A juice cleanse, also known as a juice fast or juice detox, involves consuming nothing but fruit and vegetable juices for a set period of time. Juice cleanses have become increasingly popular in recent years as a quick way to lose weight and “detox” the body. But how much weight can you really expect to lose on a 30 day juice cleanse?
What is a juice cleanse?
A juice cleanse typically involves drinking 6-8 glasses of fresh fruit and vegetable juice per day and eliminating all other foods and drinks except for water. Juice cleanses generally last anywhere from 3-10 days, with 30 days being on the extreme end.
During a juice cleanse, your calorie intake is drastically reduced since juices are low in calories compared to solid foods. This calorie deficit causes your body to burn stored fat for energy, resulting in weight loss.
In addition to losing weight, some of the claimed benefits of juice cleanses include:
- Giving your digestive system a rest
- Increasing nutrient intake from fruits and veggies
- Removing toxins from the body
- Improving energy levels
- Clearing skin
- Reducing inflammation
However, many health experts argue there is little scientific evidence to support these health claims.
Expected weight loss on a 30 day juice cleanse
So just how much weight can you expect to lose if you commit to a 30 day juice cleanse? Here’s what the research and experts say:
1-2 pounds per day
Most studies show that juice cleanses result in a loss of around 1-2 pounds per day. This adds up to around 30-60 pounds over the course of a 30 day cleanse.
For example, one study in the journal Nutrition and Metabolic Insights examined 34 adults who engaged in a 3-day juice cleanse. Participants lost an average of 3.9 pounds over the 3 days.
Another study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine looked at 46 adults who did a 4-day juice cleanse. On average participants lost 5.4 pounds.
By extrapolating these results, you could expect to lose 25-40 pounds during a 30 day juice cleanse.
Around 0.5-1 pound of actual fat per day
However, it’s important to keep in mind that not all weight lost on a juice cleanse is body fat. A significant portion is water weight which will come back quickly once you resume normal eating.
Research shows juice cleanses result in a loss of around 0.5-1 pound of actual body fat per day. The rest of the weight lost comes from reduced intestinal waste and water weight due to the low sodium intake.
This means on a 30 day juice cleanse you could expect to lose 15-30 pounds of body fat, with the rest being water weight.
10-20 pounds for most people
While the numbers from controlled studies seem high, most health experts agree those results are not typical. Dr. Carolyn Dean, author of The Complete Natural Guide to Juicing says most people can expect to lose closer to 10-20 pounds on a 30 day juice cleanse.
This lower number takes into account loss of motivation over time as well as metabolic adaptations. After the first week which shows the most dramatic loss, weight loss tends to slow down over the remaining three weeks.
So while juices are very low in calories, your body does adapt to prevent extreme losses. 10-20 pounds is more realistic for most people than the 30-60 pound estimates from some studies.
Factors that affect weight loss on a juice cleanse
There are several variables that determine just how much weight you’ll lose during a 30 day juice cleanse:
Your starting weight
If you have more excess body fat, you’ll lose weight faster because your energy expenditure is higher. Someone who is lightly active and weighs 200 lbs can lose around 3 pounds per day, while a 130 lb person may lose 1 pound or less per day.
Light exercise like yoga, walking, or gentle stretching can increase calorie burn during a cleanse and result in greater weight loss.
Calories in juices
Homemade juices from fresh fruits and veggies are lower in calories than many bottled, store-bought juices which contain added sugars.
Variety of juices
More vegetable-heavy juices tend to be lower in sugar and calories than fruit-based juices. Getting a wide variety of produce provides more nutrients and can help with energy levels.
Length of cleanse
Weight loss per day tends to taper off after the first 7-10 days as your metabolism adjusts. Doing a cleanse for 15 days instead of 30 will result in less total weight loss.
Having support and accountability will help you stick to the restrictive regimen for the full 30 days. Doing it solo may negatively impact motivation.
Pros of a 30 day juice cleanse
There are some potential benefits to doing an extended juice fast like a 30 day cleanse:
Rapid weight loss
Losing 10-20+ pounds in a month can be a major incentive and motivator for those looking to slim down quickly. Just keep in mind most is water weight.
Break bad eating habits
Following a restrictive juice regimen for 30 days can help you break unhealthy eating patterns like emotional, mindless, or compulsive eating.
More nutritious diet
Juice cleanses packed with vegetables and low sugar fruits can significantly increase your nutrient intake compared to the standard American diet.
30 days of flooding your body with antioxidant and phytonutrient-rich juices may help rid your body of accumulated toxins.
Some people report feeling more energetic as a result of eliminating processed foods, dairy, meat, and caffeine during a juice cleanse.
Cons of a 30 day juice cleanse
However, there are also some significant downsides associated with an extended juice fast:
Only consuming juices for 30 days requires strong willpower. Hunger, food cravings, and low energy from calorie restriction can cause strong temptations to quit.
Potential nutrient deficiencies
Juices lack protein, fat, and fiber. A long-term deficiency in these macronutrients can negatively impact health and wellbeing.
Loss of lean muscle
The severe calorie restriction can cause your body to burn muscle mass and protein stores for fuel, resulting in loss of lean muscle.
