Why Juice Cleanses Don’t Work

Juice cleanses are popular in the wellness world but they can be harmful. This post explains why juice cleanses don’t work, while also sharing better ways to stay healthy and reach your weight loss goals!

Juice cleanses are pretty popular with those seeking a healthy lifestyle. This post will explain why juice cleanses don’t work. Bonus tips for staying healthy without juicing and smoothie recipes as an alternative!

We’re all looking for easy ways to get perfect skin and extra energy. Some of us hope to lose weight and others are looking to build muscle.

Many hope that drinking a magic elixir will give them what they want. You know, a magnificent potion with either special ingredients or tremendous powers.

Juice cleanses are often marketed as this quick fix.

While “detoxing the body” is the main focus of the juice cleanse, an overall feeling of awesomeness is expected, too…

But I’m going to tell you why juice cleanses don’t work.

Juice cleanses aren’t all they are hyped up to be, and there are alternatives to reaching your goals that are a LOT better for you. 

Let’s unpack the facts, shall we?


When someone does a juice cleanse, they consume only the juice from fruits and veggies as a way to detoxify the body. Some do it as a jumpstart to weight loss, too. Juice cleanses typically last from 3 to 10 days, but some can go as long as 21 days!

Are there risks to juice cleanses? 

  • Juice cleanses are low in calories and proper nutrition, leaving you without energy.
  • Juices that are unpasteurized or that contain bacteria can cause issues for the elderly, very young, and those with weakened immune systems.
  • If a juice cleanse stimulates the bowel too much, nutrients can be lost, leading to imbalanced electrolytes and dehydration.
  • Some people may experience weakness, headaches, brain fog, irritability, and fainting.
  • Juicing removes the healthy fiber from the fruits and veggies, essentially leaving sugar behind.
  • Often, juice cleanses lead to short term weight loss and rebound weight gain, an unhealthy cycle.
  • Studies suggest that some people have the potential to develop eating disorders.


Doing a juice cleanse is not safe for everyone. It is thought that juicing can be hard on the kidneys because of the oxalate that occurs naturally in plants. Large quantities of it can take a toll on the kidneys.

People with diabetes or hypoglycemia may react with an episode of low blood sugar, which can be particularly dangerous if you have that health condition. Dizziness, shakiness, and fainting are three of the symptoms.

And as mentioned before, homemade juice concoctions may result in bacterial infection if the veggies and fruits are not cleaned properly. Also, it is essential to drink the juice within 24 hours of making it.

Close up overhead image of a head of broccoli and a head of cauliflower.


Juicing can be bad for you because it puts your metabolism at risk, makes you miss out on fiber, and can strip your body of healthy bacteria. These are all huge reasons why juice cleanses don’t work.

Allow me to explain…

Metabolism-slowing: When you are on a super low-calorie regimen for an extended time, your metabolism can be negatively affected. Because you don’t have an adequate calorie intake of macronutrients (learn all about macros and how to count them for weight loss), especially protein, your body may start to burn muscle for energy which can slow your metabolism.

Loss of fiber: Fiber is essential to the body’s processes. Removing the fiber from fruits and vegetables via juicing leaves sugars behind. Fiber works to feed gut bacteria and can also fill you up, keeping you away from unhealthy snacks and overeating. It’s much better to be on a diet that includes whole grains and vegetables like spinach, kale, and sweet potatoes—fiber filled solid food that’s satisfying and delicious.

Loss of healthy bacteria: A cleanse meant to flush the intestines can go overboard, emptying out even the good bacteria.

Not sustainable: One of the big things about juice cleanses is that they just aren’t sustainable. Once the cleanse is done and you go back to your regular eating, the weight will come back on. The extreme portion control results in a loss of water weight which is not a long-term thing. 

Yoyo dieting: Juice cleanses are common contributors to unhealthy cycles of weight loss. Avoid yo-yo dieting and try a healthier eating regimen like my 7 Day Meal Prep for Weight Loss. Instead of hard to take calorie restriction, you’ll enjoy tasty dishes that satisfy while helping you lose weight AND establish good eating habits.

You can also try Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss. All of the info is right here!

Overhead image of water being poured into a container of cucumbers and mint.


