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Juice Fasts…A Few Reasons To Skip Them.
It’s that time of year, people are all feeling sluggish from the indulgence & inactivity of the holidays! I’ve run into many people lately who are detoxing – some plans are great, but some…don’t sound so great…
Although I love using veggie juices & smoothies to give the digestive system & liver a bit of a rest whilst nourishing the body – I’m not a fan of extended juice only fasts i.e. the kind where ‘you just have fruit & veggie juices’ for days or even weeks.
My reasons are as follows:
1 – Your body requires amino acids for safe & effective detoxification.
The main amino acids used by the liver for detoxification pathways are cysteine, glycine, glutamine, methionine and taurine. You just won’t get enough of these from a juice diet, which will mean your liver function is compromised & you’ll be inefficient / unable to breakdown & convert toxins into safer substances for excretion (i.e. your detox can actually do you more harm than good with a poorly nourished liver).
2 – You’ll lose muscle.
Going without protein for long periods = no materials readily available for building, repairing, replacing of old cells, immune cells…no new materials coming in means your body is forced to raid your amino acid stores. The crappy thing is – you don’t really store aminos like you can store sugars & fats…well you kinda do, but you store them as lean muscle tissue. Which you do not want to break down. You want to preserve the lean muscle tissue you have – it is your metabolic friend & considered a good health marker (the more lean muscle you have, the more fat you’ll be able to burn – even while you’re asleep). It is especially detrimental for older folks & diabetics to lose (or use up) their muscle tissue.
3 – You’ll be Hangry.
Your brain & neurotransmitters. Amino acids are required for healthy production of neurotransmitters – as well as hungry, you’ll likely feel cranky, depressed or emotionally unstable without consuming protein for an extended period.
4 – Too much quick release sugar.
When you juice a fruit (or even a sweet vegetable like carrot or beetroot), you remove the fibre – leaving the natural sugars to be digested really quickly, with nothing to slow them down (the usual job of the fibre). In a prolonged juice fast, this will cause huge blood sugar variations & unhealthy insulin spiking. Not good for your metabolism in the long term, although you’ll lose weight short term simply due to the decreased calories.
5 – No Fibre = No Food For Gut Bugs.
A true juice fast, using a typical cold press juicer will mean you’re consuming very little fibre to support healthy elimination through the bowel, & provide the all-important food to support a healthy gut bacterial population. Fibre also acts like a bit of a sponge – cleaning the digestive system on its way through – so great to leave it in your detox plan. Use a blender rather than a juicer, at least some of the time if using juices in a detox, especially important if using sweet fruits (best left out anyway, focus more on veggies).
6 Your Engine Needs Oil Too.
– Fats! Don’t forget about fats. They are not the villains responsible for disease that we once thought. Fats are so crucial for our brain & nervous system, our gut health, our skin…you can survive ok without them for a while – but long term low fat / no fat diets are not ideal.