A juice cleanse is a type of fast where you swear off solid foods for anywhere from 3 to 10 days. During that time you get all your calories and nutrients from fruit and/or vegetable juice. It’s not an easy thing to do and, like any fast, takes an ironclad commitment to see it through. The goal is to break the cycle of making unhealthy food choices and to hit the reset button on your body.
For a juice cleanse to be successful (and not simply dangerous) you need to obtain all your vitamins and minerals from your juice or juices of choice, along with enough calories to keep your body running (1). To do that you’ll need high quality juice products that aren’t laden with sugar and salt and which retain a high nutrient value.
Below are the best juice cleanse juices for 2020.
1. Lemonkind 3 Day Cleanse
Lemonkind is not messing around with their comprehensive 3 Day Cleanse program. They’ve laid out every component of your juice cleanse regimen for you starting with Mango and Green Tea juice to get you going in the morning and continuing on through seven more juice blends to be consumed at various points during the day. Those include Turmeric Carrot Gingerade, Chlorella Infused Greens and Blueberry Cinnamon Chia to wrap up your day.
The company has a fine reputation for producing pure, unadulterated juice drinks that contain no sugar, syrup, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives of any kind. There’s no BPA in the packaging, no GMOs in the ingredient list and everything is certified vegan and kosher. You’re going to pay more for this comprehensive diet program than you will for a six pack of V-8 but you’re going to get more as well.
2. Country Farms Super Cleanse
Like a lot of the most effective juice cleanse products Country Farm Super Cleanse is a powder you mix with water. It is derived from 35 organically raised fruits and vegetables and is low in sugar and relatively low in sodium. It’s rich in dietary fiber, free of gluten and genetically modified organisms and very affordable. Because they invoke the “proprietary” label for their ingredient mix it’s impossible to say how much of what vegetable or fruit you are getting in any particular serving.
But the ingredient list is sufficiently broad-based and touches on enough important foodstuffs – including apple, blueberry, raspberry, strawberry, watermelon, broccoli, parsley, spinach, carrot and tomato – to warrant your serious consideration. As with all juice cleanse products we would also recommend augmenting your intake with other juices that address your specific nutritional needs and don’t forget a good multivitamin as well.
3. OJC Blueberry Detox Juice Cleanse
OJC (short for Organic Juice Cleanse) makes an entire line of powdered juice drinks for those engaging in a juice cleanse. Their Blueberry Detox is just one and may be (in our humble opinion) the tastiest of their products. Although it’s powder based and you would expect it to taste a bit like blueberry Kool Aid the end result is actually quite robust and satisfying.
Keep in mind though that this is strictly a fruit and fiber concoction and so we wouldn’t recommend putting all your nutritional eggs in this one powdered basket (2). Still OJC Blueberry Detox Juice Cleanse represents a good foundation to build your juice cleanse regimen on. There are 25 calories per serving with 8 grams of carbs, 4 grams of fiber and only 10 grams of sodium.
4. Smart 3-Day Organic Juice Cleanse
Like the Lemonkind 3 day juice cleanse program the Smart 3-Day Organic Juice Cleanse aspires to hit all the nutritional beats while you eschew solids and attempt to purge your system of the detritus of unhealthy food choices. Unlike Lemonkind, however, this is a powder that you mix with water. The Smart juice cleanse system is broken down into three components consisting of fruits, greens and protein in no particular order.
The packets are small and easy to take with you if you’re traveling on business or pleasure. The taste is agreeable, if unremarkable, and the program has been designed to cover all the nutritional bases so you emerge cleansed and ready to move on. They claim you’ll lose weight on their 3-Day Juice Cleanse but we’d take that with a grain of salt and judge the program instead on how you feel.
5. Balance Superfood Shot
Balance Superfood Shot as the name implies is a well-balanced variety of fruit and vegetable juices brought together in one of the tastier Juice Cleanse products on the market today. Certainly some of the taste is derived from the relatively high sodium content here. But it’s also a matter of smart formulation that includes everything from carrots, beets, spinach and kale to pineapple, blueberry, lemon, cranberry and more.
There’s 80 calories per serving, so your body won’t be scrambling trying to find enough energy to get you out of bed in the morning. And there’s 18 grams of carbs in each drink. So don’t expect to go keto while living on these. What we like about this drink is the balance and the taste. And while the per unit price works out to be pretty high the fact that you can actually enjoy what you’re drinking is perhaps worth the price of admission.
6. Cleanse On the Go
On the Go is another juice cleanse program in a box. This time there are 14 packets covering 4 different flavor and nutrient groupings. They call the different packages Revival, Awakening Vitality and Detox. Revival emphasizes a fruit blend mixed with ginger and dandelion. Awakening is a different fruit mixture that includes pineapple. Vitality is where you’ll find your veggies including carrots, sweet potatoes and spinach. While Detox mixes fruit juice with barley grass.
