7 Reasons Why You Should Not Do a Cleansing Fast
The master cleanse, juice fasting, detoxing, or juice cleansing. No matter what trendy term you apply to it, these weight loss fads are not the amazing way to lose weight and detox or purify yourself that bloggers describe them to be. Your body is perfectly capable of losing weight and purifying itself if you give it the right fuel, which is definitely not an unrelieved diet of liquified fruit and vegetables.
Let’s look at some of the reasons liquid diets and juice cleanses are problematic.
- Your body needs protein. Protein doesn’t just help you feel full and satisfied — it prevents your body from consuming its own muscle tissue when calories are scarce. Nobody wants to lose their muscles, and you also need those essential amino acids for things like tissue repair and immune function. Juicing and other diets that lack protein won’t suffice to supply them.
- Your body needs fiber. Fiber helps keep you full and satisfied. It helps your intestines flush out toxins by absorbing and transporting them, and prevents the toxins from being reabsorbed in the colon. Dietary fiber also absorbs excess cholesterol that’s excreted by your liver into the intestines. Without dietary fiber, the cholesterol your body is trying to eliminate gets reabsorbed. For example, oatmeal can legally display a “heart healthy” seal because research studies prove its cholesterol lowering ability, and other cereals with more fiber (like our iDiet hot cereal recipe [link], which mixes oatmeal and wheat bran) probably do an even better job.
- Intact vegetables and fruits are better than juice. Chewing helps you feel more satisfied by your meal, helps you eat more slowly and mindfully, and the fiber in vegetables and fruits also helps you feel full and happy, as well as helping to keep your intestines working correctly.
- Real food is cheaper — and more filling and satisfying — than juice. You can certainly treat yourself with occasional juices and smoothies to get all those exotic ingredients into your body, if you like them, but as the sole source of calories, it can get really expensive.
- Rapid weight loss is bad for the body, and tends to backfire. When you deny yourself food — not only the things you crave, but the permission to chew and swallow anything at all, you increase the chances you’ll want to binge once the fast is over.
- You’ll likely feel really bad — at least for a while. And who has time for that? Aside from the obvious hunger and irritability, people often report headaches, lack of energy, physical weakness, lightheadedness, moodiness, confusion, brain fog, difficulty making decisions, and reduced reaction time. You may not even feel safe to drive. With all that going on, would you be able to keep up at work? To enjoy your weekend? Do you really want to spend your life oscillating between fasting and overdoing it?
- Your body is already a detoxing machine. Your liver, kidneys, intestines, lungs, and skin are all designed to remove waste products, pollutants and other bad substances, and they are working 24/7 to keep you healthy. If you want to make their job easier, eat fresh, clean, healthy whole foods, eat the recommended daily amounts of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and skip the junk foods, unpronounceable chemical ingredients, and added sugar that are too often a part of our daily food landscape.
It’s not that fasting per se is always terrible — in fact iDiet offers the option of a 2-day modified fast as part of its Advance training. Some people find it very helpful for getting cravings under better control. But it is not a liquid fast — it includes protein and fiber, and we pay great attention to preventing harms such as muscle loss while you do it.
An occasional modified fast with a careful menu that includes proteins, fruits and vegetables is one thing, but prolonged, low protein liquid programs are just bad news all around.
There’s no need to torture yourself to feel and look better. You can eat well, lose weight and save money while not feeling like you are on a ‘diet’. Download our free cookbook for some filling, low-calorie ideas, try some of the great diet-friendly recipes on our site, or join a hunger-free group class right here to learn more about weight loss and nutrition, and get friendly support towards your goal.
Deciding to lose weight and have more energy is a great — and achievable — goal. Doing it in ways that are healthy and sustainable is the smart way to succeed.
Choose the program that’s right for you.