Liquid Diets and Juice Fasting
Liquid 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.
- Medifast: A couple meals a day are replaced with nutritionally formulated shakes.
- 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
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.
- 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