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How long is a juice cleanse supposed to last?


A juice cleanse is a type of diet that involves consuming only fresh fruit and vegetable juices for a set period of time. The goal of a juice cleanse is to give your body a break from solid foods and allow it to remove toxins, promote healing, and absorb a high concentration of vitamins, minerals and nutrients from the raw juices. Juice cleanses have become increasingly popular in recent years as a “detox” regimen. But how long should you actually juice fast for it to be effective? Let’s take a deeper look at how juice cleanses work and how long you should stay on one.

What is a Juice Cleanse Exactly?

A juice cleanse is a temporary diet consisting of fresh, raw fruit and vegetable juices. On a juice cleanse, no solid food is consumed – only nutrient-dense liquids extracted from produce. The juices are ideally made by cold-pressing fruits and veggies, which helps preserve the vitamins and enzymes. Some cleanses also include nut milks, broths or smoothies in addition to juices.

The goal of a juice cleanse is to:

  • Give your digestive system a rest from solid foods
  • Flood your body with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients from raw fruits/veggies
  • Eliminate toxins, waste and promote detoxification
  • Improve energy by letting your body absorb nutrients quickly and easily
  • Kickstart healthier eating habits or weight loss

It essentially acts as a “reboot” for your body’s systems. By abstaining from solid foods for a few days, the body can focus its energy on cleansing itself from the inside out.

Potential Benefits of a Juice Cleanse

There are many touted benefits to doing a juice cleanse, including:

  • Body detoxification – By removing solid foods, you give your GI tract a chance to eliminate toxins, heavy metals and waste buildup.
  • Weight loss – Juice cleanses result in a dramatic calorie deficit, leading to quick weight loss, although much of it is water weight.
  • Reduced inflammation – The antioxidants in fresh juices can reduce inflammatory compounds in the body.
  • Increased energy – Nutrients reach your cells quickly without digestion allowing an energy boost.
  • Improved skin – Hydration and nutrients may lead to glowing skin.
  • Better sleep – Melatonin in juices can improve sleep quality.
  • Mood enhancement – The serotonin, vitamin C and amino acids in juices boost mood.
  • Lowered disease risk – The nutrients may help prevent some chronic diseases.

However, many of these benefits are mainly anecdotal. There is little clinical evidence that juice cleanses provide significant or lasting detox effects. But they may offer a “reset button” and kickstart healthier habits.

Potential Downsides of Juice Cleanses

Despite the benefits, juice cleanses also come with some potential downsides including:

  • Lack of protein – Only consuming liquids limits protein intake needed for muscle/tissue health.
  • Low fiber – The lack of fiber and chewing may disrupt your GI system.
  • Energy crashes – The limited calories can lead to fatigue, headaches or nausea.
  • Cravings and overeating – Once you start eating again, it’s easy to overdo it.
  • Loss of muscle mass – Protein is needed to sustain lean muscle mass when dieting.
  • Nutrient deficiencies – Only juicing for long periods can deprive you of key nutrients.

To counter these issues, it’s important not to stay on a restricted juice-only regimen for more than a few days at a time. You should also take care to consume a variety of nutrient-dense juices.

Ideal Length of a Juice Cleanse

So this raises the question – how long should you actually juice fast in order to get the benefits without harm? Here are some general guidelines:

  • 24 hours – This gives your body a chance to briefly “reboot” and absorb nutrients.
  • 3 days – This allows for adequate cellular detoxification and enzyme production.
  • 5 days – This provides more drastic detox effects without being too risky.
  • 1-4 weeks – An extended cleanse for more extreme “purification”.

Most health experts recommend starting with a 24-72 hour juice cleanse, especially if you’ve never done one before. This provides a solid cellular “reboot” and starts the detox process without being too extreme.

Cleansing for 3-5 days is also very common and reasonably safe for most people. It allows for greater elimination of toxins and more profound effects. However, fatigue, hunger and cravings often increase after 3 days.

Extended juice fasts of 1-4 weeks are only recommended under medical supervision due to increased risk of nutrient deficiencies, fatigue, blood sugar swings and loss of muscle mass. Even devoted juicing advocates recommend taking breaks every 7 days when doing long cleanses.

Ideal Preparation for Your Juice Cleanse

To make your juice cleanse as comfortable and effective as possible, it’s wise to prepare properly including:

  • Slowly easing off caffeine, alcohol, sugar and processed foods in the days leading up to it.
  • Stocking up on all the fresh produce and supplies you will need for juicing.
  • Drinking plenty of water the day before you start.
  • Getting good sleep.
  • Planning your juice recipes in advance.
  • Arranging a less demanding schedule for the duration.
  • Letting friends/family know your plans so they can support you.

Proper preparation makes the transition much smoother and sets you up for success.

How to End Your Juice Cleanse

It’s equally important to ease back into solid foods gradually after cleansing for a few days. Ending your juice fast properly helps “seal in” the benefits. Follow these tips:

  • On the last day, consume a smoothie and raw veggies before adding in lightly cooked foods.
  • Break your fast with fresh fruits or leafy greens before heavier proteins.
  • Chew thoroughly and eat slowly paying attention to when you feel full.
  • Drink lots of water to stay hydrated as fiber is increased.
  • Limit caffeine, sugar, alcohol and wheat initially as they may cause GI distress.
  • Include probiotic foods like kefir, yogurt and fermented items to rebuild gut flora.

Easing out of a cleanse gradually and mindfully ensures your body can adapt while maintaining the detox benefits.

Should You Exercise During a Juice Cleanse?

Moderate exercise can be maintained during a juice fast as long as sufficient calories are consumed to fuel your workouts. However, higher intensity or longer workouts may need to be reduced temporarily. Listen to your body and reduce exercise if feeling weak or fatigued. Stay well hydrated before, during and after physical activity while cleansing. Cut back on exercise during extended juice fasts over 5 days.

