What is Juice fasting?
Juice fasting is a kind of detoxification diet that is gaining momentum around the country. The basics of how to do the diet are simple, even if actually following through may not be.
What we're talking about here is a diet in which only fruit and vegetable juices are consumed. That's right: Nothing solid is ingested, including fruits and vegetables themselves (only their juices). Oftentimes, juice fasts are undergone with attached supplements. Sometimes even support groups or counseling is recommended.
Juice fasts are typically undergone for one to three days. Practitioners that choose to go longer than that should consult with a physician as nutritional deficiencies can occur.
The idea behind juice fasting? Vegetable and fruit juices are digested very rapidly; thus, the process of digestion only expends a small amount of comparative energy, which allows the body time and energy to rid itself of toxins and unwanted material. In other words, it is thought that normal digestion of many solid foods wears the body down. When this is taken away, healing can occur.
Why people undergo juice fasting
People tend to juice fast in order to become more healthy. Thus, people often embark on juice fasts in order to lose weight, quit a bad habit (like smoking, drinking, caffeine), and for religious reasons. Some practitioners even utilize juice fasting to try and combat serious medical conditions like pain, cancer, depression, arthritis, and autoimmune diseases. That said, it may not be the best thing to attempt under such circumstances. Therefore, it's always important to consult a medical physician when faced with such a situation.
More on the process of juice fasting
About seven or more days before taking part in a juice fast the intake of unwanted things like alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, sugar, dairy, wheat, animal meat, fish, and eggs are often reduced in the practitioners diet. In other words, we're talking beans, vegetables, and fruit are still on the table. Also, during a fast between 32-64 ounces of juice is usually recommended (see an appropriate medical professional for further information regarding this).
Of course, as with anything else, there are variations or exceptions to the above. For example, some people eat one meal per day during juice fasts (though this is obviously not a full fast). That meal will likely consist of organic fruits/ vegetables, beans, and/ or fresh fruit.
Typical fruit and vegetable juices used in a fast are celery, carrot, kale, cabbage, apple, spinach, cranberry, pineapple, beet, and other kinds of greens (parsley, dandelion leaf, etc.). Citrus fruits tend to be avoided, particularly grapefruit juice which can sometimes combine with medications for an unwanted effect. In addition, approximately six glasses of room temperature or filtered water per day is also recommended often.
Obviously, pits and tough skins should not be juiced for the most part.
Many propose that juice fasting is best served during the warmer months of spring.
Who shouldn't juice fast
1. Pregnant or nursing women
2. People with diabetes, low blood sugar, kidney disease, eating disorders, liver disease, or malnutrition. In addition, people that have addictions, impaired immune function, infection, nutritional deficiency, low blood pressure, ulcerative colitis, cancer, terminal illness, epilepsy, or those that suffer from being underweight, anemic, or have other chronic conditions. Please note this as some people with serious medical problems tend to try juice fasting (ex.- Cancer) and perhaps shouldn't. Thus, always consult medical professionals.
3. People on medications will need to consult a medical professional as a juice fast can change the react of such medications in one's body.
Side effects of juice fasting
The side effects of juice fasting can include many things, some of which are headaches, fatigue, hypoglycemia, constipation, acne, increased body odor, bad breath, dizziness, low blood pressure, heart arrhythmias, kidney problems, hunger, weight loss, vomiting, and especially diarrhea.
The juice fasting controversy
Does juice fasting really work in the way that practitioners say it does? In other words, does it serve to allow more body energy to go toward fighting toxins and things that are bad for us?
According to Wikipedia, Dr. Catherine Collins (Chief Dietician of St. George's Hospital Medical School in London) has gone on the record with the following. "The concept of detox is a marketing myth rather than a physiological entity. The idea that an avalanche of vitamins, minerals, and laxatives taken over a two to seven day period can have a long lasting benefit for the body is also a marketing myth."
In sum, many medical professionals and scientists believe that juice fasting is no more effective than drinking a glass of water.
On the other hand, there are people that truly believe it logical to think that when less energy is expended on digestion of food, more energy can be available to fight toxins in the human body's eliminative glands and organs, where most toxins are believed to fester.
Is there a scientific basis for these claims? Not yet. Do some people still swear by juice fasting. Yes. And there lies the controversy.