What is a nutritional cleanse?

Alejandro Junger, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
During a nutritional cleanse, you are creating the ideal conditions for the body's cleansing and detox processes in a short period of time. In this video, cardiologist Alejandro Junger, MD, describes the purpose of a nutritional cleanse.
Ms. Ashley Koff, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics
A nutrition cleanse in my definition is a clean-up…and that's where I start with patients interested in cleansing. Skip food products, chemicals, sugar and alcohol and caffeine -- and replace them with organic vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and you've got yourself a cleanse…one that will work with the body and get you the desired results.

If you are (mostly) already doing this or looking for a "jump start" you can also do a liquid cleanse of pureed organic vegetables, a little fruit, and vegetarian sources of protein which will relax the body (because liquids don't require engaging the digestive process as much the body can get to some of its deeper cleaning at this time).

Some nutrients can be added in the form of teas and powders to aid the body in both phases of detoxification for a more effective cleanse (note: elimination is critical during a cleanse to make sure that you are passing out of the body the toxins being liberated from the cells…and elimination can come from all forms so body odor, bad breath, breakouts are all to be anticipated and actually are signs of an effective cleanse as long as they clear up).

A cleanse is different than a fast. And the body knows the difference. During a fast the body slows the system and its workload/efforts to compensate for a perceived lack of nutrients. To this end, if your cleanse doesn't supply sufficient nutrients (the range of nutrients -- carb, pro, healthy fats) it's likely that the body may alter its metabolic functions in a way that prevents sustainable results and may compromise short term energy and immune function.
A nutritional cleanse is a way of dumping the junk out of the body. A diet full of processed, high sugar, and high fat foods (the typical busy American diet) can leave behind metabolic waste products in the system and even interrupt the normal hormonal fluctuations of the body. This, in turn, can make for a breeding ground for illness as well as a terrible environment to promote weight loss. A nutritional cleanse is kind of like hitting the restart button!

Traditional "cleanses" consist of severely restricting calories and nutrients and usually end up with clients feeling weak, sick, and dizzy all the time. A nutritional cleanse is a way to get the junk out while putting the grade A fuel into the body. Nutritional cleanses are lighter on calories, which does promote a better environment for toxin loss, but they have enough nutrition to keep you fueled and functioning normally. Hence the name, nutritional cleanses.

While there are many ways to do a nutritional cleanse, I have found that for myself and my patients Shakeology nutritional cleanse is by far the most functional and effective cleanse. You can learn more about Shakeology and the cleanse here:

Remember that the focus with any nutritional cleanse is nutrition. Aim to rid the diet of any and all processed and sugary foods, depending on nutritionally dense foods to fuel the body.
Amy Jamieson-Petonic
Nutrition & Dietetics
A nutritional cleanse might be a way to move nutrients through the body very quickly. A cleanse might include eating all fruits and vegetables, or drinking some type of liquid that will increase transit time in the digestive tract. Cleanses can be harmful to your body because they can increase the elimination of electrolytes such as sodium and potassium. Please check with your physician or registered dietitian about the healthiest way to do a cleanse. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.