By Lauren Denos: 2/9/2015 (Nutrition)

Cleanses are an ever-present process and many people love what they do for them. But what do they really do? Cleansing and fasting have been around for a very long time. We can see evidence of people doing cleanses as early as 1665. Granted, we know much more about the human body today than we did then, and in the next few years we will learn even more. The rate at which we are learning about health and fitness can make our knowledge about something just a year ago obsolete.

The claim is that a cleanse can clear out the toxins in your body, help remove parasite buildup in the intestinal wall, lose weight, can remove toxins out the liver and many others. The liver is very important since it is the organ that processes what goes into our body. Everything that goes into our body and into the blood stream passes through the liver. The liver is what detoxifies our system. But science tell us that toxins do not build up in the liver like many think, except in special cases when someone has liver disease. You can help promote health in the liver, but studies on cleanses are showing no difference in levels of toxicity (in the medical sense) in the body.

In some ways, a cleanse can help reduce toxins, but it is not because it is targeting the toxins directly. Rather, it is because when you give you digestive systems a break it can balance itself. You may lose weight and therefore will have less fat bogging down your system. But keep in mind when you are losing weight because you are on a restrictive calorie cleanse, and you will most likely gain that weight back as soon as you go back to eating your regular diet. If you use the cleanse as a way to jump start a new healthy diet, then you may keep that weight off.

Another thing a cleanse can do is create a break with your food, allowing you to start fresh. We do have a strong addiction to over eating and why not? We have plenty of abundance, and food is the sustenance that gives us life. When we eat this much, we get bogged down. Our systems feel sluggish. This is why people suddenly feel so good after a cleanse. Your body had a break from heavy food or just an overabundance of too much food. This cleanse can create a break in your normal habits making it easier to start fresh with a new way of eating.

Furthermore, when people talk about having more energy, clearer skin, losing weight and having a clearer head this is most likely simply that you have given up a ton of refined foods, sugars and overly fatty foods. No matter what type of cleanse you go on, you want to make sure that you are not neglecting certain nutrients for too long, such as protein, or else the weight you will be seeing coming off will be muscle mass. This, in turn, is what helps our bodies burn calories on a daily basis, not to mention give us our sexy shape.

Let's look at the types of cleanses that are popular.


Some people swear by fasting. Sometimes it is nothing but water, sometimes it is a concoction of maple syrup and cayenne pepper, or lemon and water or apple cider vinegar and water. There are plenty of variations.

Fasting has been around for a very long time, thousands of years actually. Although, it should not be done for more than a day or two. Many medical experts (not all) do not think that fasting is a healthy option. Since it can slow down your metabolism and possibly make weight problems worse.

Other doctors believe that our bodies are made to fast, since we fast every night. They claim that fasting combined with an already healthy diet has improved specific health conditions. If you have been thinking of doing a fast, talk to your doctor and work with a qualified health or nutrition professional. You do not want to just wing a fast, know what you are doing first! A safer bet would be a juicing or smoothie cleanse.


Juicing has it's pros and cons. As an addition to a healthy diet, it can be great since you can get more vegetables in than you would normally be willing to eat. You want to make sure when you are juicing that you are eating mostly vegetables and keep the fruits low. You also want to watch the amount of sugary vegetables you take in, like carrots. Remember some vegetables and fruits are high in sugar, which can be especially problematic if you have blood sugar problems.

People with gut conditions can benefit a lot from doing juices. Some people have such bad digestive systems that they need more nutrients, and when you juice you strip the fiber away which, in some specific cases, may help the body absorb the nutrients more readily.

Like fasting, you don't want to ignore the other nutrients your body needs for long. So a day or two is plenty if you are doing just juice. If you add a quality protein powder or meal replacement to your juices, you can do them longer without the risks associated with a straight juice cleanse.


Smoothies are a lot like juicing. They provide a way for people to get a lot more vegetables in their diet than they normally would. A great benefit with smoothies is that you are still getting the fiber from the vegetables and fruit, which for most people is a big benefit. Not only does the fiber keep you fuller longer, but it can also help the digestive tract. Just like juicing make sure you are not using too much fruit. It is better to do a piece of fruit and some vegetables. Always put the emphasis on vegetables.

With smoothies if you add a good meal replacement powder to the mix then you could use these for meals as often as you like. If you decide to use these as a meal you may also want to add a little bit of olive oil or avocado to them for some healthy fat as well. Change up what you put into your smoothies so that you are not just doing the same fruits and vegetables every day. An added benefit to smoothies is that it takes very little time. In addition, they are easy to take with you and you do not have to think very hard on what you want to eat.

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