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It’s often touted as the miracle answer to a heavy few days of eating and drinking but a doctor has slammed this diet trend as a “myth”.

This week Dr Zac Turner unpicks the benefits of a juice cleanse.

QUESTION: Hi Dr Zac, in layman’s terms, can you explain the health benefits of a juice cleanse? After drinking and eating myself silly this summer, I’m wanting to completely cleanse my insides and a close friend said a juice cleanse may be my best option.

What should I do to push the refresh button on my body? Is a juice cleanse the right idea? –

Tina, Merimbula, NSW

ANSWER: If you look up ‘juice cleanse’ on Google Trends, you’ll find Australians googled it emphatically on New Year’s Day 2021 (Score of 75) compared to two days earlier on December 30 2020 (Score of 0).

This knee-jerk reaction sums up juice cleansing perfectly. It’s perceived by Australians as a quick fix to clean out your body after a period of excessive food and alcohol. I’m sorry to burst your bubble but a juice cleanse will not detoxify your body, regardless of what an unqualified influencer may tell you.

I won’t deny there are some positives, mainly you get to consume plenty of fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamins and antioxidants, including folate, vitamin C, vitamin E and beta carotene.

After consuming so much highly processed food and alcohol this summer, it’s normal you would feel your body needs a ‘detox’ and a juice cleanse sounds like the perfect solution. Science tells us that this is not the way to go. Our bodies are highly effective at detoxifying on their own, but of course the marketers wouldn’t tell you that, would they?

Let me fill you in on the real facts of juice cleansing.

Fruit and vegetable juice is almost completely devoid of protein, healthy fats and certain vitamins (like B12) – all of which are vital to your everyday health. Fibre is stripped out of fruits and vegetables during the juicing process, this fibre is important for ‘feeding’ the healthy bacteria in our gut which in turn leads to keeping us feeling fuller for longer, lowering blood sugar levels and preventing constipation.

Instead of a juice cleanse, focus on eating whole foods, including veggies, fruits, beans, nuts and whole grains. The fibre from these foods will help eliminate some toxins, while their phytochemicals may help promote the detoxification of carcinogens.

The touted benefits of liver cleansing products and supplements aren’t based on evidence or fact. They’re really just a marketing myth.

If you’re concerned about your health, the best person to talk to is your doctor. They’ll be able to advise you on what you can do to safely promote liver health or address any other health concerns you may have.

And last but not least, don’t forget to drink plenty of water. That will also keep you feeling healthy and will keep your skin beautifully hydrated.