By Jessica Sanders

With more people gaining interest in healthy diet options, there has been much hype around juice fasts; drinking all your meals for a certain period of time. Some turn to the juice fast fad to lose weight, others to detox their body.

However, there are a variety of opinions in the health world about whether this is a viable, safe option or not. So, before you start your first or next juice fast, be sure you know whether you are, in fact, making the healthiest choice for your body.

Juice Fast 101

Juice FastThe belief behind juice fasting is that produce (raw fruits and vegetables) is the healthiest option for your body, and juicing provides you vitamins and minerals, while removing toxins, allowing your body to be clean and healthy.

Experts at define the process of a juice fast as, “… a certain period of time when all you typically consume is liquids, specifically water, herbal teas, fresh fruit and vegetable juices and strained vegetable broth.”

When subsisting solely on juice, you not only eliminate many foods from your diet, but your body is only getting certain aspects of the fruit or vegetables. For example, juicing eliminates the fiber from the produce, which is necessary for our bodies. On the other hand, many agree that it is a great option for detoxing your body, as well as losing weight. Read on to learn more about both sides of the argument.

The Skepticism

Many health professionals believe that the juice fast fad is an unhealthy one that leaves your body lacking necessary nutrients and stability.

Lack of Balance

Fasting is an extreme way to lose weight or cleanse your body, and lacks the balance that our bodies need.  You’ll be missing out on fiber, which is necessary for having regular bowl movements – an integral aspect of digestion. Fiber is also necessary to maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, thus without fiber and excessive sugar from raw fruits and vegetables, you will experience blood sugar spikes. It’s also important to note the lack of protein and healthy fat.

Unsuccessful Quick Fix

As you begin reincorporating food groups into your diet, you’ll see all the lost weight returning. A restrictive diet slows down your metabolism, as your body tries to compensate for a lack of nutrients – this is because your body has moved into “starvation mode.” Extended periods of fasting will have lasting, negative effects on your once speedy, and healthy, metabolism.

Physical Weakness

Many who try juice fasts experience extreme weakness thanks to a massive decrease of caloric intake; less calories equals less energy. After the inevitable sugar spike, you’ll crash, and without carbohydrates, healthy fat or protein to pick your body back up, this can translate into less focus and inability to maintain an active lifestyle.

The Benefits

Juice fasting 101While there are a number of negative aspects to juicing, some believe there is one very important positive aspect to consider: a clean body, free of toxins.

Necessary Digestive System Break 

Your regular diet likely leaves your digestive system working hard all day long. Between 3 meals and snacks in between, you are constantly digesting. With no carbohydrates or fiber to work on, your liver is able to regenerate and focus on deeper detoxification, rather than flushing out daily toxins.

Cleanses Your Body of Toxins

Traditional Chinese medicine says that vegetables are for cleansing, which is

why many believe this produce-heavy fast is necessary for a full body cleanse. And, because you are not allowed to drink caffeine or alcohol, you are automatically eliminating those toxins for your regular digestive routine.

Safe Juice Fasting

If you’re looking to try a juice fast, it’s important you do it the right way. Many people begin their fast out of curiosity, often looking for quick and easy results, but end up hurting their bodies in the process. When you’re educated about how to fast safely, you can be sure to reap the greatest benefits.

  • Prepare your body: Before you completely eliminate food groups from your diet, plan to cut back on some things while bulking up on others leading up to the fast. Cut back on dairy, red meat, and processed foods. Add more fruits and vegetables to your daily diet to ensure your body recognizes them when the cleanse starts. Finally, bulk up on fiber to ensure your digestive system stays healthy after it has been eliminated.
  • Know what you need: Three small juices a day will leave you feel hungry and cause your body to be seriously malnourished. Plan to drink 2-3 liters of juice a day to stay full and gain the most nutrients.
  • Short fasts are smarter: It is highly recommended that your fast lasts no longer than 3 days; any longer and your body may suffer long term consequences. 1-3 days is enough time for your body to cleanse and prepare to start fresh with the toxins you eat in your daily diet.

Juice fasting is a highly debated topic in the health world, and for good reason. While it can be beneficial for a quick bodily cleanse, too many people turn to this as a short-term strategy for long-term effects, specifically weight loss. Not only does eliminating fiber, protein and healthy fat from your body leave you feeling tired, but a lack of fiber is detrimental to the regularity of your digest system. To reap the most benefits, it’s important you prepare properly and know how much you need to maintain a healthy daily diet. Only then will you experience the many benefits of a healthy and toxin-free body.

Juice bars are popping up on every corner, giving us healthy alternatives to our lattes, frappucinos, and mochas.  Do you juice?  What is your favorite juicing recipe?

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