Yes, you can lose weight on a juice cleanse but it won’t be a sustainable weight loss. It’s essentially water you are losing, and that will come right back when you go back to your usual eating regimen.

With this type of cleanse, you will not be taking in the fats and protein that you need to feel good and have your body function as it should. Because of this lack of protein and fat in the diet, you are basically getting your nutrients from the carbs in the juices. 

But all macronutrients are important and absolutely essential to a healthy body. Read about why protein is essential here and how fat (like dairy in Greek yogurt) is so necessary in this post.

Sorry if I am bursting anyone’s bubble. I’d feel crummy for sharing why juice cleanses don’t work without offering a better alternative. So keep reading!


Smoothies are definitely better than juicing. Smoothies are full of nutrients, satisfying, and even easier to make! A simple blender will do as opposed to an expensive and hard-to-clean juicer.

Smoothies give you the simplicity you may be looking for in a juice (like the grab n’ go feature!) but give a more rounded nutritional punch. Take a look at my post on high protein smoothie recipes for weight loss. They’ll fill you up (helping you avoid junk food and snacking). I add cleanish Brand Protein Powder too, for extra lean muscle building nutrition.

Seriously, incorporating weight loss smoothies into your eating regimen is much more satisfying than drinking fruits and vegetable juices.

And you can still lose weight with a smoothie regimen, yet you’ll be better balanced as far as the nutrients needed for your body. 


As mentioned, I especially like to add protein powder to my smoothies. Pea protein, for example, can help you build muscle and help you to lose weight, too.

You’ll still get the fiber that’s necessary for keeping your digestive system humming and the fruits and veggies in smoothies help to boost your vitamin intake. Vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber are all essential to health.

Full-fat dairy is also good for weight loss (read about it here), further adding to the fact that enjoying smoothies is a better alternative to juicing. 

And you get weight loss benefits, too. Plus, you aren’t drinking pure sugar. Smoothies combine protein, fat, and carbs, the 3 essential macronutrients for a healthy lifestyle.

Close up side image of a smoothie in a glass; surrounding the smoothie are kale, avocado, and banana.

Try one of my favorite smoothie recipes!


If you take care of yourself by moving as much as you can and eating clean, your organs will function well and detox the body naturally. In fact, getting rid of toxins is one of the jobs of the liver—our bodies are fine-tuned to taking steps toward wellness, especially when we reward them with good food and fun workouts.

While you’re at it you should also…

  • Avoid junk food, increase fruits and veggies like broccoli, apples, celery, beets, spinach and other foods high in fiber and exercise regularly.
  • Eat lean meat, poultry, and fish.
  • Bump up your intake of healthy fats and make sure you get the right protein sources for your lifestyle, whether it be meat-lover or vegan.


I get it—sometimes we feel like we need a reboot. We want to start fresh and get on track to a healthy lifestyle. Rather than suffering through a juice cleanse (that doesn’t work), ditch the yo-yo dieting. Give your colon a head start to proper function (no cleanses or laxatives required) and try the following instead:

  1. Follow a whole food plan like meal planning or an anti-inflammatory diet.
  2. Drink lots and lots of water –>try these infused water recipes!
  3. Eat a high-fiber diet to keep your digestive system working smoothly.
  4. Avoid added hidden sugars—simply doing this has a ton of benefits.
  5. Eat lots of fruits and veggies every day. You’ll feel great!
  6. Avoid foods that cause inflammation.
  7. Eliminate processed foods.
  8. Get the proper rest and adequate sleep.
  9. Exercise and spend time outside, reflecting on nature.
  10. Cut back on salt.

So now that you have the scoop on why juice cleanses don’t work, you’re ready to make the move toward a totally healthy lifestyle in a better way.

Doing what’s best for your body translates to mind and soul, too. Take care of yourself with the steps we’ve talked about and feeling good will fall into place.

You’ve got this!

This post contains affiliate links for products I use regularly and highly recommend.

Lacey Baier

Hey there! I’m Lacey Baier and I’d like to welcome you! I’m a healthy lifestyle influencer and the creator of this clean-eating blog and YouTube channel, as well as cleanish, my clean-eating supplement brand. My recipes have been published on Food Network, Good Morning America, FoxNews, Tastemade, Fitness Magazine, and much more. I live in Austin, Texas with my husband and four kiddos. Let’s get started!

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