What You Need to Know Before Juice Fasting
Juice fasting is extremely popular right now and it can have many positive benefits for those who successfully complete them. However, there is also a fair amount of misinformation out there regarding juice cleanses. Allow us to clear things up for you.
First, this is what juice fasting does NOT do
Most juice fasting products (like Master Cleanse) and many independent juicing bloggers will often tote the “detoxifying” effects of juice fasting. We are here to debunk this—juice fasting does not detoxify the body. First, note that specific toxins are very rarely, if ever, mentioned in these claims. They are supposedly the nasties that enter our body through our everyday activity, but no one is more specific than that. While it is true that our bodies do take in toxins, the idea that a three-day, or seven-day, or lifelong juice fasting, will rid your body of them is ludicrous. Why? Because the body ALREADY has a detoxification system—it’s called the kidneys and the liver, and detox is one of their main functions. If these organs are not working correctly, the only thing that will fix it is an organ transplant. Drinking kale and carrot juice for three days will not.
It is also not a magic way to drop weight
Yes, people on juice cleanses tend to lose a little weight—this is due to the reduced caloric intake. This is not to say that juicing does not aid weight loss efforts because it can, but for many people, juice fasting is a temporary practice, after which they often go back to their normal lifestyle and eating habits, subsequently regaining all of that weight. In a worst-case scenario at the end of a juice cleanse, some people gorge on their favorite foods to excess, which ironically causes weight gain. When done properly, juicing as part of a healthy diet can help you lose weight, or maintain your current weight, but you do not need to only consume juice.
So what does juice fasting do, exactly?
Simply stated, juice fasting introduces your body to the benefits of eating healthy. Juice fasts are often popular with people who know that they should reform their eating habits. They may have unrealistic expectations of what juice fasting can actually do, but, when done correctly, fasters will experience increased energy, a general sense of “feeling better”, and a myriad of other benefits that come from making better food choices.
Think of juicing as a way to kickstart your efforts to start eating better 24/7, rather than a temporary vacation from greasy hamburgers and cookies. Integrate juicing into your life after you finish your fast.
Our tips for fasters
- Start small. A two or three-day fast is great for beginners because a juice cleanse can be an intense experience that can have physical side effects (like headaches, for example). Have realistic expectations and start small, rather than jumping into a 60-day juice fast. It is more important to stick to a short juice cleanse than to undertake a long one and constantly cheat.
- Listen to your body. If, while on your juice fast, you begin to feel horribly ill (not uncomfortable, not hungry—legitimately sick), then eat a small meal or snack that is as healthy as the juice you are drinking. You should make sure that you drink lots of water and maintain a high enough caloric intake so as to be able to function.
- Do it over a weekend. This is particularly true for beginners, because you never really know how your body will react to a juice fast. It may make you feel great, or you may feel so sick that you cannot get out of bed. Most employers don’t accept “juice cleansing” as a reason for missing work, so do it over a span of time when you have no commitments.
- Buy an inexpensive juicer. Perhaps one of the best juicers for beginners is the Breville Compact Juice Fountain 700-Watt Extractor, as it is easy to use and priced at around $100. In fact, our review of it showed it to be one of the best low-budget options on the market. Do not buy juice from the store, or buy one of those juice cleanse products—buy your own juicer and make it yourself. It’s an expensive commitment for a three-day fast, but hopefully that will just encourage you to make it part of your normal routine.