After having one too many beers and pizzas over the weekend, your body feels more sluggish than ever. You are wondering whether a 5-day juice cleanse would make you feel better. It is normal to want to reset your diet, especially after making poor food choices for a while.
In recent times, everyone is raving about “juicing” to “detox” and lose weight. What are juice cleanses? Do they work? Are they safe? We have compiled the latest research and commentary from health experts. Here is what you need to know before you go on a juice cleanse.
What Is A Juice Cleanse?
A juice cleanse is a liquid diet that involves consuming only juices from fruits and vegetables. It restricts the calories one takes in. Juicing involves more than blending fruits and vegetables – one must also separate the pulp from the liquid. Normally, cleanses last for 3-10 days.
Advocates of this diet bank on the nutritional profile of fruits and vegetables. They claim that juicing offers your body a variety of elusive nutrients in a form that is easy to absorb. They are not entirely wrong; kale and citrus-based juices, for example, are proven to contain nutrients that help reduce heart disease risk (8). Further, they claim that going on such a diet allows your body to get rid of “toxins” that have accumulated over time.
However, there is one glaring misconception about juicing and weight loss that has been fuelled by pop culture. Social media endorsements make juice cleanses seem like a one-size-fits-all weight loss strategy. Many have wondered; why put in hours on the treadmill when you could simply drink juice and call it a day?
The truth is, a juice cleanse is not a shortcut to weight loss. No scientific research supports the efficacy of juice cleanses for weight loss. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, there have only been a small number of studies on the efficacy of cleansing programs (1). The studies are small in size, poorly designed, and not peer-reviewed.
So, is a juice cleanse pointless? Kind of. But you can’t still give it a try for a short amount of time if you are curious, as long as you eventually go back to regular eating habits. There is a method to the madness. Let us break it down for you.
What To Expect On A 5-Day Juice Cleanse?
If you are interested in the 5-day juice cleanse to lose weight, we highly recommend that you look into healthy, balanced meals instead. That said, juices are a great way to add a variety of vitamins and minerals. More importantly, you can go on a so-called “cleanse” to reinforce healthy eating habits.
By avoiding sugar, caffeine, and processed foods you get a head start on healthy eating. The 3 or 5-day juice cleanse gives you a chance to reintroduce healthy foods gradually. What happens to your body when you survive on juice for days? Here is what you should expect.
Day 1: You Might Miss Chewing
On day one of your juice cleanse, you might think too much about eating. Because meals are habitual, such thoughts are unavoidable. You might also miss chewing as you get used to surviving on a liquid all day. The thoughts of food and snacks can be distracting, but they usually subside after a day (5).
It is important to listen to your body during the cleansing period. Learn how to discern hunger from boredom. If you feel genuinely hungry, it is okay to take a healthy snack. Do not be too restrictive in your 5-day plan; restrictive diets have been proven to backfire (3).
Day 2: You Might Feel More Energetic By Day And Alert By Night
On day two of the cleanse, you might feel a burst of energy (5). Because digestion is a process that uses up your energy reserves, the juice diet lessens the energy demand. Additionally, you could be more energetic because you have unknowingly eliminated allergens from your diet.
At night, you might have trouble sleeping (5). If you are feeling really hungry, your body might fight your efforts to relax and fall asleep. You might make more trips to the bathroom which disrupt your night and keep you awake.
Day 3-5: You Might Feel Cold, And Other Detox Symptoms
As your body is being deprived of food, you might experience some alarming symptoms. (10). You might feel one or more of the following:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Body aches
- Back pains
- Low concentration levels
The discomfort people feel at this stage varies from one to the next. It is always a good idea to listen to your body and eat something if you think you need to.
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What Is The Best 5-Day Juice Cleanse Plan?
The 5-day juice cleanse takes on many forms, but typically involves drinking a certain amount of juice each day. The juice ingredients vary from one day to the next. Regardless of which juice recipe you prefer, below are 4 crucial steps that your plan must have.
