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Green smoothie cleanses are all the rage - touted as a fast and healthy way to detox and shed pounds. But how good are these detox cleanses for you in the long run? (Image: Joanna Slodownik /Flickr CC 2.0 License)

Are Smoothie Cleanses Good For You?

If you're on Facebook, you've likely seen a picture of a green smoothie or two pass through your timeline. Just type in the word "cleanse" on Instagram, and you'll find a flood people taking on green juice and smoothie challenges.
"Lose 15 pounds in 10 days!" toutes the author of one green smoothie cleanse. Give your body a break from food, sip on a few green smoothies a day - and smoothie enthusiasts claim mental clarity, energy and weight loss. Sounds pretty simple right? Seattle nutritionist Minh-Hai Alex says, no so fast.

"A smoothie cleanse is another form of restrictive eating," says Alex. "While smoothies can be an efficient way to significantly increase your intake of nutrients and antioxidants, smoothie cleanses have been shown to increase the risk of bingeing, disordered eating, and an unhealthy preoccupation with food."

And that preoccupation with food, can actually lead to weight gain.

"There's overwhelming research that shows the most predictable outcome of restrictive eating is weight gain, beyond what was lost within 2-5 years."

Ouch! So what's Alex's advice for cleansing or detoxing the body? Stop dieting all together.

Alex says try the tried and true method that has worked since the beginning of time. "It's more effective to focus on what you do on a daily basis, rather than a short-term extreme method," explains Alex.

For example:

  1. Buy organic. Focus on the produce listed on the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen.

  2. Drink filtered water from containers without BPA (found in plastics).

  3. Use green household cleaning products

  4. Cut out the processed foods!

  5. Limit consumption of seafood high in mercury and other contaminants.

  6. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, including cruciferous vegetables, which contain compounds to help the liver detoxify naturally.

  7. Get your sleep!

Alex assures us these seven tips will help your body naturally detoxify. And a nutrient packed smoothie incorporated here and there, is a good thing - it just shouldn't be the only thing.

Happy detoxing!