Juice Cleanse vs. Smoothie Cleanse: Which One Is Better?

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Juice Cleanse vs. Smoothie Cleanse: Which One Is Better?

Ready to try your first cleanse but need to know which kind is right for you? Juice and smoothie cleanses are the most common, but each has distinct benefits, considerations, and recommended durations. 

Let’s look at the critical differences between juice and smoothie cleanses to clarify the confusion. We’ll cover the basics and benefits of each and help you better manage your expectations when deciding on the one that’s right for you.

What’s the Purpose of a Juice or Smoothie Cleanse?

Both juice & smoothie cleanses gently purge your body of waste and reset your digestive system, allowing your body to return to an optimal, balanced state, unafflicted by toxic ingredients.

The typical American diet contains heavily cooked foods, seed oils, processed sugars, and chemical pesticide residues. Shifting to organic, uncooked juices or smoothies loaded with organic nutrients, prebiotics, enzymes, and adaptogens can help your body eliminate toxic residues and function much healthier on multiple levels.

Juice Cleanse Basics

A juice cleanse is a short-term dietary regimen in which you consume only the juices of fruits and vegetables, meaning you remove all the fiber. Though the ingredients and juice blends may vary, the core principle revolves around eliminating solid foods for a specific period, usually 2-3 days. 

  • What to eat: While you’re on a juice cleanse, you give your body a wide range of raw, uncooked, plant-based nutrients that can quickly enter the bloodstream, essentially giving yourself the cleanest source of energy possible. Since the juices put such little demand on the digestive system and organs, it allows them more time to focus on detoxification, elimination, and rejuvenation.
  • What not to eat: A juice cleanse should contain very little protein, but this is a feature, not a flaw. While protein is vital for a healthy diet, you should temporarily abstain from it for a juice cleanse. This is because proteins from plants and animals contain amino acids, such as leucine, that prevent the body from entering autophagy, the body’s ultimate detoxification and repair mode. 

Organic vs. Non-Organic Juice

Organic juice will have more nutritional value than non-organic juice because it contains more nutrients and fewer pesticide residues. Keep in mind that most juice cleanses on the market are not organic. Most companies substitute powders and concentrates instead of using each ingredient's natural, single-strength juice. Sadly, they forgo quality to offer a less expensive product. 

Is Cold-Pressed Juice Better?

A traditional cold press slowly grinds and squeezes the fruit through a cloth-like bag. This yields the purest juice, resembling how the juice exists inside the fruit. 

Many larger juice companies hate this method because it’s a slow and laborious process. They cut corners with centrifugal or double-auger juicers instead. These use heat and spinning blades that alter the juice’s flavor, causing oxidation and defiling the heat-sensitive enzymes and nutrients. 

Additionally, companies that use these faster juicers sometimes add anti-foaming agents and stabilizers that they don’t have to declare on the product’s nutrition panel. This is an exploit in the food and beverage industry because the FDA considers these additives “processing aids” and doesn’t require companies to list them. 

Remember, if you buy a certified organic and genuinely cold-pressed juice cleanse, you don’t need to worry about these dirty little tricks that many larger juice companies play.

Juice Cleanse Health Benefits

There are several benefits associated with juice cleanses, such as weight loss, increased nutrient absorption, healthy microbiome seeding, and rapid detoxification. By abstaining from a typical Western diet for only a few days, your body can more easily enter autophagy and focus on rejuvenation. This is because your gastrointestinal system and organs aren’t busy processing new incoming fibers, seed oils, processed sugars, proteins, or saturated fats as usual.

Though skepticism surrounds the science of juice cleanses, several studies have concluded that fruit juices increase the level of antioxidants in the body, reduce oxidative DNA damage, and stimulate immune cell activity. Furthermore, they can and typically do aid in short-term weight loss and boost gut health.  

