Lots of people swear by juice cleanses, as if cleaning out your insides by drinking lots of juice will somehow wash away all that ails you.
Science isn’t too sanguine on the whole notion of cleanses, especially for anything more than a short-term prospect.
“There’s no data whatever” that shows detoxes or cleanses work, said Roger Clemens, director of analytical research at USC’s School of Pharmacy, who has written about cleanses with Dr. Peter Pressman. And extended for more than a few days — or for people with chronic diseases or other issues — they can be nutritionally compromising and harmful, he said.
“The claims are all nonsense,” Pressman said. “The kidneys want to be used; the liver wants to be used. You don’t improve them by depriving them.”
Rebooting our attitudes and kick-starting a healthful diet is no small feat. Changing habits is hard. And there’s something to the ritual, to taking resources and time to prepare for the cleanse and endure it.
“I know people claim they feel better,” said Dana Hunnes, a nutritionist at UCLA Medical Center, “but I don’t know if it’s a placebo effect — hey, I’m doing something amazing for my body, so I feel great.”
But that didn’t stop Dr. James Hamblin — The Atlantic magazine’s own Doogie Howser, M.D.. — from (sort of) taking on the cleanse that rules them all. Watch: