Is Juicing Healthy?

Not everyone is jumping on the juice cleanse bandwagon. While some health experts feel it is an important step to get toxins out of the body, others think it’s nothing but a fleeting trend. Here's what you need to know. 

Juicing dates back to the 1930s, but the surge came a few years ago, first with a strong presence in New York and Los Angeles. Juice cleanses have since become popular as the uptick in natural, healthy food has become more the norm. “Celebrities have pushed the trend forward but juices are an easy way to incorporate something healthy into a busy lifestyle,” says celebrity nutritionist Christine Avanti.

Consuming nothing (with the exception of water and herbal tea) but raw juices for one to seven days helps release toxins and solid foods in the digestive system. “Since the pulp and fiber are removed, it’s thought that the nutrients in juice are assimilated quickly into your body and bloodstream. This gives the immune system animmediate boost and feeds the cells quick nutrition,” says Dr. Frank Lipman, founder of New York’s Eleven Eleven Wellness Center.

The Upsides

  • Toxins are removed. As toxins accumulate internally they can lead to inflammation, diseases and a compromised immune system. Fruits and vegetables help release trapped toxins.
  • You’re consuming large amounts of vegetables. Most people don’t get their recommended daily allowance of fruits and vegetables to begin with, and drinking juices is an easy way to provide the body with them.
  • Energy levels are increased. You may feel more alert and focused because there are fewer artificial additives and chemicals in your body. Many juicers say they also sleep better.
  • Skin looks clearer and more radiant. As the liver is detoxed, and there are fewer chemicals in the body, the skin is purged and tends to look better.
  • Minimal weight loss. On average, you can expect to lose a few pounds, some of which are water weight.
  • The immune system may be strengthened. Immunity is said to be boosted, so it’s thought that you’re less susceptible to allergies and becoming sick.

The Downsides

  • You may feel bloated or constipated. Lack of fiber can make the stomach feel full and uncomfortable.
  • Cravings for sugar and carbs. Changing your diet drastically, even if it’s only for a few days, can make you crave sweets and carbs. Any withdrawal from caffeineor sugar can cause headaches.
  • Weight may be regained. “The results are often not sustainable, so people end up gaining weight back,” says Dr. Lipman.
  • Juicing omits fiber found in fruits and vegetables and strict juicing eliminates other nutrients. "Strict juicing as a meal replacement is not a good idea because it omits essential nutrients, like protein, from the diet. Juicing also removes fiber. Without fiber, protein or healthy fats, blood sugar levels rise rapidly causing fat storage, which ultimately leaves you hungry. A lot of my clients who have done juice cleanses have lost weight, but then gain it back after they’ve finished the cleanse,” says Avanti.

The verdict: It depends on who you ask and what you want to achieve. Want to try it? Check out these six celebrity approved juices cleanses.