enough for one serving so you don’t give dangerous organisms a chance to develop. And, as always, scrub that produce clean!