This past month I have been collaborating with Suja Juice and Well + Good NYC to talk about juicing and how it might help you fight bad cravings, swap out junk foods, or keep your diet in check. You can read three inspiring juicing stories here:

When “pizza, I just can’t quit you” is your mantra

What happens when a ClassPass junkie with a coffee habit tries to give up java

How to turn a diet soda family into a juice family

As with anything, there are pros and cons to juicing. A juice a day just might keep the doctor away, but full blown juice cleanses may not be the answer to your health woes. Juicing is the most common type of cleanse, but all day or multiple day juice cleanses can be dangerously low in calories and high in sugar, which can make you cranky–that’s on top of other ‘detox’ sensations you’ll experience. What is really happening as you ‘over-juice’ or ‘detox’ your body? Check out these physiological effects you can expect to occur on a juice cleanse:

  1. Caffeine withdrawal – If you’re fully committed to your juice cleanse, you’ve cut out all caffeine. Even if you only drink one cup a day, eliminating caffeine cold turkey may contribute to headaches, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. On the plus side, a juice cleanse may kick start a new caffeine-free lifestyle. (Say hello to early morning lemon waters!)
  2. Your gastrointestinal tract starts to shut down – Juicing strips down whole fruits and vegetables of all fibers and proteins that your body requires digestive enzymes to break down and absorb. When you stop using these digestive enzymes, your body produces less, which can lead to discomfort when reintroducing foods (even after just one day of juicing).
  3. Juice clears out your colon – Liquids pass through the digestive tract much more quickly than solid foods, and you may find yourself running to the bathroom much more often on a juice cleanse, even though you’re consuming so much less than usual. Hence the name juice ‘cleanse’.
  4. Your metabolism slows down – When restricting calories, your body’s defense mechanism kicks in and the metabolism slows, trying to hang on to whatever energy it can. This can make it harder to lose weight because you may be training your body to hold on to energy-dense fat stores as long as possible.
  5. Lose muscle mass – a prolonged juice cleanse forces your body to tap into its own energy stores to get all the nutrients it needs, including breaking down muscle tissue for protein.