Juice Cleanse vs. Water Fast: Which One Is Better?

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Juice Cleanse vs. Water Fast: Which One Is Better?

Fasting is a health practice thousands of years old that involves abstaining from eating and drinking to lose weight, improve focus, or reap several other health benefits. 

There are different methods of fasting, like juice fasts (also called juice cleanses), water fasting, and intermittent fasting, all of which have seen rebirths in the modern age. 

Let’s focus on juice and water fasts and discuss the unique benefits, risks, and considerations. You're in the right place if you consider trying one. Keep reading to learn how juice fasts and water fasts stack up.

How Does Fasting Work? 

When you abstain from food, your body enters a state of ketosis, burning stored fat for energy. The practice also triggers autophagy, a biological “recycling” phase that forces your body to optimize its current nutrient and energy stores, focus on cellular “junk” removal and put your delicate DNA strands in a more protected state from outside threats.

Fasting can strengthen your immunity and increase your energy levels, with ongoing research suggesting it can promote a sharper mind, leaner body, and longer lifespan.

What Is a Juice Fast?

You consume only fresh vegetable and fruit juices during a juice fast, meaning no solid foods or stimulants. Juices can purify and detoxify your body by allowing it to gently purge itself without going hungry. 

For the best results, look for a certified organic cleanse containing pure, cold-pressed juice without cooking or freezing, which destroys the delicate juice. Conventional juices might contain chemical pesticides and fertilizers that harm your body.

Also, prepare for your juice fast by cutting out processed food and upping your water intake in the days leading up to your cleanse. This will help you achieve the best results. After your juice cleanses, work on gradually reintroducing clean, nutritious foods.

What Is a Water Fast?

Water fasting involves abstaining from all food and beverages except water. This forces your body to rely on stored fat for energy, which can aid in short-term weight loss. A water fast can support detoxification and cellular repair. 

Ketosis, the process of burning excess fat, kicks in within the first 24 hours, usually resulting in more immediate weight loss, though it’s primarily water weight. Meanwhile, unburdened with digestion, your organs can rest, and inflammatory diseases will slow. The NCBI suggests that water fasts may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular illnesses and diabetes.

However, water fasting may only be suitable for some since depleting your body of nutrients can provoke fatigue, dizziness, and electrolyte imbalances.

Juice Fasting vs. Water Fasting: How Do They Compare?

Both juice and water fasting can promote detoxification, although the methods differ in some areas. Let’s see how they compare in the following areas:

  • Bodily processes: On a water fast, your body reverts to ketosis within a day as you use excess fat for fuel. On a juice cleanse, autophagy will begin within one to two days, recycling unhealthy toxins into clean energy sources. 
  • Calories: A juice cleanse reduces caloric intake and appetite while nourishing your body with essential vitamins, minerals, and adaptogens. During a water fast, you consume zero calories or nutrients. 
  • Cost: A water fast costs nothing compared to a juice fast. However, if you are willing to invest time and money into looking and feeling your best, then you might think that the cost of a high-quality, organic juice cleanse is a small price to pay.
  • Duration: Juice cleanses can last up to 2-5 days in many cases, whereas most water fasts last no longer than 24-48 hours.
  • Energy levels: During a juice cleanse, you can expect increased energy levels and mental clarity. The body resorts to its mammalian responses during this time, restoring dopamine levels and strengthening itself from its state of hormesis.
  • Mood: Although a water fast can be more intense, both types can cause discomfort, irritability, and cravings. Water fasting is more psychologically demanding than a juice cleanse because of the complete absence of calories. With a juice cleanse, it’s possible to enter a state of well-being, lightness, energy, and creative focus. 
  • Nutrients: Water contains zero nutrients, whereas a juice cleanse delivers a wealth of nutrients plus enzymes and healthy prebiotics that have a more positive impact on the gut than just water. This is one of the reasons some people find a juice cleanse to be more comfortable to maintain.
  • Side effects: Some people may experience minor headaches, fatigue, and nausea during a juice cleanse, though these are normal byproducts of your body eliminating unwanted toxins. Meanwhile, the sudden lack of nutrients on a water fast can trigger several physical and mental changes. You may experience tremors, body aches, or diarrhea. 
  • Weight loss: It’s possible to lose weight while doing a juice cleanse or a water fast. While water fasting might lead to quicker results, the methodology is unlikely to be enjoyable or sustainable for most people for very long. 

Health Benefits of a Juice Cleanse

If you want to try your juice cleanse and are curious about its health benefits, here are a few areas where you may see positive results. 

Organ Recovery

Around the 24-hour mark, your body will enter a period known as autophagy.  Your cells break down fats and toxins while repurposing healthy nutrients for energy, allowing the body to focus on cleaning out the cellular junk that accumulates over time at the smallest of scales. 

This enables your organs to focus on restoration rather than keeping up with daily food processing, which is often highly cooked or processed, contaminated with seed oils, chemical residues, PFAS, and many more horrendous toxins in our food supply.

Improved Digestion

Raw juices from certain fruits and vegetables are rich in prebiotics and enzymes that can help grow healthy bacteria and replenish your gut enzymes. 

Modern diets wreak havoc on our digestive systems and microbiome because of the wide prevalence of processed foods and chemical residues. Organic juice can give your body’s enteric nervous system (gut biome) a chance to restore itself, resulting in improved gut function, excellent nutrient absorption, and a more robust immune system. 

Weight Loss

A joyous side effect for many, weight loss is a common byproduct of a juice fast. The caloric deficit and increase in metabolism that generally happens during a fast or cleanse can result in a loss of 1-8 pounds within a few days

While some of that weight loss will be water weight, it still provides some relief from excessive water retention and can have you looking your best sooner. Most importantly, a two- or three-day cleanse will quickly help you establish better dietary habits and set you on a healthier path.