To do a cleanse or not to do a cleanse. That is the question on the minds of many in the New Year. Cleanses are said to do everything from detoxing the body to helping you lose extra weight to boosting energy and to improving overall health. But, are they safe? Do they really work? And will they help you lose weight like the celebrities claim they do?

In a nutshell, it depends on the cleanse, but those cleanses that are the most popular in 2012 — cleanses that rely on fruits and veggies — are okay for most.

"Anytime you decrease the amount of food you take in at the same time you are increasing your nutrient concentration, something healthy generally takes place," says Georgianna Donadio, nutritionist in Boston and author.

This year, there are four cleanses that seem to be most popular, Donadio says. While all of the most popular cleanses of 2012 have the same aim to clean out certain areas of your body and decrease the work of the digestive system, some last just 28 hours, while others last weeks. 

The first most popular cleanse of 2012 is the BluePrintCleanse, which is a juice-only cleanse that typically lasts three to five days. Second, is the LOVE cleanse, which stands of "Live. Organic. Vegan. Experience." This one is a five-day cleanse consisting of all green drinks, which include cucumber, kale, cabbage, apples, broccoli and lemons. Third, is the 48 Hour Super Charge cleanse by David Kirsch. This cleanse includes two days of nothing but liquids, which are his signature "pink lemonade" containing cranberries and milk thistle aimed at detoxing the kidneys and liver. Lastly, is the Cleanse Program by MD, which is a 21-day protein drink twice a day with an evening meal of steamed veggies.

"For a healthy individual these cleanses are 'safe' in that they should not cause any harm to the body," Donadio says. "They are short-termed and do contain a high concentration of nutrients that should prove to be healthful."

However, these cleanses can be harmful for people with blood sugar or insulin conditions, for anemic individuals or for people on medications that require they eat solid foods in order not to have a reaction, Donadio cautions. Also for people who exercise a lot, this type of low-calorie, liquid-based dieting can cause fainting, low blood pressure or dizziness.
 
"The best cleanse is to recognize that we have to eat half of what we normally eat and eat living, nutritious food and remove 'junk' from our diets," Donadio recommends.
 
Have you done a cleanse? Will you try a juice-based cleanse in 2012? Do tell!

 

 

Jennipher Walters is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites FitBottomedGirls.com and FitBottomedMamas.com. A certified personal trainer, lifestyle and weight management coach and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and regularly writes about all things fitness and wellness for various online publications.

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