Juice cleanse: Does it work? Is it safe?

Whether you are trying to lose weight or detox your body, the juice cleanse has become wildly popular. Consumer Investigator Lauren Verno reveals the pros and cons of a juice cleansing.

Whether you are trying to lose weight or detox your body, the juice cleanse has become wildly popular -- and that’s gotten the attention of the investigative team at Consumer Reports. Juicing involves drinking only extracted juice from fruits and vegetables for a couple of days. But does it work and is it safe?

Juicing enthusiast Jim Schwab cleanses about three times a year. While he doesn’t do it to lose weight, he says it helps him kickstart a healthy diet.

“I use it as a way to kind of reset my body when I get into bad habits of snacking and over portioning, too much sugar, too much caffeine,” Schwab said.

He has been juicing for several years, and although the trend has been around for a while -- there’s an increase in the cold-pressed juice market, by more than $116 million by 2025.

A five-day cleanse can cost anywhere from $125 to more than $400, promising to make you feel and look better to having more energy -- some even delivering cleanses right to your door.

“You feel more consistent, your mind is much clearer because you’re sleeping better, you generally feel better,” Schwab said.

“If you think about it, it makes sense. If you’re not eating a lot of fruits and vegetables and suddenly start drinking them, that burst of nutrients might feel really good,” explained Consumer Reports Health Editor Trisha Calvo.

But Consumer Reports says although juicing makes some people feel good there’s no scientific evidence that says it’s actually good for you.

“The natural sugars in juice can be digested really quickly and that can cause your blood glucose levels to spike. That can give you a burst of energy,” Calvo said.

While juicing can help shed pounds, due to lower caloric intake, Consumer Reports says it’s probably short-term water-weight loss, not fat -- and likely to return.

And what about the promise of detoxification?

“Your body already detoxes itself -- it uses your kidneys, liver and digestive tract to do the job. Nutrients from fruits and vegetables can help with that. But juicing leaves fiber behind and fiber is key for a healthy gut,” Calvo explained.

That’s why Schwab says he caps his juice cleansing regimen with a salad at night.

If you’re thinking of joining the juice cleansing trend Consumer Reports says, make sure to consult with your healthcare provider first, especially if you have any kind of health condition.