Not sure why they didn’t just expand it to 16 drinks and include 4 of each but whatever. Another question some will have is whether two days is actually long enough to cleanse your system. But intermittent fasting has earned its generally good reputation (3). As for the flavor of Cleanse on the Go… We enjoyed the Vitality and Revival mixtures and were not quite as keen on the other two.
7. Organic Juice Cleanse Plus Berry Surprise
OJC makes a second appearance on our list of best juice cleanses with their Berry Surprise powder. Like their other products Berry Surprise cuts a wide swath through the produce section and includes everything from organic flaxseed powder to strawberry to milk thistle seed, kale and black currant. Just to name a few ingredients. And like their other powdered juice drinks Berry Surprise is certified organic, GMO free and has no added sugar or artificial flavors or colors.
Each serving provides 45 calories and puts an emphasis on promoting digestive health, regularity and intestinal integrity. OJC juices will typically cost more than some of their powdered counterparts. But they usually deliver in both the taste and nutritional categories so we can live with that.
8. 7-Select Organic Cold Pressed Juice
Who knew 7-11 would become a source of healthy foods for those embarking on a juice cleanse? We didn’t. And yet here they are with their 7-Select Organic Cold Pressed Juice selections. These juice drinks are not just tasty, they’re surprisingly low in sugar and high in nutrients to keep you on the up and up while you detox. All the 7-Select drinks are made from certified organic vegetables and fruits and are gluten-free, dairy-free and free of all artificial colors, flavors and preservatives.
They’re also certified vegan and completely free of genetically modified organisms. None of these juices is derived from concentrates which is another big plus and, quite surprisingly, they’re also the product of certified fair trade practices. You’re going to pay more for these than you would expect to for a convenience store product, but you likely won’t be disappointed.
9. Juice from the Raw 3 Day Juice Cleanse
Juice from the Raw provides another 3-Day Juice Cleanse option. Their 18 pack of juices includes six different mixtures intended to cover different aspects of your nutritional needs. There’s Pineapple Mint, Upbeet, Sweet Greens, Coconut Fusion, Spicy Lemonade and Detox Greens. Each is made from 100% organic ingredients that are cold pressed fresh every day. (The cold press process is said to do a better job preserving nutrients.)
These beverages are also unpasteurized to further preserve their nutritional integrity. Sourced from local organic farms and made fresh daily Juice from the Raw Juice Cleanse 14 ounce bottles provide a host of vitamins and minerals that will keep you going throughout the day while cleansing your system of of the fallout from unhealthy eating.
10. Pulp Story Cold Press Juice Shots
Sometimes you need a three course meal in a bottle and sometimes all you need is a shot to get you or keep you going while you’re on your juice cleanse fast. The Pulp Story Cleanse Pack is just that; a collection of six different juice blend shots designed to put some starch in your stride if you find your energy or alertness levels waning during the day.
There’s Turmerics of Endearment, Pomegranates of the Caribbean, Some Like it Spicy, Cherry Poppins and more. Exactly why they’ve adopted the cinematic theme for their vegetarian juice cleanse shots is uncertain. But who are we to question? Each 2 ounce shot is packed with veggie goodness and free of GMOs, artificial flavors or other typical nasties you’re trying to purge from your system with your juice cleanse.
What is a Juice Cleanse?
A juice cleanse is essentially a fast during which you consume only fruit and/or vegetable juice. It typically lasts anywhere from 2-3 days to a week or so and involves avoiding all forms of solid food. One of the primary goals of a juice cleanse is to rid your system of the remnants of your unhealthy food choices. So in that regard it is often considered a type of “detox”. Like all fasting a juice cleanse can be something of a shock to the system so most experts suggest starting off with a 1 or 2 day cleanse and seeing how that goes before trying anything more protracted.
There is no established schedule for juice cleansing but most people who engage in it do so once every few months. Although there are others who set aside 1 day each week on which to do a juice fast. It should also be said that fasting with fruit and vegetable juices is not new. What is new is that there are now entire product lines developed specifically to help people who have chosen to engage in this type of fasting.
What are the Benefits of a Juice Cleanse?
There hasn’t been a lot of clinical attention paid specifically to the juice cleanse by researchers but enough is known about the benefits of fasting (4), as well as the effects of the vegan and vegetarian diets (5), to buttress arguments in favor of the juice cleanse. Some benefits specific to this type of fasting include:
- Breaking unhealthy eating habits – Let’s face it, the modern mainstream western diet is a melange of chemicals, artificial additives, sugar, salt and genetically modified organisms. Sure, many of our favorite foods taste great but they’re also behind the obesity epidemic and have a nasty habit of boomeranging on us as we age in the form of heart disease, Type II diabetes and more. Periodic juice cleansing allows you to purge your system of the residue of this type of diet and to flush your liver, kidneys and intestines of harmful chemicals that might otherwise accumulate there.
