What happens if I only drink smoothies for 3 days?

Many people adopt short-term juice or smoothie cleanses in an attempt to lose weight, detox, or reset their dietary habits. While replacing meals with smoothies may have some benefits, it may also come with health risks if not done properly. This article will explore what happens when you drink only smoothies for 3 days, looking at the potential pros and cons, and how to do a smoothie cleanse safely.

Potential Benefits of a 3 Day Smoothie Cleanse

Here are some of the touted benefits of doing a juice or smoothie cleanse for a few days:

May Promote Weight Loss

By only consuming smoothies for a few days, you drastically reduce your calorie intake compared to a normal diet. This can lead to short-term weight loss, though likely water weight rather than fat. However, you may also lose some fat if you maintain a calorie deficit.

Eliminates Processed Foods

Following a liquid diet forces you to eliminate processed snack foods, sweets, and other unhealthy items that usually make up a significant portion of many people’s diets. This may help reset your food cravings and habits.

Increases Fruit/Veggie Intake

Smoothie cleanses are focused around fruits and vegetables. By only drinking smoothies, you’ll end up consuming much larger quantities of fruits and veggies than usual. This can help boost your micronutrient and antioxidant intake.

Easy To Follow

Smoothie cleanses require very little prep or cooking. You simply grab a pre-made smoothie or blend up a quick one. This makes it easier to stick to than more complicated cleanses or diets.

May Improve Digestion

The high fiber content in smoothies combined with the liquid form may help improve digestive regularity and bowel movements in some people. This effect is enhanced by eliminating processed foods.

Potential Downsides of a 3 Day Smoothie Cleanse

Despite some benefits, restricting yourself to only smoothies for 3 days may come with the following downsides:

Extreme Calorie Restriction

Most smoothie cleanses provide only around 1,000-1,500 calories per day, which is a drastic reduction compared to the 2,000+ calories most adults require. Such a low intake may lead to fatigue, headaches, irritability, and dizziness in some people.

Loss of Muscle Mass

Consuming high protein foods and doing resistance training are key to maintaining muscle mass. Smoothies often lack adequate protein, which combined with the low calorie intake may cause loss of lean muscle during a cleanse.

Nutritional Deficiencies

Although smoothies provide vitamins and minerals from fruits/veggies, they lack many other important nutrients like healthy fats, most minerals, and sometimes adequate protein. A deficiency in certain nutrients may occur after several days.

Blood Sugar Spikes

The liquid sugar in many smoothies causes a quick spike in blood sugar and insulin compared to eating solid fruit. This may lead to crashes, hunger, and cravings soon after drinking them.

Lacks Fiber

Blending fruits/veggies into smoothies liquefies the fiber content. This reduces feelings of fullness compared to eating the whole fruits/veggies. Lack of fiber may also cause digestive issues.

Difficult Transition Back to Solid Foods

After 3 days of smoothies only, transitioning back to normal solid foods may be difficult on your digestive system. Bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and stomach pain may occur.

How to Do a Smoothie Cleanse Safely

If you decide to try a 3 day smoothie cleanse, here are some tips to help you avoid potential downsides and improve the experience:

Don’t Completely Restrict Calories

Instead of extreme calorie restriction, aim for around 1,400-1,600 calories from your smoothies. This is low enough to promote weight loss but not so low that you’ll feel miserable. Add healthy fats like nuts, avocado, or nut butters.

Include Protein in Each Smoothie

Getting adequate protein minimizes muscle loss. Add protein powders, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, or nut butters to your smoothies. Shoot for around 25-30g of protein per smoothie.

Vary Your Fruits and Veggies

Using a variety of fruits and vegetables ensures you obtain a diversity of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for better overall nutrition.

Limit Fruit Juice and Sweeteners

The natural sugars in fruits are okay, but avoid adding excess fruit juices or sweeteners like honey, which spike blood sugar. Use minimal amounts if needed for palatability.

Don’t Skimp on Fat

Healthy fats are essential for energy, hormone regulation, brain health, and much more. Incorporate olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds into your smoothies.

Watch out for Bloating

The fiber content of fruit/veggie smoothies may cause bloating and gas in some people as your body adjusts. Monitor your response and adjust the ingredients accordingly.

Avoid Added Supplements

Many cleanse programs tout their added powders and supplements. But smoothies made of whole foods already provide nutrients. Most added supplements are unnecessary or lack evidence.