Tips for a Successful Juice Cleanse

Here are some additional tips to make your juice cleanse as pleasant and successful as possible:

  • Drink at least six 16oz bottles of juice per day to prevent energy crashes.
  • Include some nut milks, broths or smoothies for protein, fat and fiber.
  • Always rotate and vary your produce to ensure a variety of nutrients.
  • Drink slowly and chew juices thoroughly to enhance digestion.
  • Rinse your mouth with water after acidic juices to protect teeth.
  • Listen to your body and rest as needed while detoxing.
  • Manage cravings with herbal teas, lemon water or mineral broths.
  • Stay occupied with light activity to take your mind off eating.

With proper planning and support, a 3-5 day juice cleanse can be a great way to reset your eating habits and feel re-energized. Just be sure to ease into it gradually and transition back to solid foods carefully. Be prepared for some hunger pangs and cravings initially but this will pass. With patience and preparation, you can complete a safe, effective juice cleanse.

Potential Juice Cleanse Side Effects

Despite the health benefits, juice cleanses may also cause some temporary side effects including:

  • Hunger and food cravings, especially for unhealthy items
  • Headaches and dizziness from lower calorie/sugar intake
  • Nausea or fatigue, particularly in the first few days
  • Constipation from lack of fiber
  • Increased thirst and urination from juice nutrients
  • Irritability, anxiety or mood swings
  • Trouble sleeping and low energy
  • Blood sugar swings leading to lightheadedness

These effects are usually mild and tend to subside within the first 2-3 days as your body adapts. Be prepared for them so they don’t catch you off guard. Listen to your body’s signals.

Juicing Recipes for a Successful Cleanse

One key to an effective juice cleanse is drinking a wide variety of fresh, delicious juices so you get a diversity of vitamins and minerals. Here are some excellent juice blends to try:

Morning Energizer – apples, kale, spinach, cucumber, lemon, ginger

Tropical Twist – pineapple, orange, kiwi, cilantro, chia seeds

Hearty Green – celery, cucumber, romaine lettuce, parsley, lemon

Beet Beauty Booster – beets, carrots, pommelo, lime, mint leaves

Purple Detoxer – blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, apple, acai powder

Anti-Inflammatory – turmeric, pineapple, papaya, coconut water, black pepper

Digestive Aid – fennel, aloe vera juice, apple, spinach, spirulina

Evening Cleanser – cabbage, broccoli sprouts, avocado, cucumber, basil

Play around with combinations to discover juices you enjoy and keep your palate excited. Include plenty of leafy greens along with a rainbow of veggies and moderate fruits. Herbs and spices also add flavor and health benefits.

Choosing a Good Juice Cleanse Program

For optimal results, look for a juice cleanse system that offers:

  • Organic, cold-pressed, raw juices – no pasteurization or heating
  • Produce sourced from local farms when possible
  • No preservatives or additives
  • A wide array of juice flavors and options
  • Nutritionist-designed recipes and programs
  • Minimum six 16oz bottles of juice per day
  • Supportive online community and resources

Avoid cleanses with only lemon, maple or cayenne drinks which lack nutrients. Check that the company uses proper safety protocols as well. A quality juice cleanse program can make all the difference.

Should You Do a Juice Cleanse?

A juice cleanse isn’t right for everyone. You may want to avoid it if:

  • You are underweight, pregnant, breastfeeding or immunocompromised.
  • You have diabetes, kidney disease, eating disorders or low blood pressure.
  • You take certain medications that require solid food.
  • You have nutritional deficiencies or gastric issues already.
  • You dislike the taste of fresh vegetables and juice.

Check with your doctor before attempting a juice cleanse, especially if you have any medical conditions or take prescribed medications. They can advise you on any precautions to take.

Provided you are relatively healthy, don’t have any conditions that require solid foods and you take safety measures, a short 3-5 day juice cleanse can offer worthwhile benefits with minimal risk. Just be sure not to jump into extended juicing too quickly. Build up gradually and listen to your body.


In summary, an optimal juice cleanse generally lasts 2-5 days for most people. This provides adequate nutritional rebooting and detox benefits without being too extreme. One day cleanses offer a good introduction but don’t allow enough time for full cellular elimination and renewal. Extended cleanses beyond 5 days require medical monitoring and strategic nutrient support.

For beginners, a 24-72 hour juice cleanse is recommended to get started. Then you can progress to 3-5 days after adapting and learning how your body responds. With smart preparation, supervision and transition time, a periodic mid-length juice cleanse can provide a healthy route to reboot your diet, energy and inner wellbeing. Just be sure to ease into – and out of – your juice detox gently.

Juice Cleanse Duration Benefits Downsides
24 Hours
  • Good introduction
  • Digestive reset
  • Energy boost
  • Minimal detox effects
  • Cravings and hunger likely
3 Days
  • Allows for adequate detox
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Boosts immunity
  • Potential fatigue/headaches
  • Possible dizziness if low calorie
5 Days
  • Greater toxin elimination
  • Weight loss results
  • Refreshed taste buds
  • Nutrient deficiencies likely
  • Higher risk of fatigue
  • Strong cravings
1-4 Weeks
  • Extreme detox effects
  • Significant weight loss
  • Total body “reset”
  • Medical supervision needed
  • Muscle loss risk
  • Greater nutrient deficiencies

In closing, juice cleansing offers an opportunity to flood your body with high-level nutrition, stimulate detoxification and reevaluate your relationship with food. With proper expectations, medical clearance and careful monitoring, a 2-5 day juice fast can provide revitalizing results without much risk for most healthy adults. Just be sure to ease into – and out of – the cleanse, and stay hydrated and active throughout. Pay close attention to your body’s needs.