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Overview

If you’re looking to cleanse your body, investing in a juice to “detox” your kidney or liver is a complete waste of money. The only way to improve how your body “cleanses” is through different variations of fasting. Otherwise, all juice cleanses are based on fake science that ignores the way your body works to remove toxins.

Your body is designed to remove toxins and waste on its own. That’s the first thing to keep in mind before you invest $15 on your next bottle of "detox juice," or hundreds of dollars trying to cleanse your system.

The detox and cleanse business is built on fear because we know that -- in general -- our diet could be healthier and that the environment is full of toxins. However, just because your diet can use improvement, that does not mean you’re doing unnecessary damage to your internal organs (such as your kidney and liver, or even products that claim to cleanse your colon). Although there are toxins around us, your body was built to fight them off and keep you safe. If you truly want to detox or cleanse, the most effective methods are the ones you won't see promoted in any health food store.

The Detox Hoax

Your liver is your toxic removal system. Unless you have liver disease, the bad stuff in your diet and environment are typically removed by your body

Your kidneys? They function in a very similar fashion and also help get rid of waste byproducts. If not, then the problem stays in your bloodstream, and you have a severe medical condition that can't be supported by a juice.

That’s not to say it’s a bad idea to drink products with vegetables and other nutrient-dense foods, such as Ladder Greens.

But, it’s crucial that you separate what those products will do for you. There’s a big difference between supporting your health with the right nutrients and promising to protect your body against cancer or other dangerous diseases. Those lofty claims have no scientific support and are the medical equivalent of believing in magic pills.

If you want to help cleanse your body at the cellular level, there are steps you can take. But none of them require you to buy any expensive supplements.

The Real Detox Plan

The only real cleanse that works for your body occurs at the cellular level. It’s called autophagy, and it’s your body’s natural ability to regenerate and repair.

Our body was built for autophagy to help you cope with the complexity of being a living, breathing organism. Every day, there are millions of cellular reactions occurring in your body. Some of this activity causes damage within your body. And the daily stress causes breakdown that needs repair.

But without the proper repair, we can build up broken cellular machinery (like damaged mitochondria). Accumulating damage on a cellular level can cause a wide range of unhealthy effects. Damaged mitochondria (the power plant of your cells) can cause accelerated aging rate and many types of chronic disease.

That's why your body has built-in mechanics that can identify and repair this damage. It’s “cleansing” that is far beyond anything a lemon juice or milk thistle cocktail could ever provide.

Autophagy helps you recover from injuries, makes your brain function a little better, helps with muscle growth and fat loss, and even assists in your ability to walk and breathe.

Autophagy is also of increasing interest as a target for cancer therapy, treatment of alcoholic liver disease, and as a crucial defense mechanism against malignancy, infection, and neurodegenerative disease. What’s more, research has even found a that autophagy can help defend against bacteria and viruses.

Is your kale-romaine-broccoli-lemon-apple juice healthy? Yes. But the alleged benefits and glossy marketing of juice cleanses ("heal this," "fix that") aren’t accurate with what’s happening in your body.

Specifically, and ironically for the juicing companies of the world, the act of eating works against autophagy.

According to research in both humans and animals, the more time you spend eating, the less time your body can work to improve and cleanse your cells.

Going periods without eating as a health practice is why fasting became a popular area of study for researchers. It wasn’t ever about weight loss; instead, the research on fasting was about helping your body cleanse as a means of keeping you healthier.

Your Cleanse Options

If you’re interested in fasting, start slow and don’t overthink the process. Your body requires balance, which means you need times when you fast and times when you eat. Just because a little bit of fasting is good for your body does not mean that a lot of fasting is even better. There’s no science (or need) to go several days without food.

There are two primary methods to fast that can help prime your body for autophagy.

Method 1: A 24-hour fast. As the name would suggest, you'll go 24 hours without eating. But, that doesn’t mean the 24 hours have to happen in one day. For example, you could eat dinner on Monday night at 7 pm, and then fast all day until 7 pm on Tuesday, eat dinner again, and then return to your regular eating schedule. Research suggests that just one fast might have health benefits.

Method 2: The (shorter) daily fast. This approach requires you to fast for 16-18 hours every day. For some, this is more doable because it’s a smaller window of time. However, it also means daily fasts, which is something you should consider.

If you choose to give it a try, you’ll provide a balanced approach your body needs on a cellular level. When you eat, you provide vital nutrients and calories that support all of your body’s functions. When you fast, the autophagic process will kick in and help restore a balance to how your cells function.

Best of all? The entire process won’t cost you anything.

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