The idea of a cranberry juice detox might sound fantastic, but like so many other great ideas, it's generally too good to be true. While you can get a jump start on a healthier lifestyle by cutting back on calories and sipping cranberry juice, you should never replace solid food with fruit juice.
The Cranberry Juice Detox Myth
Your body is detoxing itself all the time, using the liver and kidneys to remove both natural toxins (such as lactic acid, urea and waste) and external toxins (such as pesticides and chemicals in drugs or alcohol) from your body, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). While it would be nice if a cranberry juice detox could speed up or enhance that process, there's no evidence to support the idea that cleanses can do anything beneficial for your body, states the Mayo Clinic.
If you want to go on a detox diet, whether it's a cranberry juice cleanse or another program, talk to your doctor first. You might experience side effects such as fatigue, dehydration and nausea, according to the Mayo Clinic. Additionally, drinking cranberry juice instead of eating solid food could lead to nutrient deficiencies if done for too long.
If you still want to "detox" your body to jump-start a healthier lifestyle, skip the cranberry juice cleanse. Instead, AND recommends staying hydrated by drinking plenty of clean water and consuming between five and nine servings of fruits and vegetables, especially cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts, each day. Additionally, make sure you eat enough dietary fiber and lean protein every day and try eating naturally fermented foods such as yogurt, kimchi and sauerkraut, all of which promote a healthier gut.
Read more: What Foods Can You Eat During a Detox?
Cranberry Juice Nutrition
Beyond carbohydrates, cranberry juice doesn't offer a lot of nutritional value. According to the USDA, 1 cup or 8 fluid ounces of unsweetened cranberry juice has 116 calories, slightly less than 1 gram of protein, 31 grams of carbohydrates, 0.25 grams of fiber and 31 grams of sugar. The same amount of cranberry juice cocktail — which contains ingredients other than just cranberry juice — has 137 calories, 0 grams of protein, 34 grams of carbohydrates, 30 grams of sugar and 0 grams of fiber.
Just because a cranberry juice cleanse doesn't actually detox your body, it doesn't mean it's not good for something. As long as you don't drink too much of it — and load up on the sugar in it — cranberry juice can form part of a healthy diet.
A study published in June 2016 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found an additional advantage to drinking cranberry juice. The beverage that was used in the study wasn't pure cranberry juice, but rather contained 27% cranberry juice alongside filtered water, cranberry juice from concentrate, fructose, natural flavors, pectin, sodium citrate, acesulfame-potassium and sucralose. The results determined that consuming a cranberry juice beverage decreased the number of UTIs in women with a recent history of the condition.
Read more: Should You Avoid Certain Foods with a UTI?
- Mayo Clinic: "Do Detox Diets Offer Any Health Benefits?"
- USDA: "Cranberry Juice Cocktail, Bottled"
- USDA: "Cranberry Juice, Unsweetened"
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: "What's the Deal with Detox Diets?"
- The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: "Consumption of a Cranberry Juice Beverage Lowered the Number of Clinical Urinary Tract Infection Episodes in Women with a Recent History of Urinary Tract Infection"