Juice cleanses have become an increasingly popular way for people to detox their bodies and lose weight quickly. During a juice cleanse, you consume nothing but fresh vegetable and fruit juices for a set period of time, typically between 3 and 7 days. While juice cleanses may help remove toxins and promote weight loss in the short term, many people wonder – do you still poop when you’re only drinking juice?
What happens during a juice cleanse?
When you embark on a juice cleanse, you’re severely limiting your calorie intake by avoiding solid foods altogether. The juices are designed to provide enough nutrients to support your body’s basic needs while eliminating toxins and promoting the loss of excess fat. However, the lack of fiber means your digestive system isn’t getting stimulated in the way it normally would be. This can slow down your bowel movements.
Even though you’re taking in far fewer calories during a juice cleanse, your body still needs to eliminate waste. But without fiber to add bulk to your stool and stimulate contractions in your digestive tract, you may find you don’t need to poop as often. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t poop at all.
Yes, you will still poop during a juice cleanse
Despite the lack of fiber, you will still eliminate some waste in stool during a juice cleanse. Here’s why:
- Your digestive system is still producing bile and digestive enzymes.
- Any waste leftover in your intestines will still get pushed out.
- Microbes from your gut flora will be excreted.
- You’ll have some intestinal shedding of mucosal cells.
- Some components of the juice are indigestible and get excreted.
You just won’t poop as much or as often as you normally would when eating solid food. But your body will still need to expel waste at least a few times over the course of a several day cleanse.
What will your poop look like and how often will you go?
During a juice cleanse, your poop may be:
- Less frequent – You might only go every other day, or a couple times over several days. Without fiber, you won’t feel the urge to go as often.
- Smaller in volume – Since you have much less indigestible food matter passing through, your stool will be smaller in size.
- Looser in consistency – With little fiber to add bulk, stools can be loose, soft, or even watery.
- Paler in color – Stools might look paler than normal since juices don’t have as much color as solid foods.
Some people do not have a bowel movement for several days during a juice cleanse. This should not cause concern unless you experience discomfort. Keep in mind you might have some gas and bloating between movements since your digestion is slowed.
Tips for pooping during a juice cleanse
If you go more than 3 days without pooping during a juice cleanse, try these tricks to get things moving again:
- Drink prune juice – Prunes are a natural laxative due to their high fiber and sorbitol content.
- Add a fiber supplement – Psyllium or methylcellulose can help move things along.
- Do an enema – Use a small amount of water to stimulate a bowel movement.
- Massage your abdomen – This can help dislodge stool.
- Go for a walk – Light exercise can help get your bowels moving.
Be sure to drink plenty of fluids during your cleanse as well. Dehydration can lead to constipation. If you go more than three days without a bowel movement and the above remedies don’t work, you may want to consult your doctor.
When will pooping return to normal?
After you finish your juice cleanse, it may take 3-4 days for your bowel movements to return to their normal frequency and consistency. Be sure to slowly reintroduce fiber-rich solid foods like vegetables, fruits and whole grains to allow your GI tract to readjust.
Drinking plenty of fluids and staying active will also help get your digestive system back on track after a cleanse. Take it slow with greasy, fatty foods right away, as these can cause stomach upset after not eating for several days.
Should you do a juice cleanse?
Despite being a popular health fad, juice cleanses are considered controversial by medical professionals. Some key downsides to juice cleanses include:
- Lack of scientific evidence for long-term benefits
- Very low calorie intake may slow metabolism
- Lack of protein, fat and fiber
- Often high in sugar
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Food avoidance promotes unhealthy relationship with food
- Weight loss is often temporary
Instead of a juice cleanse, registered dietitians typically recommend a well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet full of fiber, protein and healthy fats. Make sure to include plenty of vegetables and fruit, but in moderation. If you’re looking to lose weight or detox, be sure to do so under the supervision of your doctor.
The bottom line
During a juice cleanse, you will likely have fewer bowel movements than normal and stools will be loose due to the very low fiber content. But your body will still eliminate waste over the course of several days. Drink plenty of fluids, get light exercise, and slowly ease back into solid foods once the cleanse is over. Keep in mind that more extreme cleanses should be supervised by a doctor.
|Day of Cleanse
|# Bowel Movements
This table shows an example of someone’s bowel movement frequency and stool consistency during a 5 day juice cleanse. As you can see, movements are less frequent but some elimination of waste still occurs.