Liquid Diets and Juice Fasting

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)

juice-dietLiquid Diets (or Juice Fasting) are used for a number of reasons – including detox and weight loss.

A liquid diet consists of juices, shakes, soups, or any other non-solid food replacing every meal.

Nutritionally these diets are usually lacking essential macronutrients and are low in calories. However, vegetable and fruit based liquid diets will be rich in vitamins and minerals and cancer-fighting phytochemicals.

Liquid diets can also be used by people who can’t chew solid food because of medical reasons.

Liquid Diet for Weight Loss?

Liquid diets can promote weight loss because they are usually very low in calories. However, usually the weight is regained after the diet because dieters return to their old eating habits.

A Juice Fast is used more for detoxifying purposes and should not be used as a weight loss technique because your body could actually be breaking down muscle tissue because of the lack of protein in juices.

It is better to eat the fruit and vegetables whole and therefore gain the fiber, which lowers fruit’s glycemic index and is more beneficial to the body.

Medically Supervised Liquid Diets

There are medically supervised diet plans that have a large liquid component and rely on Meal Replacement Products (or MRP’s).

This is a general term describing products that have a full range of nutrients in them. Most of these are in powder form and when mixed with water or milk provide a liquid-based meal.

  1. Medifast: A couple meals a day are replaced with nutritionally formulated shakes.
  2. Optifast: 12 weeks on their all liquid diet and then they gradually transition dieters to solid foods.

Generally these (expensive) programs will cause quick weight loss – but they are not sustainable as a lifestyle and are designed for people with more than 50 pounds to lose.

Juice Fasting Benefits

juice-fast

It may be beneficial to include vegetable and fruit juices in your diet – but not as a complete replacement of solid food for extended periods of time.

However, a short juice fast is reported to have some health benefits:

  • Removes toxins from the body.
  • Can improve complexion and skin health.
  • Can jumpstart weight loss.
  • Juices are high in vitamins and antioxidants.
  • Alleiviates arthritis symptoms. src

The Jump Start Juicer System is a popular juice fast diet used by many.

A number of people use a tonic or juice supplement in their diet to provide essential vitamins and minerals, but there isn’t scientific evidence that these products are worth the money.

You should not go beyond a one day juice fast without first consulting your doctor.

Smoothies are Better

Using a high powered blender to make smoothies is a better option for liquid diets than just using fruit juices. Smoothies are made using the whole fruit or vegetable, therefore, all of the fiber and micronutrients in the fruit and vegetables are retained.

There are countless fruit and vegetable combinations that can be experimented with and it can be fun developing a smoothie recipe that you like the best.

Not Healthy For the Long Term

Periodic juice fasting and liquid diets can be beneficial for use during short periods of time or for those that can’t chew solid food. However, because they can be both nutritionally and calorie deficient, care should be used when starting one.

A better approach would be to remove processed foods from the diet and consume one fruit and vegetable smoothie a day, in addition to portion controlled meals that are mainly vegetable based.

    References:

  • Brown, M. R., Klish, W. J., Hollander, J., Campbell, M. A., & Forbes, G. B. (1983). A high protein, low calorie liquid diet in the treatment of very obese adolescents: long-term effect on lean body mass. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 38(1), 20-31. link
  • Bryner, R. W., Ullrich, I. H., Sauers, J., Donley, D., Hornsby, G., Kolar, M., & Yeater, R. (1999). Effects of resistance vs. aerobic training combined with an 800 calorie liquid diet on lean body mass and resting metabolic rate. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 18(2), 115-121. link
  • McDougall, J., Bruce, B., Spiller, G., Westerdahl, J., & McDougall, M. (2002). Effects of a very low-fat, vegan diet in subjects with rheumatoid arthritis. The Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine, 8(1), 71-75. link
 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
Last Reviewed: December 11, 2014. Disclaimer

90 Comments

  1. Stephanie Hudson

    I would like some juice recipes for weight loss

    Reply
  2. Danielle

    I’ve just started this diet to lose about 10 pounds but I’m worried. Everyone is saying how you’ll just gain all of the weight back on as soon as you start eating again. What I was wondering was what if you exercised during and after the diet. Would that stop you from gaining weight in fat?

    Reply
    • ted

      @Danielle, That would help as well as cutting back your portion sizes/calorie intake after the fast. Just be careful doing too much exercise on the fast because of the very low calorie intake.

      Reply
  3. sarah

    Miranda,

    Honestly I’ve been in cheerleading since i was 3 years old i am 19 years old now. I stopped cheering and dancing at 18yrs. I have always done competitive cheer i have done school cheer for a year and i was in 8th grade. But anyways i don’t know who’s telling you that you need to lose weight but they are completely wrong. You are a perfect size especially for your age. And the girl Megan.. Well she doesn’t weigh enough. She weighs less then what she should be weighing. Well i hope you learn something but if not i tried. A better thing to do ask your doctor.

    Reply
  4. Megan

    Miranda,
    There is nothing wrong with wanting to lose some weight for your cheerleading. Your weight does seem a little much for 8th grade, but you havent included your height so its hard to judge. I am 5’5 and am 19 years old and weigh 110 lbs.
    If you want to lose weight healthily (if thats a word), I would recommend counting calories. Eat lots of raw fruits and veggies, and lean protein, like skinless chicken breast for protein. Nuts are good for protein, but have more calories. and dont forget to drink LOTS of water.
    If I were you, i would start with about 1500 calories since you are probably fairly active. If you arent achieving weight loss, cut back to 1200 calories. Dont go any lower than 800 calories, otherwise your body goes into starvation mode and will hold on to every calorie you eat.

    Reply
  5. shil

    hi, i m 70 kgs with the height 4.10′ .my age is 25.how should i loss my weight . should i follow dite, but i don’t eat a lot .it’s routine dite like others have .please suggest something i m too much depressed due to this problem.

    Reply
  6. Cynt

    In response to annonymous, this isn’t a fad diet. It’s main purpose is detoxification. If you know what you are doing, do your research, and consult a physician you are not endangering your health or life. It is only dangerous if you do not consume need nutrition, calories, etc. (just like any other diet). It doesn’t matter if you eat or drink your nutrition. Don’t be scared into think you’ll die. Just do your research.

    Reply
  7. Archna

    Hi it is my first day of this liquid diet…. i have no sugars in my drinks at all although i do have two glasses of milk in the afternoon and will have a carrot and brockli soup/jiuce later this evening with will help me maintain the vitamins my body needs…. i think i am doing the right thing…. i have also read up on the green tea and colon cleanser stuff – might gve it a go and see what happens…. any comments or suggestions will be kindly recieved

    Reply
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