Tips for Doing a Juice Cleanse

Try following these tips to ensure your juice cleanse goes off without a hitch:

  • Commit to three (3) days, if possible. For the body to enter autophagy and maximize the detoxification process, the minimum duration for a cleanse should be two days. The sweet spot is three (3) days and three (3) nights.
  • Cut out junk food. As you prepare for your cleanse, remove processed sugars, seed oils, and alcohol from your diet. Reduce your consumption of animal proteins, caffeine, and highly baked or grilled foods. 
  • Drink more water. Increase your water intake in the days leading up to the cleanse. After you start the cleanse, drink 8-10 ounces of water between the juices. Even though you’re drinking 6 or 7 bottles of juice per day, you’ll be urinating far more frequently than usual. This will cause dehydration by day two if you aren’t also drinking plenty of water.
  • Get more sleep. Concentrate on getting 8-10 hours of sleep in the days leading up to your cleanse and during the cleanse itself. Sleep is critical to minimize fatigue and maximize detoxification. Go to bed 1-2 hours earlier than usual and avoid blue light or excessive screen time before bedtime.
  • Reintroduce solids slowly. Return to eating solid foods gradually after your cleanse ends. Start with protein-heavy whole foods from either animals or plants. Raw foods and healthy plant fats from tree nuts are good options. Continue drinking tea and juice. Coffee is also fine again.

Smoothie Cleanse Basics

A smoothie cleanse incorporates blended fruits, vegetables, proteins, and healthy fats from tree nuts to nourish the body with clean, plant-based foods. The premise is similar to a juice cleanse but with a healthy diet's macronutrients, calories, and fiber. 

  • Is it a diet or a cleanse? Since there is no caloric restriction, a smoothie cleanse is technically more of a diet than a cleanse. A smoothie can have 5-10 times more calories than green juice, meaning it takes longer than 2-3 days to experience any results. Set aside hopes of reaching autophagy, experiencing rapid detoxification, or achieving short-term weight loss while on a smoothie diet.
  • How long is a smoothie cleanse? Smoothie cleanses regularly span 5-10 days or longer. For many people, this is enough time to see positive changes, as long as they’re replacing typical American foods that are highly cooked, processed, and filled with sugar, seed oils, and saturated fats with healthy ingredients like leafy greens, berries, bananas, tree nuts, nut butter, seeds, and avocados.

Smoothie Cleanse Health Benefits

As with juicing, smoothie cleanses can provide several health advantages if the total caloric intake is kept in check and the ingredients are nutritious. With a diet of fibrous, nutrient-rich fruits, vegetables, and nuts, smoothie cleanses can set you on the right track for a healthier lifestyle. 

People who are overweight or not used to eating healthy regularly stand to see the best results in weight loss and changes in their skin, hair, and mood over time. Compared to juice cleanses, smoothie cleanses can be easier if you’re new to healthy foods or struggling to consume sufficient protein or fat. Smoothies are an easy way to supplement those macros with little effort. 

Tips for Doing a Smoothie Cleanse

Try following these tips to ensure your smoothie cleanse is as successful as possible:

  1. Eliminate the bad stuff. As a juice cleanse, you’ll need to phase out processed foods, caffeine, and alcohol beforehand to see the most complete results possible when the cleanse is complete.
  2. Stay focused. The extended duration of a smoothie diet can be brutal for some. Intense cravings can arise because regular digestion is still occurring, and detoxification is happening much more slowly. The same flavors and blends for 5-10 days may begin to bore you, so embrace variety. 
  3. Transition out of the cleanse slowly. After the smoothie cleanse ends, which could be up to 10 days or more from the start date, you’ll need to slowly transition to your regular nutrition habits to keep things gentle on your digestive system. 
  4. Be flexible. Smoothies are more of a diet than a cleanse or fast, so your results may differ from what you expect. Your weight loss could be minimal, or you might gain weight, depending on the calories in your smoothies. Nonetheless, you will still likely be in a better place than when you started if you used pure, nutritious ingredients.

Choosing Between a Juice Cleanse & Smoothie Cleanse

Both juice and smoothie cleanses offer enhanced nutrient intake, healthy gut seeding, and detoxification, among many other benefits. 

That said, juice cleanses require less time to achieve digestive relief, nutrient absorption, weight loss, and cellular-level detoxification effects. Smoothie cleanses can have some of the same results, albeit they require a more extended period. Compared to juice cleanses, smoothie cleanses give you a full feeling, which some people prefer.

The difficulty of each type depends on how mentally prepared you are. It also depends on the company you choose, the quality of its blends, and how clear its instructions are before, during, and after the cleanse. 

It’s important to note that any fast, cleanse, or diet will always be more complex than how you’d typically eat. But that’s what makes real change possible. Whichever cleanse you choose, invest in a brand that uses pure, high-quality ingredients. You’ll be able to feel extra good about what you’ve accomplished by the end.