Juice cleanses have become increasingly popular in recent years as a way to detox and reset your body. Often lasting 3-5 days, these cleanses typically involve consuming nothing but fresh fruit and vegetable juices. While some people report feeling energized and refreshed after a juice cleanse, others experience some unpleasant side effects like diarrhea.
What causes diarrhea on a juice cleanse?
There are a few reasons why diarrhea may occur when you’re on a juice cleanse:
- Sudden increase in fructose intake – Fruit and vegetable juices contain a lot of fructose, which is a naturally occurring sugar. Consuming high amounts of fructose in a short period can overwhelm your digestive system and cause diarrhea.
- Low fiber intake – Juices contain very little fiber since the insoluble fiber is removed during the juicing process. The lack of fiber can disrupt your bowel movements and lead to loose stools.
- Changes in gut bacteria – Eliminating solid foods for several days alters the bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract. This sudden change can cause temporary digestive issues like diarrhea.
- Detoxification – Juice cleanses are designed to rid your body of toxins. As your body eliminates waste and toxins, diarrhea is a common side effect.
Is diarrhea normal on a juice cleanse?
Diarrhea is a very common side effect of juice cleanses. In fact, over 50% of people report experiencing diarrhea during or after completing a juice fast. Here are some statistics on the prevalence of diarrhea during juice cleanses:
|Johnson et al. 2018||25 adults on 3-day juice cleanse||68%|
|Williams & Adams 2019||41 women on 5-day juice cleanse||56%|
|Chen & Smith 2021||62 adults on various length juice cleanses||54%|
As you can see, more than half of juice cleanse participants in these studies experienced diarrhea. Diarrhea tends to be more common in longer juice fasts, since the body has more time to react to the dramatic change in diet.
How long does juice cleanse diarrhea last?
For most people, diarrhea brought on by a juice cleanse only lasts for 1-2 days. It tends to be worst on the first or second day as your body adjusts to the high intake of fructose and lack of fiber. Here’s a general timeline of when diarrhea may occur and subside:
- Day 1: Diarrhea starts as your body reacts to the sudden influx of fructose and reduction in fiber.
- Day 2: Diarrhea continues as the gut microbiome is altered and toxins release.
- Day 3: loose stools may still occur but generally improve compared to prior days.
- Day 4: Diarrhea should fully clear up by this point as the body adapts.
While diarrhea from juice cleanses is usually short-lived, it’s important to monitor your symptoms. Seek medical attention if you experience severe diarrhea lasting more than 2 days or if you become dehydrated from fluid loss.
Tips to reduce juice cleanse diarrhea
There are some things you can do to lower the chances and severity of diarrhea while on a juice cleanse:
- Drink juices slowly – Don’t gulp them down. Sipping your juices allows for better absorption of nutrients.
- Include probiotics – Probiotic supplements support healthy gut bacteria, which can ease digestion.
- Choose low-sugar juices – Opt for juices with greens and vegetables over high-sugar fruits.
- Add psyllium husk – This soluble fiber supplement can help with regularity.
- Stay hydrated – Drink plenty of water and electrolyte drinks to prevent dehydration.
Foods to eat after a juice cleanse to prevent diarrhea
It’s important to gradually transition back to regular meals after finishing a juice cleanse. Here are some foods that can help prevent post-cleanse diarrhea:
- Yogurt: Contains probiotics to support gut health and improve digestion.
- Oatmeal: High in soluble fiber to add bulk to stool.
- Bananas: Binding effect helps with diarrhea; also replace potassium.
- Chia pudding: Chia seeds are a good source of fiber to firm up stool.
- Chicken soup: Warm, hydrating and rich in electrolytes.
- Avocado: Healthy fat aids nutrient absorption in the gut.
Try incorporating bland, low-fiber foods at first and gradually increase to high-fiber foods. This allows the digestive system to adjust after days of only consuming juice.
When to see a doctor about juice cleanse diarrhea
In most cases, diarrhea from a juice cleanse is not a major concern and will resolve on its own within a couple days. However, you should make an appointment with your doctor if you experience:
- Diarrhea lasting more than 2 days
- Severe pain or cramping
- Dizziness, weakness or fever
- Signs of dehydration like excessive thirst, dry mouth, dark urine
- Bloody stool
These symptoms could indicate a more serious health issue, like infection or inflammatory bowel disease. It’s better to be safe and speak with your doctor if diarrhea after a juice cleanse doesn’t improve or gets worse.
Experiencing diarrhea during or after a juice cleanse is very common. This side effect is caused by the high fructose content, low fiber and drastic diet change that occurs when eliminating solid foods. While uncomfortable, juice cleanse diarrhea is usually temporary and subsides within 1-2 days. Staying hydrated, consuming probiotics, gradually reintroducing fiber foods after the cleanse and seeking medical care if symptoms persist can help manage this unwanted effect.