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Here we’ll cover some things you really ought to know before going on a juice fast, whether it’s juice fasting for weight loss or juice fasting for something else.
Juice Fasting Is Not, Really, ‘Fasting’
Whether it’s a liquid or a solid, the body doesn’t care, because it’s all broken down into constituent components.
Proteins > Amino Acids.
Carbohydrates > Sugar Molecules.
Fat is just fat, although there’s various types, such as fatty acids, waxes, sterols, etc.
So whatever you swallow, in whatever form, the body breaks it down into its components so it can absorb and use them.
As such, when you drink a juice, which is a carbohydrate, the body breaks it down into glucose and fructose, and so the actual different between this and, say, a slice of bread, is pretty minimal as far as your body is concerned—your average bread will predominately be glucose, with some fructose and maltodextrin thrown in as well.
Of course, the vitamin, mineral and fat content will diverge depending on what you’ve had, but that’s irrelevant to the current consideration.
What’s relevant here is that after drinking a juice your body is now:
In a fed state.
Not a fasted state.
You might think this is semantics, but it’s not. It’s a fundamental difference in the state of your body. One is fed. The other is not. There also seems to be benefits to fasting, benefits that you don’t get if you’re not, literally, fasting.
There’s also another reason that’s often touted for juice fasting, and that’s ‘detoxing’, but we’ll cover that at a later date since it deserves its own article.
For now and the rest of this article, let’s cover juice fasting for weight loss
Juice Fasting For Weight Loss
Juice fasting for weight loss is certainly an option to consider if you like the idea, because juice fasting means:
You naturally abstain from fats for a time (which is high calorie in small packets), as well as alcohol (which can also be pretty high calorie).
However, the idea that gets thrown around about you reducing your sugar and carbohydrate intake by following a juice diet is completely false, because:
This is exactly what fruit juices are—concentrated carbohydrates (fruit and veg), leading to lots of sugar.
A Juice Diet Is Not a Long-term Weight Loss Solution
Going on a juice diet and exclusively using it as a weight loss measure is also not a dependable weight loss solution.
In fact, juice fasting for weight loss is often a:
Short-term solution for a long term problem.
Why Juicing For Weight Loss Is Often A Bad Idea
A juice diet and the term ‘juicing’ pretty much means you’re drinking your calories, primarily fruits, vegetables and herbs.
But drinking your calories means you’re getting less satiation from those calories than if you’d ate them in solid form. As such, you’re likely going to be more hungry than if you’d eaten that same number of calories in solid form.
Granted though, when incorporated into a healthy diet, juicing can be a decent way to boost energy levels and consume extra nutrients.
But, a juice can be considered 1 of your 5 a day only once. After the first one it doesn’t count. So as far as packing on your fruit and veg intake goes, keep that in mind.
Moreover, while weight can certainly be lost when juicing, it is not guaranteed that any actual fat will be lost.
Instead, you’ll lose a lot of water weight, which isn’t fat.
Arguably, you also risk slowing your metabolic rate, meaning when you resume a normal diet less energy will be burned and more fat will be potentially stored immediately following the juice fasting period.
These two problems may be combatted by consuming juice more frequently (every 2-3 hours) and balancing your juices by adding protein, either in the form of powder supplements or natural sources such as almond milk or Greek yogurt, but there’s no guarantees.
Regardless, if you’re juice fasting for weight loss:
Be sure to use protein powder in some of your juices.
A Juice Diet Can Be A High Carb & High Calorie Diet
Something else that many proponents of juice diets neglect is that juices can be surprisingly calorie dense, especially when the juice is made predominantly from fruit.
There are other issues, too:
The actual process of juicing fruit and vegetables removes some of their natural benefits—of particular concern is the fibre.
Once the bulk of the fruit has gone what you’re left with is basically liquid sugar.
And since the bulk is gone you need more fruit to make up the volume, which means lots of fruit, which is more sugar and more calories.
Don’t get us wrong, juicing can be a positive part of a healthy lifestyle, especially when combined with a balanced diet and regular physical exercise, but as a long-term weight loss solution it is nothing more than a fad diet that should not be sustained for long periods.
But You Lost Lots Of Weight with Your Juice Diet?
Initial dramatic weight loss may indeed occur, but as mentioned, this is often water weight and the fact that your system is “empty”—all of which will come back within days, maybe even hours, of ending the juice fast.
Don’t Be Cavalier When Juice Fasting
If you do decide that you’re going on a juice fast then you should consult your healthcare professional first and discuss any individual potential risks.
Juice fasting is not recommended for people:
Who suffer from diabetes.
Who suffer with heart disease.
Who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Always include a wide selection of fruits and vegetables, and wash them before use so you aren’t concentrating any chemicals from the skin.
Check out this guide for a beginners guide on smoothies.