Juice Fasting Diet Plan: Weight Loss, Health Benefits and Risks
What is Juice Fasting?
The idea behind juice fasting is to give the digestive system a break while providing the body with essential nutrients and hydration from the juices. Juice fasting may have some health benefits, including detoxification, weight loss, improved digestion, and potentially even stabilizing blood sugar levels.
Juice fasting involves consuming only freshly squeezed or blended juices from fruits and vegetables while abstaining from solid food for a specific period.
Juices can be homemade or premade and occasionally contain herbs, water, tea, and milk or nut milk. It is often considered a part of a detox diet.
The juices for this diet are prepared by juicing, not blending. When you blend something, the whole part of it remains in the smoothie, including the fibrous part. In contrast, the juicing technique isolates the liquid part of the fruit or vegetable from the pulp and fiber. Hence, fruit or vegetable juices provide more concentrated nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and have a lower fiber level than smoothies.
Foods List to Use
Fruits and Vegetables: Using apples, carrots, peppers, and celery is highly recommended. You can also use room-temperature water to detoxify your organism. Because juice fasting is a way to lose weight quickly, those who require more calories can consume healthy snacks, such as gluten-free meals or vegan food.
Juice fasting is typically built on raw organic juices from fruits and vegetables.
Low-Sugar Fruits: Opt for low-sugar fruits like berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries), green apples, and citrus fruits (lemons, limes) to add flavor and a touch of natural sweetness to your juices.
Celery: Celery is low in calories and rich in hydration, making it a great addition to your juices.
Herbs: Fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro, mint, and basil can infuse your juices with added nutrients and a burst of flavor.
Chia Seeds: Adding a small amount of chia seeds to your juices can provide a source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids and a touch of fiber.
Gluten-free Foods: Juice fasting restricts you from many macronutrients and calories. You can consume gluten-free snacks like whole grains, beans, and legumes if you feel hungry.
Milk Substitutes: Nut milk, such as almond, cashew, or coconut milk, can also be used during juice fasting as an additional source of nutrients. You can drink them in combination with fruit and vegetable juices.
Foods List to Avoid
Juice fasting strictly excludes any solid and processed food products from your diet. You should not use sugar, caffeine, and alcohol, either.
Solid Foods: The cornerstone of juice fasting involves avoiding all solid foods, including grains, proteins, dairy products, and other whole foods.
Processed Foods: Avoid processed foods, including packaged snacks, sugary treats, and convenience foods, as they can interfere with the fasting process and negate potential benefits.
Added Sugars: Avoid any added sugars or sweeteners, such as table sugar, honey, syrups, and artificial sweeteners, as they can spike blood sugar levels and hinder the fasting process.
High-Fat Foods: Foods rich in unhealthy fats, such as fried foods, fatty meats, and oily dishes, should be eliminated to support the detoxification and cleansing goals of juice fasting.
Starchy Vegetables: Skip starchy vegetables like potatoes, corn, and peas, as they can increase carbohydrate intake and interfere with blood sugar regulation.
High-Sugar Fruits: Limit or avoid fruits with high sugar content, such as bananas, grapes, pineapples, and mangoes. These fruits can lead to rapid spikes in blood sugar levels.
Dairy Products: Dairy items like milk, cheese, and yogurt should be excluded from your diet during juice fasting due to their solid nature and potential for disrupting digestion.
Caffeine and Alcohol: Both caffeine and alcohol can dehydrate the body and introduce unnecessary toxins. Avoid coffee, tea, and alcoholic beverages during the fasting period.
Processed Meats: Steer clear of processed meats like sausages, deli meats, and bacon, high in sodium and unhealthy additives.
Condiments and Sauces: Many condiments and sauces contain added sugars, unhealthy fats, and preservatives. Skip items like ketchup, mayonnaise, and commercial salad dressings.
Grains and Cereals: Eliminate grains and cereals, including bread, pasta, rice, and breakfast cereals, to maintain the fasting state.
Nuts and Seeds: While nuts and seeds are nutritious, they are calorie-dense and could interfere with the caloric restriction aspect of juice fasting.
Health Benefits of Juice Fasting
Juice fasting consists of fruits and vegetables packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other healthy nutrients. A 3-day juice fasting has shown a beneficial effect on people: those who followed the diet plan increased their well-being scores (1).
Juice fasting promotes digestive system health by changing bacteria levels in your gut. Researchers have found that a juice-based diet reduced the amounts of Firmicutes and increased quantities of Bacteroides (1). This prevents weight gain usually promoted by Firmicutes.
A juice diet may also help to create beneficial conditions for digestive enzymes. Orange juice, for example, can change the acidity and pH of digestive juices and promote the activity of digestive enzymes (2).
Juice cleanses are often believed to detoxify the organism. Some foods used during juice fasting are detoxifiers, for instance, berries(3) and celery(4). They provide substances that help to eliminate toxins from the body. However, insufficient clinical evidence supports the idea of detoxification (5).
Many people often forget about their daily water intake. Juice fasting is an excellent way to manage fluid intake and reduce dehydration effect.
Juice fasting may lead to weight loss in the short term due to a significant reduction in calorie intake. Since juices are relatively low in calories compared to whole foods, daily caloric intake will likely be reduced, leading to a calorie deficit that can result in weight loss.
According to the study (6), juice fasting has demonstrated positive impacts on weight loss, along with its ability to decrease insulin resistance and bring about favorable changes in leptin and adiponectin levels. Both preclinical and clinical studies have showcased the wide-ranging benefits of intermittent fasting for various conditions, including obesity, type 2 diabetes (T2DM), hypertension, and the enhancement of cardiovascular risk factors.
Health Risks of Juice Fasting
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health warns about the potential risks of juice fasting (7).
Juice fasting is low in calories. Reduced calorie intake may result in symptoms linked to energy deficiency, such as weakness, headaches, hunger, and fainting.
Juices do not usually provide essential proteins and fats for health, especially brain and muscle function. Lack of any nutrients for an extended period may lead to malnourishment.
Some foods used during this diet plan, such as spinach and other leafy greens, are rich in oxalate. A high oxalate intake can cause some kidney problems, including oxalate nephropathy. During this condition, the kidneys do not excrete enough oxalate with urine, which builds kidney stones in your organism.
Fasting Juice Diet Plan
Here you can find a sample plan of 3-day juice fasting. It would be best to consider this a sample menu, and you should consult your doctor before following any diet.
9 a.m.: juice made from 1 apple, two cucumbers, two carrots, six stalks of celery
11 a.m.: juice made from 1 bunch of kale, one bunch of parsley, two cucumbers, and two green apples
1 p.m.: juice made from 1 bunch of kale, one handful of basil, one piece of ginger, five celery stalks, one handful of romaine
3 p.m.: juice made from 2 cucumbers, three dandelion leaves, one lemon, one lime, three celery stalks, a dash of turmeric
6 p.m.: juice made from 2 cucumbers, one handful of parsley, 2 cups of grains, one handful of spinach
8 p.m.: juice made from water, 2 tbsp olive oil, one onion, eight celery sticks, 1tsp sea salt, eight carrots, three slices of ginger root
Juice fasting is a diet plan that includes consuming fruit and vegetable juices and excludes solid food. This cleansing plan may help to detoxify the organism and promote gut health.
However, the practice requires careful consideration, mainly when dealing with complex health conditions like kidney and bacterial infections. While juice fasting may hold promise as a component of a broader health strategy, it's essential to approach it thoughtfully and with proper guidance.