Dear Sasquatch: Juice Fast
My friend is trying to talk me into trying a juice fast diet. She lost like seven pounds on it, and she says it also removes toxins. Should I try it? Does it really work?
If by “work” you mean cause you to lose a bunch of water weight and potentially dehydrate and exhaust you, then yes! It works really well.
People do experience weight loss in the first week of a juice fast, but this occurs primarily because they are excreting more than the usual amount of water. This happens not only because of the obvious—being on a liquid diet—but because of a rapid rebalancing that occurs in the kidneys.
With a juice diet (or any reduced calorie intake, actually), the body’s usual sodium intake is reduced. The kidneys function in part to balance the sodium in the body, so with a drastic decrease in sodium, as occurs in a juice fast, the organs have to go into overdrive, causing you to excrete more water to balance the water in your body with the lower sodium.
But as with any diet, you are likely to regain the weight you lost (and probably more) whether you continue the diet or not. (For more info on why dieting for weight loss generally doesn’t work, see the TS interview with researcher Diana Williams.)
But hey, you might gain the weight back, but think of everything else you might gain along with it: not only fatigue and dehydration, but headaches, constipation, and nausea! So there’s that.
As far as removing toxins, no proponent of these fasts has been able to say what toxins exactly are removed, much less provide any evidence of this. I think they pretty much rely on people noticing that they’re peeing more and assuming that this means all these unspecified nasties are being flushed out.
The truth is, aside from its use with poisoning and drug addiction, detoxification of any kind is pretty much bunk. From diets to skin patches, it’s a multi-million dollar con game. The body’s organs do a fine job of removing toxins every day, and when they fail, people need more than a high-powered juicer or ionic foot bath to resolve the issue (think stomach pump or dialysis).
And no, I’m not just bitter because the foot baths are all too small for me to use. :-/
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