60 Day Juice Fast – Healthy, or a Fad Crash Diet?
Looking for a challenge? Because a 60 day juice fast is not for the faint of heart. To answer your question right from the very beginning – yes, it is possible. People have done it and they have had some awesome results.
Is it a good idea though? I am not so sure about that. But if you are convinced that you need a full reboot of your digestive system, I am guessing you want a little more information. Let’s start with some nutrition 101.
Imagine your local bookstore. How many aisles are dedicated to self-help in diet and nutrition? And that is just one little bookstore.
Multiply that by a thousand for all of the resources online. There is no shortness of information and opinions when it comes to nutrition. The only thing we lack is a consensus.
Still – Some Nutrition Basics
Low carb, low fat, or neither?
All organic everything or it doesn’t really matter? Raw veganism or eat all the meat? These are all details. The basics are the same, though. You need three essential macronutrients. I am sorry if this is offensively easy and basic but too many people forget it while dealing with the details.
So, you need protein (protein powder is a great supplement if you’re trying to build muscle—but you need some ‘natural’ proteins in the form of meat, too), carbs, and fat to survive. Period. If you are lacking any of those macronutrients, you will suffer health consequences (no matter how ‘healthy’ your new diet makes you feel).
The trouble with a 60 day juice fast is you will not be getting enough nutrients.
I am not talking about vitamins, I am talking about protein and fat. Fruit and veggies are awesome and you certainly want them in your diet. Sadly, they can’t provide a lot in terms of macronutrients. You will be getting a whole lot of fructose and very little saturated fat. And yes, you need saturated fat to produce hormones among other things.
What’s In A 60 Day Juice Fast?
So you might not be getting enough fat. What will you get enough of? Carbs.
Hold on, hold on.
Carbs are important and they are an awesome energy source. You need them and you need a lot. The conventional food pyramid puts them in the base (although this food pyramid has since been replaced with a more accurate version). Love them or hate them, you need some carbs in your life.
Sadly, the kind of carbohydrates found in fruit is not the kind you want to be consuming all day every day.
Table sugar, saccharose, is made of glucose and fructose. Your cells work on glucose. Under certain conditions, fructose also turns into glucose. Outside the body, this is a fairly easy process. Inside, you will need some enzymes to move things along.
Unfortunately, these enzymes are only available in limited amount. Think about what happens if you eat a bowl full of cherries. Your stomach begins to hurt and you get some digestive trouble. That is because you depleted the enzyme.
The same thing could very easily happen to you on a juice cleanse. Even if you don’t feel it right away you could still be damaging your digestive system – be it through the fructose overload or the lack of fibre.
Yes, but a lot of people still do a long 60-day juice fast and end up loving the experience. Some of the anecdotal benefits include:
- Effortless weight loss
- Less headaches
- More energy and less sluggishness
- Their skin cleared out.
- Improved mood
- Better hair and nails
- Drastically better understanding of what their body needs and wants… Or at least what they thought was understanding.
The trouble with a lot of these is they are very subjective. Unless you track how many headaches you get per week, you can’t really tell if they are getting less. If you have been reading into resources that claim a 60-day juice fast = goodbye headaches, you will believe it.
And since your subconsciousness is a powerful, powerful thing you might as well get some physical results, too.
Yes, but weight loss? This one is not just inside your head. You can see it in the mirror, on the scale, and through the comments of your family, friends, coworkers etc. It is not hard to lose weight on a juice fast. It really isn’t. For most people who start one, they have a lot of unhealthy habits and they want to start clean. If you go from takeaway every day to juices rich in vitamins and low in calories, weight loss is almost guaranteed.
But would you keep the weight off?
Juice Fasting As A Crash Diet
Although there are worse diets out there, juice fasting can climb pretty high on the list of harmful crash diets.
If you do it right, you might as well manage to get all of the nutrients you need. Even if we overlook the nearly certain digestive issues you will get, imagine the inconvenience of a juicing lifestyle.
The complicated logistics make a 60 day juice fast a challenge to complete for obvious reasons.
Chances are you will fall off the band wagon pretty fast. If you don’t want to be a quitter you will end up having much fewer calories and nutrients than you are supposed to. I mean, there are some decent juicing plans out there but come week three you need exceptional motivation to follow through with the complicated recipes.
Because a 60 day juice fast is a challenge with a clear deadline, you are very likely to finish it. In that sense, yes, it is possible. This is something called the Zegarnik effect. Your brain wants you to finish what you started. On the other hand, the procrastination monkey in you is too lazy/busy to prepare the juices right. That is assuming that you even have a plan (which might still not be enough to feed you right).
At the end, it is starving yourself to lose weight. That is what I call a crash diet.
What Happens After A Juice Fast
Obviously, you can’t break the fast with your favorite greasy fast food. This is guaranteed to cause you some pretty nasty stomach issues. Generally, people start with smoothies and easy to digest foods then slowly move on to solid options. It is almost as though you are recovering from a stomach virus.
It will take up you up to a week to get back to a normal diet. You might experience some nasty symptoms along the way because you will be much more sensitive to food.
But what about the weight loss?
Statistically speaking, you are not very likely to keep the weight off. 99% of crash dieters pile what they lost back on. The odds for juice fasters are even lower because depriving yourself like that can unlock a plethora of unhealthy eating behaviors.
For one, binge eating is a huge issue after you go through a challenging diet (be it a juice fast, a very low-calorie diet, or anything else that is extremely out of the ordinary for you). It might seem counter intuitive.
Aren’t you doing a juice fast to eliminate cravings?
There are a lot of issues that can cause eating disorders but depriving yourself is one of the easy ways to get one. If you are susceptible to disordered eating, ‘challenges’ like a long juice fast can put you in that dangerous mindset pretty quickly.
What To Do Instead Of A Juice Cleanse?
A juice fast can be beneficial but it should definitely be shorter. There are a lot of benefits to juicing which you can reap by doing 3-5 days. The wise thing to do would be to start off by incorporating green juices into your diet. Try to include more veggies with a bit of fruit for flavor. This way you will avoid the fructose overload while still getting your 5 a day.
It might not be exciting and radical advice but your best bet is starting small.
I know people look into extreme juice fasts because they need a fresh start. We all want to push a button and have our problems solved. However, if you are looking for a long-term safe and sustainable result you can’t achieve that through quick fixes.
Baby steps will take you further away than expected. So instead of a 60 day juice fast do 60 days where you have a juice every morning. Play around with recipes. Find what you love. Research and get a nice juicer (we have an article to help you with that). Over time this will train your body to love the taste of veggies. Eventually, you begin craving what you feed yourself and unhealthy food will become less appealing.
This way you can create a lasting habit of healthy living, instead of restricting yourself for 60 days and falling right back into your old habits.
Do you have any tips for starting a healthy lifestyle? We’d love to hear them in the comments below.
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