30 days worth of store-bought juices or specialized juice cleanse programs can cost hundreds of dollars.
Most of the weight lost comes from water and glycogen stores. Once you resume normal eating, the weight typically comes back unless you make permanent diet changes.
Potential side effects
Side effects like fatigue, nausea, mood swings, and constipation are common during extended juice fasts.
|Rapid weight loss||Extremely restrictive|
|Break bad eating habits||Potential nutrient deficiencies|
|More nutritious diet||Loss of lean muscle|
|Increased energy||Weight regain|
|Potential side effects|
Is a 30 day juice cleanse safe?
Here’s what experts have to say about the safety of a 30 day juice cleanse:
It can be done safely but may require medical supervision
Most health experts advise against long juice cleanses without medical monitoring. However, a 30 day cleanse can be done safely for most people under the supervision of a doctor, registered dietitian, or other qualified health provider.
Supervision can help mitigate the nutrient deficiencies and severe calorie restriction that can impact health on a long cleanse.
Not recommended for those with certain health conditions
People with diabetes, eating disorders, kidney disease, low blood pressure, malnutrition, or who are underweight should not do a juice cleanse without explicit medical clearance. Juice cleanses can worsen these preexisting health conditions.
Increased risk of side effects
The longer you juice fast, the greater risk of side effects like fatigue, dizziness, nausea, and constipation. These side effects can make cleanses difficult to sustain for 30 days.
May negatively impact metabolism long-term
Severely restricting calories for an extended time can cause adaptive thermogenesis, where your body burns fewer calories at rest to compensate. This can make it harder to lose weight once the cleanse is over.
Doing intermittent fasting or limiting caloric intake for 2 non-consecutive days per week can provide some metabolic benefits without negatively impacting metabolism long-term.
Tips for completing a 30 day juice cleanse
Here are some tips to increase your chances of success if you decide to undertake a 30 day juice cleanse:
Ease into it
Give your body time to adjust by slowly eliminating foods over 3-7 days before going full juice-only. Cut out processed foods, sugars, caffeine, and animal products first.
Drink 6-8 glasses of juice daily
Consuming enough juice is key to curb hunger. Men may require 8 glasses per day while women can often manage with 6.
Vary your produce
Have a wide variety of vegetable and fruit juices to obtain a diversity of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Include some protein-rich juices
Spinach, kale, sprouts, broccoli, peas, and hemp milk can help provide protein and nutrients that may be lacking.
Drink water between juices
Water helps fill your stomach and prevents dehydration. Herbal teas can also be sipped for variety.
Manage cravings with spices
Flavor juices with cinnamon, fresh ginger, cayenne pepper, turmeric, fresh mint, basil, or lemon to help satisfy the taste buds.
Lack of sodium, potassium, and magnesium from whole foods can lead to low energy and headaches. Supplement with minerals.
Doing a cleanse with a friend helps motivate you and troubleshoot challenges. Join an online group for recipes and tips.
Listen to your body
Don’t force it if you feel ill or unable to function. Taking a day to eat solid fruits/veggies is okay.
Transition off a 30 day juice cleanse
Ending your cleanse properly is just as important as the cleanse itself. Here are some tips to transition off a 30 day juice cleanse:
Slowly reintroduce foods
On day 31, consume fresh fruits and steamed vegetables. Wait 2-3 days before reintroducing grains, legumes, low-fat dariy and lean protein.
Your stomach has shrunk so take small bites and chew well. This helps your digestive system adjust to handling solids again.
Avoid processed foods
Stick to whole, minimally processed foods as much as possible in the weeks after your cleanse.
Increase calories gradually
Add about 500 extra calories to your intake each week. Too many calories too soon can shock your system.
Expect some weight gain
Gaining 3-5 pounds after ending a cleanse is normal as your glycogen stores are replenished. Don’t restrict or you’ll risk regaining more.
It can take 3-5 days for your digestive system to readjust so allow a few days before resuming intense exercise.
Maintaining weight loss after a 30 day cleanse
The biggest struggle is keeping weight off long-term after a juice cleanse. Here are tips to maintain your results:
Stick to healthy, minimally processed foods
Avoid returning to unhealthy eating habits full of fast food, sugary snacks, refined carbs, and processed ingredients.
Eat plenty of vegetables
Vegetables are low in calories and high in fiber and nutrients. Work to get 4-5 servings per day.
Include lean protein at meals
Protein is satiating and helps retain muscle mass that may have been lost during the cleanse.
Increase daily activity
Regular exercise helps burn additional calories to keep weight off moving forward.
Weigh yourself weekly
Monitoring your weight weekly helps catch any creep back before it becomes more than a few pounds.
Plan healthy snacks
Having go-to snacks that are fruits, veggies, or protein-based prevents resorting back to junk food.
Water suppresses the appetite naturally and prevents mistaking thirst for hunger.
The bottom line
A 30 day juice cleanse can result in losing 10-20+ pounds, largely from water weight. However, restricting calories this severely can cause side effects, nutrient deficiencies, and metabolic issues. Transitioning properly and making lasting diet changes are key to keeping the weight off long-term.
While extended juice fasting may not be advisable, incorporating 1-2 juices into your daily routine can be a nutritious addition to an overall healthy diet.