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Why “Juice Detoxes” are Misguided

This is one my medical pet peeves: juice detoxes.  People who do them feel like crap by the end and, quite frankly, look like crap. Feeling like crap is not a prerequisite to being healthy or doing something good for yourself. The reason for the “crap” association is because it’s just the wrong way to go about detoxing. It was started by someone who does not understand the phases of detoxification. It was started by someone who thought, “Vegetables and fruits are good, so a ton of them is better and especially if we just drank them without all the other pesky things like fiber because chewing is such a bother.” 


First, a juice detox is full of fructose in an unadulterated form, if you are using fruit as a portion of the detox.  Ironically, this creates a huge burden on the organ you are supposed to be helping, the liver. Fructose can only be processed in the liver and fructose is converted to fat so the body can use it for energy. This is stressful on the liver. 

Juice detox also up-regulates Phase 1 of our detox process, which is when we take a toxin already in the body, make it worse (make it even more inflammatory via Phase 1), before finally giving it to Phase 2 of the process, which then makes it a soluble molecule that can then be excreted through urination or defecation.  Phase 2 is not supported very well with juice detoxes.  The most important reason juice detoxes are not helpful,  is that you need amino acids for Phase 2 and without these, you are basically creating Hell’s Angels (Phase 1) from delinquents (initial toxins), and have no way to kick them out of the body (Phase 2).  Juice detoxes have very little essential amino acids, so Phase 2 is rate limited, and you have made a bad situation worse.

Good liver reboots have both whole fruit/vegetables and protein eaten as a meal. Lean, pasture-raised, animal protein actually works the best, but specific formulations of plant-based protein that are cognizant of the detox amino acid needs, work well too like Pure Lean Detox, Mediclear SGS, and CytoQuel. These are a 2-3 week boost to the detox system, and don’t need to be used long term.  I would start with 1 serving a day for the 1st 3 days, then increase to 2 servings a day for days 4-7, and increase to 3 servings a day for week 2, then back to 2 servings a day for the third week.  These “boosts” to your detox pathway should always be accompanied with the meal described above.

Detox is nothing more than creating balance. Healthy meals detox you all the time by giving you lean meats or a complete plant-based protein source, and include vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts (they up-regulate both Phase 1 and Phase 2) and a serving of fiber-rich fruit (like apples, blueberries etc.), but not juice. Think of the Mediterranean Diet and you are thinking of a detox diet. If you want a more specific plan, look at doing 2-3 weeks of a detox powder to support your “detox” diet, like those mentioned above.