The reopening of patios has officially kicked off the summer season, and with this full swing into warm weather activities comes the inevitable weight-loss messaging we see year after year. The concept of the juice cleanse is most likely not new to you—the fad diet has been rising in popularity for the past few years, with packages promising to “reset” and “detox” your body. But how much truth is there in this advertising? Experts say: not much.
While juice cleanses and other liquid fad diets use a ‘back-to-basics’ food mentality that works to convince you that your body requires a physical reset, Sharon Horesh Bergquist, MD, from the Emory School of Medicine counters this narrative, “The reality is that your body is a detoxification machine, fully built with its own elaborate way of ridding toxins and unwanted chemicals.” Not only do juice cleanses make themselves redundant by the body, but they can actually do more harm than good. Bergquist goes on to explain that liquid diets flush out as much good bacteria as bad bacteria, leaving you dehydrated and lacking in electrolytes.
The real hero behind body detoxification? The elaborate internal pathway between your liver and digestive systems. The body naturally turns over unwanted toxins to the liver to be filtered and excreted—without any effort on your behalf. The best way to keep your body healthy and free from the effects of toxins is to maintain good liver health, which studies have shown can be achieved through a diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, and nuts. However, the frontrunner for positive liver health is somewhat surprising—coffee. Research has consistently shown that drinking coffee decreases the risk of liver disease, even in those with poor liver health to begin with. Coffee lovers rejoice—your morning cup of joe is, in fact, an elixir for good health.
Rather than buying into the false marketing of a liquid-only ‘cleanse’, experts say that adopting a whole foods diet year round is the best alternative. These fiber and nutrient dense foods like fruits, vegetables, and legumes have a positive effect on many of the body’s important organs and systems, without sacrificing the joys of a lifestyle consisting of solid foods.
By Maija Stevenson