Juice fasting

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Freshly-juiced kale, wheat grass, cauliflower, broccoli, carrot, apple, and lemon juice.

Juice fasting, also known as juice cleansing, is a controversial fasting method and a detox diet in which a person consumes only fruit and vegetable juices to obtain nutrition while otherwise abstaining from food consumption. Juice fasts may last anywhere from a few days to several weeks.

Reasons for fasting[edit]

Reasons to undergo juice fasting may include spiritual or religious reasons, alleged detoxification, a desire to lose weight, or attempts to stop habitual behavior such as smoking, drinking soda, overeating, or caffeine addiction. Participants may use juice fasting as an alternative medicine. Participants may believe juice fasting will cure chronic pain, cancer, depression, arthritis, severe infections that resisted antibiotics, autoimmune diseases, and many other diseases.[1] One reason for juice fasting is to assist with other methods of gallstone passage.[2] Others choose juice fasting because they believe they can focus on healing specific organs and systems.


Some practitioners fast bi-annually in week-long (or longer) periods to attempt to purify the body in synchronization with what they believe to be annual cycles of nature.[citation needed] Fasts may even involve retreats and travel, such as with popular week-long spa-resort style trips to Thailand.

Because pure juice contains little to no fiber, juice fasters may use enemas or herbal or saltwater laxatives during the time of fasting to efficiently expel waste from the intestines and colon. Another method to achieve this effect involves mixing psyllium husks in with the juice. Because psyllium is not absorbed by the body, but greatly increases in volume upon water absorption, it creates the bulk necessary to facilitate evacuation.[3]

To avoid excess sugar and maintain a high nutrient value juices should contain a healthy proportion of 80% vegetables to 20% fruits. The maximum shelf life of a juice is 72 hours and consuming it within that period is highly encouraged.[4]


In a reduced-calorie study, participants juice-fasted for one week without limitation of physical activity. The study demonstrated a temporary reduction in total free cholesterol. However it was also noted that within a week of ending the fast cholesterol had returned to prefast levels.[5]

A systematic review of three randomized controlled clinical trials of fasting published in the Journal of American of Clinical Nutrition in 2015 concluded, "Clinical research studies of fasting with robust designs and high levels of clinical evidence are sparse in the literature. Whereas the few randomized controlled trials and observational clinical outcomes studies support the existence of a health benefit from fasting, substantial further research in humans is needed before the use of fasting as a health intervention can be recommended."[6]

Possible side effects[edit]

Fasters should take care to maintain their intake of vitamins and nutrients during fasting, though no specific side effects are associated exclusively with juice fasting. Juice mixes containing grapefruit juice may also adversely interact with certain prescription drugs.[7]


Because of the low sodium content of most fruits and vegetables, salt deficiency may occur. Salt deficiency causes headaches and weakness, then light-headedness, then nausea.[8]

As a detox diet[edit]

Scientists, dietitians, and doctors regard detox diets as less effective than water-fasting, and hence a waste of money.[9] Catherine Collins, Chief Dietician of St George's Hospital Medical School in London, England, states that "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 2 to 7 day period can have a long-lasting benefit for the body is also a marketing myth."[9] Detox diets, depending on the type and duration, are viewed as potentially dangerous and can cause various health problems including muscle loss and an unhealthy re-gaining of fat after the detox ends.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Foster, Cynthia (2003). "Medical Doctor Explains How To Do A Juice Fast". Dr. Foster's Essentials. Retrieved 2006-03-22. 
  2. ^ Kotkas, L. J. (1985), "Spontaneous passage of gallstones", Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, Royal Society of Medicine Press, 78: 971, PMC 1290021Freely accessible, PMID 20894606 
  3. ^ "Healing Weightloss Detoxification". Fasting.ws. Retrieved 2012-02-25. 
  4. ^ "To Juice Fast or to Juice Feast?". Retrieved 2016-05-21. 
  5. ^ Huber Nauck; Lüdtke Scharnagl (February 10, 2003). "Effects of one week juice fasting on lipid metabolism: a cohort study in healthy subjects.". Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd. 10: 7–10. doi:10.1159/000069901. PMID 12624474. 
  6. ^ Horne, Benjamin D.; Muhlestein, Joseph B.; Anderson, Jeffrey L. (2015-08-01). "Health effects of intermittent fasting: hormesis or harm? A systematic review". The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 102 (2): 464–470. doi:10.3945/ajcn.115.109553. ISSN 1938-3207. PMID 26135345. 
  7. ^ "Grapefruit Juice and Some Oral Drugs: a Bitter Combination". Nutrition Bytes (UCLA). 1999. Retrieved 2009-05-04. 
  8. ^ Mark Kurlansky, Salt: A World History, (Penguin Books, 2002) p.9.
  9. ^ a b Debunking detox
  10. ^ The Truth About Detox Diets