Break the Cleanse Slowly

Ease out of a smoothie cleanse over 2-3 days. Gradually reintroduce solid foods like broth, yogurt, cooked grains and veggies before resuming your normal diet. This prevents GI distress.

Consult Your Doctor First

Make sure to get medical clearance before attempting a smoothie cleanse, especially if you have any health conditions, take medications, or are pregnant/nursing. Certain individuals should avoid drastic cleanses.

Example 3-Day Smoothie Cleanse Plan

If you want to try a 3-day smoothie cleanse, here is an example plan to follow:

Day 1

Breakfast – Green Detox Smoothie

– 1 cup baby spinach
– 1 cup kale
– 1/2 green apple
– 1/2 banana
– 1/2 cup pineapple
– 1 tbsp peanut butter
– 1 scoop plant protein powder
– 1 tbsp chia seeds
– 1 cup unsweetened almond milk

Lunch – Strawberries & Cream Smoothie
– 1 cup strawberries
– 1/2 banana
– 1/4 avocado
– 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
– 1 tbsp almond butter
– 1 cup coconut water

Dinner – Blueberry Protein Smoothie
– 1 cup blueberries
– 1/4 cup oats
– 2 tbsp cacao nibs
– 1 scoop plant protein powder
– 1 cup unsweetened almond milk

Day 2

Breakfast – Carrot Cake Smoothie
– 1 cup carrots
– 1/2 banana
– 1/4 cup canned pumpkin
– 1/2 tsp cinnamon
– 1 tbsp almond butter
– 1 cup unsweetened almond milk

Lunch – Mango Tango Smoothie
– 1 cup mango
– 1 orange, peeled
– 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
– 1/4 avocado
– 1/4 cup oats
– 1 cup coconut water

Dinner – Cherry Vanilla Smoothie
– 1 cup cherries
– 1/2 banana
– 1 tbsp almond butter
– 1 scoop plant protein powder
– 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
– 1 cup unsweetened almond milk

Day 3

Breakfast – Ginger Apple Smoothie
– 1 apple, cored and chopped
– 1 orange, peeled
– 1/2 banana
– 1 knob fresh ginger
– 1/4 cup walnuts
– 1 cup water

Lunch – Peaches & Greens Smoothie
– 1 cup peaches
– 2 cups baby spinach
– 1/4 avocado
– 1 tbsp coconut oil
– 1 tbsp hemp seeds
– 1 cup unsweetened almond milk

Dinner – Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie
– 1/2 banana
– 1 tbsp cacao powder
– 1 tbsp peanut butter
– 1 scoop plant protein powder
– 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
– Water and ice as needed for consistency

The After Effects: What to Expect

Here is what you can expect in the days following a 3 day smoothie cleanse:

Likely Weight Gain

Any weight lost during the cleanse will likely return quickly as you resume normal eating with higher calorie intake and more carbs. However, you may have lost some fat if in a sufficient deficit.

Improved Energy and Reduced Brain Fog

Your energy and mental clarity may improve due to the hydration, nutrients, and elimination of processed foods during the cleanse.

Potential Constipation

Smoothies lack fiber, so constipation may initially occur when reintroducing solid foods until your digestive system adjusts. Be sure to eat plenty of high fiber foods post-cleanse.

Potential Changes in Hunger Cues

Extreme calorie restriction may impact the hunger/fullness signals your body sends. Be mindful of your new hunger cues when transitioning back to normal eating.

Cravings for Unhealthy Foods

Restricting foods for several days may lead to intense cravings for the unhealthy foods you eliminated post-cleanse. Be prepared for this mental challenge.

Improvements in Digestion

Some people report improved bowel regularity, less bloating and gas, and better gut health after a liquid diet cleanse. But effects vary greatly.

Headaches or Irritability

Brain fog, headaches, irritability, and fatigue may occur in the first few days returning to regular eating as your body adjusts. Be sure to still get proper rest.

Potential Nutritional Deficiencies

Restricting foods increases risk for nutritional deficiencies over time. Focus on eating a balanced, whole food diet to replenish important vitamins and minerals.


Replacing all meals with smoothies for 3 days may initially help you lose weight, eliminate processed foods, and consume more fruits and vegetables. However, extreme calorie restriction can cause side effects like fatigue, loss of muscle, nutritional deficiencies, and disordered eating. To do a smoothie cleanse safely, be sure to consume adequate calories and protein, include healthy fats, and transition slowly back to normal eating. While short term smoothie cleanses are unlikely to cause lasting harm in most healthy people, they provide no proven long-term benefits compared to sustained healthy eating.

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