Step 1: Pre-Cleanse
Waking up with a hangover one morning and starting a juice cleanse is a terrible idea. No matter how urgently you feel you should hop onto the trend, take time to prepare for it. A pre-cleanse would apparently bea way of easing into the juice diet. It would entail gradually switching to clean eating to get your body accustomed to the idea.
How long you pre-cleanse for would depend on how your typical diet is, according to juicing experts (6). Ideally, you should clean up your diet for 2-7 days before embarking on the cleanse. If you have been eating healthy foods for a while, a 1-2 day pre-cleanse would be sufficient.
In case you have been a junk food enthusiast, spend 7 days switching to healthy alternatives. If you eat healthy food most of the time but occasionally indulge in junk food, 3-4 days of pre-cleansing are recommended by juicing fanatics.
Pre-cleansing is quite easy and it reinforces healthy eating habits that you should retain after the so-called cleanse is over. To prepare your body for the 5-day liquid diet, do the following:
- Take a lot of water;
- Reduce your caffeine intake;
- Include more whole fruits and vegetables to your diet;
- Opt for a plant-based diet;
- Stay away from refined and processed foods.
Step 2: Pick A Juice Diet
Juice diets, like most things, come in different types and flavors. You can decide to go grocery shopping and make homemade juice. You can also opt for organic ready-to-drink varieties sold by popular juicing companies. Either way, you should consider the following factors when choosing which juices to use:
- Fruits and vegetables that are in season are always cheaper;
- Juicing requires special equipment;
- You should have enough time in your schedule to prepare fresh juice daily;
- It is better to go organic to avoid ingesting preservatives and chemicals;
- For ready-to-drink juices, read the label to check for additives;
- Research a juicing company before buying the product.
Step 3: Listen To Your Body
Moderation is always key, regardless of your diet and eating habits. If you feel weak or uncomfortable and have persistent hunger pangs, it is okay to eat. Healthy snacks such as vegetables, fruits, vegetable broth, and soups might ease your discomfort. You should not punish your body by forcing yourself to survive on juice even when you are uncomfortable.
Step 4: Ease Back Into Solid Foods
Ending a cleanse should be done gradually to give your digestive system time to adapt. The day after your “detox”, eat lightly steamed vegetables and nuts. Broth and foods with a slightly liquid consistency are also recommended. Avoid processed foods, dairy, and meat. It apparently could take at least 3 days to get back to your ordinary diet (7), but even then, keep portions small and introduce one food at a time.
You may keep a journal, recording your body’s response to each food.
What Are The Best 5-Day Juice Cleanse Weight Loss Recipes?
If you want to do the 5-day juice cleanse plan at home, you will need some recipes. You will also need a juicer or blender, the former being preferable because it separates the pulp for you. If you use a blender, use a cheesecloth to strain out the juice from the pulp.
The beauty of juicing is that all you have to do is put all the ingredients in the juicer or blender and wait – no complicated methods to follow. Below are some favorable juice recipes you can try at home.
Basic Green Juice
- 2 apples
- 2 cucumbers
- 6-8 leaves of kale
- A handful of parsley
Loaded Green Juice
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 6 stalks of celery
- 2 large cucumbers
- ½ lemon
- 2 apples
- 1 inch of ginger
- ½ cup parsley
Basic Orange Juice
- 4 medium-sized carrots
- 2 peeled oranges
- 1 beetroot
Loaded Orange Juice
- 9 large carrots
- a peeled orange
- 1 apple
- 1/3 cup pineapple
- ½ lemon
- 1 inch of turmeric
Basic Red Juice
- ½ watermelon
- 1 lime
- 1 handful of basil
Loaded Red Juice
- 1 apple
- 2 beetroots
- 3 large carrots
- 1 peeled orange
- a inch of ginger
- 1 handful of spinach
Basic Purple Juice
- 30 purple grapes
- 1 handful of mint
- 1 basket of blueberries
Loaded Purple Juice
- 1 sweet potato
- 2 pitted peaches or pears
- 1 red apple
- a handful of blueberries
- 1 pinch of cinnamon
Are The 5-day Juice Cleanse Results Worth It?
