Beware of the Juice Cleanse and Other Unsafe Detoxes - Dr. Connie Jeon

Hey everyone, last week we talked about inflammatory foods to eliminate from your diet and why this is helpful in promoting health, and ultimately preventing inflammation.

Today I’d like to talk about the specific detox pathways and why it’s important to consume an abundance of micronutrients and phytonutrients to ensure “safe” detox.

There are serious risks with mainstream detox diets, such as extreme fasting and juice cleanse.

“The main health risks of detox diets relate to severe energy restriction and nutritional inadequacy.  Extreme fasting can lead to protein and vitamin deficiencies, electrolyte imbalance, lactic acidosis, and even death.” (1)

Food plays a significant role in ALL phases of detoxification because proper detoxification depends on adequate nutrition.

If essential nutrient compounds, such as glutathione, glycine, and taurine, are not included in our diet, safe elimination of toxins is impaired, resulting in toxic accumulation. (2)

So key thing to remember is that detoxification involves two very complex phases that require toxins to be bound and ultimately pulled out of our bodies.

These processes require a multitude of essential nutrients like amino acids, minerals, and phytonutrients, to support both phases for a safe and efficient detox.

We need the following nutrients for conversion of toxic compounds to be excreted:

  • Methionine
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin B6
  • Betaine
  • Folate
  • Magnesium

And since the metabolic process produces lots of free radical species, which can be toxic as well as damaging, we need a quick anti-oxidative support, like glutathione.

Additionally, the following micronutrients are necessary to support our super anti-oxidants and minimize damage to our bodies:

  • Vitamin B6
  • Magnesium
  • Selenium
  • Methionine
  • Cysteine
  • Glycine
  • Folate
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid. (3)

So What’s the Truth About Fasting?

The take home message is that you can’t effectively detox without nutrients.  Period.

This is why extreme fasting detox diets do not work.

“Loss of body fat through caloric restriction frees stored fat-soluble xenobiotics and distributes to other tissues.”

If you’re planning to lose weight through fasting, this can be dangerous because the toxins that reside in your fat tissue get redistributed into other organs rather than being excreted.

This increases your chances of secondary diseases due to toxic burden.

Fasting doesn’t allow for the transformation of toxins and effective elimination from the body.  Lack of essential nutrients to support the phases of detox, therefore, is dangerous for obese patients.

So What About The Popular Juice Cleanse?

Researchers studied 16 patients in a double blind study.  Patients went on a 7-10 day juice cleanse, consuming only mixed juice made of fresh vegetables, fruits, and boiled soybean juice.

All patients showed improvements in their symptoms.

However, PCB, or polychlorinated biphenyl, concentrations in the blood were elevated during and after fasting, proving the lack of excretion of toxic compounds.

How Do You Safeguard Yourself from Dangerous Detox?

Effectively nourishing your body through diet and supplements is a sure way to protect your body from toxins.

Nutrition is an excellent way to buffer the body against toxins.

Healthy nutrition decreases the toxicity of inflammatory pollutants, while unhealthy nutrition triggers toxic burden and inflammation in our bodies.

One important thing to emphasize about nutrition is that it’s not just eating healthy foods, but how we prepare our foods to optimize their detox potential.

So which methods of cooking are best for optimizing nutrient density?


  • No cooking, eat raw
  • Minimal steaming


  • Dry heat, no moisture
  • High moist heat

How Do You Optimize Food Preparation for Detox?

Remember, toxins can be formed in the cooking process, so using proper cookware is essential.

It is best to avoid non-stick pans containing Teflon and pans that are scratched.

Slow, low, and moist cooking methods, like steam cooking, best preserve nutrients as compared to dry heat methods, like baking.

Overall it is best to utilize the combination of eating raw and a lightly steamed method of cooking.

Sulforaphane is a well known anti-oxidative nutrient receiving much press.

Adding powdered mustard seeds to boiling water when cooking broccoli can result in increased sulforaphane formation.

Also remember, it’s not just eating well-prepared foods, but our state of mind when we’re eating is just as important.

In fact, I think our state of mind is the most important.

If you are eating the most nutritious and healthy meal and you’re distraught, angry, or anxious versus if you’re eating a super sized Big Mac meal but you’re as happy as can be, I believe that you’ll be better off eating the latter.

This is because nutrition includes the joy we put into eating.

So I think you now have a good idea of what to eat to optimize your detox potential and why.

Want a step by step guide to detox?  Check out Alkaline Detox Protocol

As always, thanks for joining me. Please comment, like, subscribe, and share.

See you next week.  I’ve created a new site for Lupus or Autoimmune patients, visit me at


1.  Klein and Kiat. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2015 Dec;28 (6):675-86

2.  Genuis SJ. Elimination of persistent toxicants from the human body.  Hum Exp Toxicol.2011 Jan;30(1):3-18.doi:10.1177/0960327110327110368417.Epub 2010 Apr 16. Review.PMID:2040048

3.Hodges and Minich, J Nutr Metab. 2015;2015:760689