Let’s talk juice fasting! I got a message recently on Instagram from one of my lean legs club girls. She wanted to know if it is a good idea to do a post-summer juice cleanse to kick-start a new exercise season.
You’ve probably come across advertisements or articles talking about juice fasting at some point. You’ve probably seen the increase in juice bars popping up around the place. You may have been tempted to try a juice fast because you’ve overindulged and had some food guilt, or you may have wondered if it’s a good way to recover from a binge. Let’s face it, we’ve all been there!
I’ve talked before about different diets such as the blood type diet, the 5:2 diet, and the vegan diet. So now, I’ve decided to do some research to find some answers about juice fasts to share with all of you. I have heard amazing things about juice fasts and then also heard lots of negative things. I have been wondering about the pros and cons of juice fasting, so this is what I have found.
But girls, do remember that I am not a doctor! This is not meant to be medical advice. I just want to present you with some information, so you can decide if a juice cleanse is right for you. You should ALWAYS consult your doctor before undertaking any kind of fast, especially if it is a longer one.
What is a juice fast or cleanse?
You may have wondered “what exactly is juicing”? Well, there is no fancy science or process to get your head around thank goodness!
Juice fasting (otherwise known as a juice cleanse), is where you only consume juices for a period of time. But you can supplement juices with other healthy drinks such as herbal teas, vegetable broth or water. You extract juice from a number of fruit and vegetables by using a juicing machine, so that all the solid pulp is left behind.
By doing a juice cleanse, you take out all of the harmful foods from your diet such as dairy, sugar products, and processed foods.
Related post: Clean Eating Guidelines
Why do people do juice fasts?
- To absorb lots of nutrients in a brief period of time
- To boost their immune system
- To reset their digestive system
- To detox after an unhealthy period of eating and drinking (think after Christmas or a vacation)
- When trying to work out food allergies or intolerances
- To lose weight
It is important to note that while a juice cleanse may help you lose weight, this loss is likely to be temporary. Many people that do juice cleanses find that they put the weight straight back on when they are back in their normal eating routine.
Can you eat while juice fasting?
The whole idea of the juice cleanse is to take out solid foods and only consume liquids. But, there are many interpretations of what a juice cleanse is. Some people will tell you that it is ok to eat lightly cooked vegetables, or fresh fruit and veges. Doing a cleanse with some solid foods will certainly help with fighting hunger pains.
How long can you do a juice fast for?
You will see reports of people doing juice cleanses for one day, right through to a crazy length of time like 60 days. I think if you are going to do one, a reasonable time is maximum three days. This still gives you the detox and digestive benefits, but you should not suffer too many side effects.
What kind of juice to drink when fasting?
Just like you should always be aiming to eat balanced meals in order to get your nutrient fix, juice cleanses should consist of a mixture of different fruits and vegetables.
It is recommended that at least half of your intake is from green vegetables.
Reboot With Joe’s 3 day Quick Start Reboot juice cleanse suggests drinking juices of different colours during the day. He uses a mix of fruit and veges as well as herbs and spices such as cinnamon or ginger to create delicious juice fasting recipes for various times of the day.
How much water should you drink while on a juice fast?
Even though you will be consuming a lot of liquid while on a juice cleanse, it is extremely important to still drink plenty of water. That is 2-3 litres of water every day!
What are the benefits of juice fasting?
- Boosts your immune system
- Helps to lose weight (although this may be temporary)
- Removes toxins from processed foods or alcohol from your body
What are the cons of juice fasting?
- Digestive problems can happen, since juicing removes all-important fibre from fruits and vegetables.
- You can have blood sugar swings due to the overload of sugar from fruit.
- You may experience side effects such as constipation or diarrhoea, dizziness, and fatigue.
- Hunger pains may leave you feeling irritated!
- You may not actually lose any weight, or weight loss will be temporary when you go back to old eating habits.
- Lack of protein in your diet means that your body may start breaking down your muscles.
- You will need to alter your lifestyle during the cleanse: no lunch dates or dinner parties!
Is it a good idea to do a juice cleanse?
While there are some benefits of juice fasting such as a system reboot and detox, I definitely would not recommend doing one for weight loss. It would be very easy to gain weight back that you’ve ‘lost’ when you return to your old eating habits. Also, because of the risk of side effects, you shouldn’t work out during juice fasting – you may not have the energy!
Juice cleanses can also be expensive. This is something to keep in mind if you are in an area that does not have a wide variety of seasonal fruit, or if you don’t have your own juicer.
An appropriate alternative to a juice cleanse is to cut out all processed foods, wheat products and alcohol instead. You may like to check out what I do on my 7-day detox for some great tips. Also, have a look at the great health benefits of matcha tea for detoxing!
Have you tried a juice cleanse before? Did it work for you? Would love to hear your experiences in the comments below!