4 Reasons to Avoid Juice Fasts
Juice fasts, "The Master Cleanse," and other related liquid diets are often touted as the ultimate in healthy eating. People often turn to drinking these beverages when they're sick and tired of being sick and tired. And they work! ...At least in the short term. While some people may experience initially uncomfortable side effects from the sudden cleansing effect, most people eventually experience an increase in energy, focus, and alertness. Plus, reduction in pain, improvement in digestion, and other desirable outcomes further entrench our thinking that juice fasts are the best thing for our bodies and should be done frequently.
From a nutritional standpoint, there are some great benefits to drinking freshly pressed vegetable and fruit juices. For just 8oz of fresh juice, it can take about a pound of produce. That's a lot of nutrition in a quick cup of juice!
In a time where fast food chains reign supreme, there's no argument that we could all use a nutritional boost, but there are several issues that cannot be ignored when considering an all-liquid juice fast diet.
4 Reasons to Avoid Juice Fasts
Increased sugar intake
One of the main issues with drinking juice is the concentration of sugar. Even if juicing primarily vegetables, the sugar contained in those fruits and veggies will be directly ingested with no fiber to slow down the absorption.
This is the reason that drinking juice immediately increases your energy. It's a fantastic way to give yourself a quick boost. In fact, one of my midwives recommended juicing carrots and beet as a postpartum pick-me-up. It's a great option instead of your mid-afternoon coffee.
But, if you already have blood sugar issues, this will immediately be a big "no-no" for you, and this can also cause issues if you choose to juice fast for an extended period of time.
Decreased protein intake
When you consume only juices, you're getting lots of micro-nutrients, but you're missing out on a couple very important macro-nutrients: one of them being protein. Whatever your diet dogma, it's important to understand that protein is crucial for overall good health, including detoxification.
Most people do a juice fast as a way to detox their bodies and try to reboot their systems. The issue is that restricting your protein intake for even a short time can impair your liver function for months. So juice fasting for detoxification can actually be causing your body to have reduced detoxification abilities.
Decreased fat intake
Besides detoxification, people often choose to drink juices because they want to increase their nutritional intake. One of the issues with only drinking juices for nutrition is the lack of fat. Some vitamins are fat-soluble, meaning your body needs fat in order to absorb those nutrients. If you have a no-fat, juice-only diet, there will be certain vitamins that you still won't be absorbing.
In addition, fats are crucial for healthy hormones, which is an area that women need to be very mindful of. Plus, insulin is a hormone. An increase in sugar intake with a decrease in fat intake can be bad news for your long term health.
Decreased calorie intake
If you haven't already stopped reading due to your opposition of my views, then I hope you'll hear me out on this point too. Significantly decreasing your caloric intake may seem like a good idea for weight/fat loss, but it's only a short-term solution.
By restricting your calories, and burning fat rapidly, your body may release too many toxins into your bloodstream at one time. Toxins are primarily stored in fat cells so if you have rapid weight loss, the toxins will flood your bloodstream causing you uncomfortable symptoms (at the very least) and will not be able to be filtered fast enough through your liver so they will eventually resettle back into your body's tissues.
That sounds like a lot of wasted time, money, and discomfort for very little gain.
In addition, restricting your calories will likely cause your body to gain the weight back (and more) after you've finished your fast.
So... what do I recommend?
I am not against drinking freshly pressed juices (in fact, they're fantastic!)--the concerns are with drinking juices only for an extended period of time.
So if you would like to incorporate the added nutrition of juices into your lifestyle, here are my suggestions:
- Focus on leafy greens with a smaller amount of sweet vegetables and fruits.
- If you already struggle with insulin resistance or have diabetes, consider blending your produce instead of juicing it, so that you ingest the fiber with the sugar. Or, be sure to have a snack with fat & protein with your juice.
- Use organic produce (or local produce that is not sprayed with pesticides) or you'll be drinking harmful substances with your healthy juice.
- Drink only a couple ounces of juice at a time, up to a few times a day.
- Drink your juice on an empty stomach to get the most digestive benefits.
- Drink your juice fresh, right after juicing, to get the most nutrition.
And finally... don't rely on juice fasts as your sole source of nutrition. They are a great addition to a healthy diet, but should not replace your diet.
If you’d like more info on how to properly detox your body, click below to grab my free Quickstart Guide to Healthy Detoxification. I’ll show you three main ways you can support your body’s natural detoxification processes, the safe way.