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If you’re looking to cleanse your body, investing in a juice “detox” 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 (especially those that claim to detox your liver or kidneys) are based on fake science that ignores the way your body works to remove toxins.

You start a juice cleanse. Your goal is to feel better, have more energy, and -- ideally -- drop a few pounds. If you follow most juice cleanses to a "T," the initial results are almost too good to be true. The weight is seemingly flying off your body and you couldn't be happier. 

That is, until you stop your juice cleanse. 

The moment you return to your "normal" diet, the problems seemingly come from every direction. You gain the weight back, you feel bloated, you don't respond to foods the same way, and your stomach doesn't quite feel right. 

What's going on? It's one of the many "smoke and mirrors" aspects of the detox industry. And, if you believe the world's top nutritionists, the only thing a juice detox is guaranteed to do is burn a hole in your wallet. 

The Flaw in Detox

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 (or more) on your next bottle of "detox juice," or hundreds of dollars trying to cleanse your body.

The detox and cleanse business is built on fear. You know that your diet could be healthier and the environment is full of toxins. So, it's only logical that added more nutrients could flush out the bad.

However, just because your diet can use improvement 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 Real Natural Detox

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.

How to Detox (For Real)

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.

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 liver elixir can provide.

Autophagy helps you recover from injuries, repairs your brain to keep it functioning as a young person, helps with muscle growth and fat loss, and simply allows you to function on a day-to-day basis.

Autophagy is so powerful that scientists are trying to understand how it can help with everything from cancer to degenerative diseases, as well as fighting against common bacterias and viruses. 

Is your kale-romaine-broccoli-lemon-apple juice healthy? Of course. 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 for 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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