Womens Health

The Juice Fast Diet - Helpful or Harmful?

You've tried every diet out there and still can't seem to lose those last ten pounds.  Or, you want to cleanse your body of the toxins you've been eating and then start a healthier diet.  These scenarios can be helped, according to certain proponents, with a juice-fast diet.  While some have nothing but praise for juice fast diets, others warn that these diets are dangerous and not productive.  Here, we'll examine both sides of the juice fast diet issue and let you decide for yourself if it's the right method for you.

What Is A Juice Fast Diet?

A juice fast diet is a considered a detox diet.  In involves the short-term consumption of raw vegetables and fruit juice and water, with no other solids or drinks allowed.  This diet is an extreme diet, as it doesn't allow any solid foods at all to be consumed during the diet.  Most people recommend staying on a juice fast diet only for one to three days to detox the body.  The idea behind this is that you are cleansing your system of all of the harmful things that you eat.  Your colon has a chance to rest and to restore your body to its natural state.  You then introduce solids and feel cleansed.  While some people recommend staying on a juice fast diet for longer, and seeing a significant reduction in weight, you should consult a physician before continuing a juice fast for long.

What Should You Eat On A Juice Fast?

Some juice fasting advocates focusing on the timing of your diet.  They suggest trying a juice fast during the warmer months of the year.  One week before the fast, make sure to reduce or cut out caffeine, nicotine, sugar, dairy, wheat and any other items that are difficult for you to be without.  In preparation for the fast, you should focus on fruits, vegetables and beans. You should drink somewhere between 32 and 64 ounces of juice each day during the fast.  This juice should be sipped slowly throughout the day.  In addition, you can drink 6-8 glasses of warm water during the day. Try to focus on organic fruits and vegetables if you can and try to squeeze your own juices.  If you can't used freshly juiced fruits, then at least purchase your juice from a health food store or juice bar.  You can use both fruits and vegetables for the juice fast and both are recommended. For people who want to try a juice fast, but need to eat something, you can create a modified juice fast.  Follow these directions, but add one small meal a day as well.

Benefits of Juice Fast Diets

Juice fast diets can help your metabolism and your digestion.  A diet that concentrates on raw vegetables and juices has fewer, low-density calories and more high fiber, filling foods.  This helps to increase your metabolism and to make it easier for your body to process food and to lose weight.  In addition, once your colon is cleared of the regular foods that you usually eat, your digestion will be cleaner and smoother.  People who believe in this diet say that the colon can more easily absorb nutrients and help your body to run more smoothly.  

Who Shouldn't Be On A Juice Fast Diet?

There are many people for whom a juice fast diet is not a good idea.  If you are pregnant or nursing, you should not try this diet.  If you have diabetes, low blood sugar, kidney disease, liver disease, anemia, low blood pressure, or other serious or chronic conditions, then you should not try this diet.  You need to be very careful if you are taking prescription medicines when you plan to do a juice fast.  The fast can reduce your blood proteins and change the way the prescriptions react in your body.  You should not reduce or eliminate your own medications, but should consult with a specialist before starting a juice diet if you take medications regularly.

What Side Effects Can Occur?

Juice fasts often leave people feeling dizzy, tired, constipated, and with headaches.  You can also have low blood pressure, hunger, kidney problems and vomiting.  Obviously, if you experience these symptoms or you have mild symptoms which get worse, you should stop the fast and seek medical attention.  Juice fasting over an extended period of time can lead to a lack of nutrients.

Returning To Regular Food

After a juice fast, or after any fast, you should be very careful about the foods you eat.  Your system has not had solid food for a day or more, so you need to re-adapt slowly.  Start with a small piece of fruit or a starch such as brown rice.  Slowly add in vegetables, light yogurts, and salad.  Don't return to meats or heavy dairy products quickly. You need to give your body time to re-adapt, and you don't want to shock your system.

As with any diet, a juice fast can show great results, but it can also backfire.  You might find yourself hungrier after the diet, and decide to make poor food choices.  You might, however, find that the fast is quite cleansing and that it has started you on a nice weight lose that you hope to maintain.  Each person has to decide for himself if a juice fast is right for him.  Hopefully, you'll find a diet that works for you and that makes you feel good about yourself and your process!

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