It’s tempting to dive into a three-day juice cleanse after a weekend of too much food and too many cocktails. But is a condensed cleanse worth its weight in green? Find out here.
There are five-day, seven-day and even (jaw drop) 30-day juice cleanses. And for those wanting a quick hit of the supposed benefits of juicing, the three-day cleanse is on the rise. “Three-day juice cleanses are seeing a surge in popularity, in part because they’re easier to complete than seven-, 14- or 30-day juice cleanses,” says Kimberly Sasso, RD, a registered dietitian at the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care in Chicago. “Their ‘do-ability’ is appealing to many.” With summer here, you, too, may have wondered if you should do a three-day juice cleanse.
But before you embark on a 72-hour, cold-pressed sipping spree, let’s get right to it: You probably should not do a three-day juice cleanse. “Juice cleanses are a fad,” says Sasso. “There is no current, clear evidence that shows any health benefits to juice cleanses, and none supported by research.” And all the claims of detox benefits are nothing more than pulp fiction, she adds. “These days, there’s a perception that juicing can ‘cleanse’ your intestines and ‘reboot’ your system—neither of which are true. Your liver and kidneys do all of the necessary cleaning.”
What’s more, a three-day juice cleanse might do more harm than good. “Juicing reduces the fiber content and leaves only some of the vitamins, minerals, and some phytonutrients,” Sasso says. Plus, an all-juice diet is painfully low in protein. The result: “The body starts breaking down its energy stores, including muscle,” Sasso says. That happens whether you’re doing a three-day cleanse or a 10-day cleanse—anything over a day.
That doesn’t mean you need to stop gulping your greens altogether: Sasso suggests blending rather than juicing. “Blending maintains the fiber content of plants,” she says. If it’s a meal replacement you’re looking for, be sure to include a protein source, like protein powder, hemp seeds, or Greek yogurt.