- Weight loss – Weight loss expectations need to be tempered when it comes to any type of periodic fasting. That said, it is likely that if you participate in a week long juice cleanse you will look, feel and probably be a bit lighter at the end than you were when you started. And this can only be a good thing. It is also possible that a juice cleanse can be used to kick start a more comprehensive weight loss program. But that will be up to you. When it comes to a 1-3 day juice cleanse chances are you won’t see any appreciable weight loss. But that is not a failure of the juice cleanse which is, after all, a type of detox. Not a diet plan.
- Better nutrient absorption – When juice is made most of the insoluble fiber in the fruit or vegetable is removed. Insoluble fiber, while good for you, nonetheless makes it more difficult for your body to process the nutrients in the juice. And so removing it facilitates better nutrient absorption (6). As long as you obtain adequate amounts of fiber from other sources drinking fruit and vegetable juices can produce more immediate benefits than eating their solid counterparts.
- You get to clean out the fridge – Any of the juice cleanse products we profiled above will serve you well in your quest to detoxify your body from the residue of the modern, artificially enhanced diet. But that doesn’t mean you can’t also create your own fruit and vegetable juices at home to augment your efforts. In fact, some people look forward to juicing for a few days because it gives them a chance to clean out the vegetable drawer in the fridge. So break out your shriveled carrots, your yellowing broccoli and bruised apples and put them to work cleansing your system.
What to Look for in a Juice Cleanse
Because there are now so many different juice cleanse products on the market finding one that provides optimal benefits can seem a daunting task. But it’s not as difficult as some might imagine. In short, the best juice cleanse will exhibit some or all of the following properties:
- It will be low in sugar – Sugar is dangerous (7). This should go without saying. You can’t effectively cleanse your system if you bombard it with sugar during your juice cleanse fast. The best juice cleanse juices will not have any sugar added to them during processing.
- It will be cold-pressed – Some would have you believe that cold pressed juices are some type of super food. They’re not. However, there is plenty of evidence that they are basically good for you and that, if you have a choice between regular juice and cold-pressed juice you can’t go wrong choosing cold pressed (8).
- It’s certified organic – For the sake of an effective detox you should avoid non-organic juices. It can be hard to verify if something is actually 100% organic or not. To a certain extent you have to take the manufacturer’s word for it. However, if something does not claim to be organic you can be pretty sure it isn’t.
- A mix of ingredients – If you intend to rely on a single brand of juice to carry you through your juice cleanse it should contain both vegetables and fruits. Otherwise you’ll be missing out on an entire side of the nutrient spectrum.
- A reasonable price – These days anything made from quality organic ingredients is going to cost real money. There’s no way around that. There is however, a reasonable amount of financial wiggle room in the juice cleanse business so it makes sense to take a little extra time and comparison shop for the best value.
Are There Any Side Effects to a Juice Cleanse?
A juice cleanse, like any fast, can be a shock to the uninitiated system. This is why it’s recommended that, as with any type of fast, that you start with a short juice cleanse and gradually build toward longer ones. Potential side effects of the juice cleanse include:
- Physical weakness – Going from your regular diet, no matter how imperfect, to consuming nothing but fruit and vegetable juices can leave you feeling weak and sluggish. This is primarily due to the lower caloric intake. Your body should adjust in time.
- Headaches and/or anxiety – Again, denying your body the foods it has grown accustomed to, even if they are not particularly healthy, may cause you to experience unwanted side effects including headaches and perhaps anxiety.
- Ketosis – If you drastically cut your carb intake and only consume vegetable juice for several days you may end up in ketosis. In which case your body will begin burning fat for fuel. Ketosis itself can produce a range of possible side effects including the keto flu (9).
- You’ll likely pee more often – Consuming only liquids is a good way to more or less guarantee you’ll be visiting the bathroom more often than you’re used to doing. It’s nothing to worry about however.
- Complications with pre-existing conditions – Those who suffer from chronic kidney disease or who have undergone a gastric bypass run the risk of serious complications from juicing (10), including hyperoxaluria and acute oxalate nephropathy. If kidney disease or gastric bypass is in your medical history consult your doctor before doing a juice cleanse.
The Bottom Line
Remember that a juice cleanse is not intended to be a long-term diet. It’s a short-term method for detoxing your system and hopefully jump starting a better relationship with food in general. Even the most elaborate and expensive juice cleanse regimen is not going to be an adequate substitute for a well balanced diet over the long haul.
There are such products on the market if you’re interested in them. They’re call “meal replacement shakes”. The better ones will help you lose weight and provide an adequate nutrient base (11). But they won’t produce the same type of cleansing effect you’ll get from periodic juicing.