Is going on a liquid diet for 5-days worth it? How many pounds are lost during a 5-day juice cleanse? Considering the lack of scientific research on the practice, it is impossible to say.
Juices do not offer any exceptional benefits over eating whole fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy diet. If anything, experts have pointed out certain aspects of this diet that make its potentially dangerous.
Your Body Is Perfectly Capable Of Detoxing On Its Own
We hate to break it to you, but juice alone cannot cleanse your system (13). Even if it could, your body does not need it. Your liver, kidneys, and entire lymphatic system were created for that exact purpose; to detoxify your body. So, you will do just fine without cleansing. What a liquid diet can do is help you step away from processed foods that are not good for you.
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You Will Not Learn Portion Control And Other Long-Term Weight Loss Solutions
There is no shortcut to weight loss. You have to put in the work. Any juicing company that purports to help you shed several pounds in a few days is a scam. Please, save your hard-earned money for a more worthwhile cause.
Any weight lost during a 5-day juice cleanse is water weight. Furthermore, putting your body in starvation mode makes you lose more muscle than fat (2). Why – because your body panics and “holds” onto fat anticipating more starvation. The problem with losing muscle mass is that your metabolism slows down. When you start eating again, you are more likely to gain weight.
The key to weight loss is a caloric deficit (4). There are many healthy ways of achieving it including good food choices, portion control, and increased physical activity. Anything that seems too restrictive and promises a quick-fix is unsustainable.
Always choose a weight loss plan that fits into your schedule and can be sustained over several years. Consistency and patience are key to safely losing weight.
You Will Miss Out On Important Nutrients
Juices are not nutritionally balanced. They do not have sufficient proteins or fat to cater to your body’s needs. They also lack fiber which is essential for proper digestion.
That said, taking juice in place of one of your three daily meals each day is possible. If you struggle to eat whole fruits and vegetables daily, juices are perfect for you. They ensure that you meet your body’s needs as far as vitamins and minerals are concerned.
Is The 5-Day Juice Cleanse Safe?
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the main safety concern with juices is contamination (12). When you consume ready-to-drink juices that have not been pasteurized, you are at a higher risk of food poisoning. The FDA requires untreated products to carry a warning label stating that they may contain harmful bacteria.
There are other safety concerns related to taking juice only for several days (1). Some of the most prominent ones are:
- Some juices made from foods with too many oxalates increase the risk of kidney problems;
- People with a history of diabetes, kidney disease, and gastrointestinal disease may experience serious side effects;
- The laxative effect of some detoxification recipes may lead to severe dehydration;
- Drinking large quantities of fluids without food for days may lead to electrolyte imbalances.
You are responsible for your health. Before you embark on a 5-day juice cleanse plan at home, talk with your dietitian about it. They will help you to make a well-informed decision.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- “Detoxes” and “Cleanses”: What You Need To Know (2019, nccih.nih.gov)
- Cleanses & Detox Diets—Are They Safe? (2019, eatingwell.com)
- Comparison of dietary macronutrient patterns of 14 popular named dietary programmes for weight and cardiovascular risk factor reduction in adults: systematic review and network meta-analysis of randomised trials (2020, pumbed.gov)
- Counting calories: Get back to weight-loss basics (2020, mayoclinic.org)
- Here’s What Happens to Your Body On a Three-Day Juice Cleanse (2020, shape.com)
- How to Do a Juice Cleanse ( n.d, projectjuice.com)
- How to End a Cleanse Safely (2020, verywellfit.com)
- Juicing – Fad or Fab? (2015, Harvard.edu)
- Juicing: Good or Bad? (2019, healthline.com)
- My Guided 5 Days of Fasting / Juice Cleanse (What Really Happened) (2018, bikechaser.com.au)
- What Is a Juice Cleanse? (2021, verywellfit.com)
- What You Need to Know About Juice Safety (2017, fda.gov)
- You can’t detox your body. It’s a myth. So how do you get healthy? (2014, theguardian.com)