Have you heard a lot about fasting, but aren’t quite sure what the point is? Fasting is a health practice thousands of years old where you abstain from eating & drinking in order to lose weight, improve focus, or reap a number of other health benefits. There are different methods of fasting, like juice cleansing, water fasting, and intermittent fasting, all of which have seen rebirths in the modern age. Today, we’re going to focus on juice fasts and water fasts, and discuss the unique set of benefits, risks, and considerations for each. If you’re thinking about trying one over the other, you’re in the right place – so let’s see how juice fasts and water fasts stack up.
An Introduction to Fasting
History and Evolution of Fasting
Fasting enters the modern age from a long history of cultural and religious practices. In fact, abstaining from food is ingrained in our genetic code, a gift from ancient ancestors who had to endure long periods with few resources. Even as far back as the 5th century BCE, Greek philosophers suggested it contained curative abilities.
Different religions picked up and incorporated fasting into their celebrations, uplifting them as a time of purification and reflection. Think Ramadan, Yom Kippur, or Lent. In our modern world, these traditions have evolved slightly – intermittent fasting is arguably the most widely-known version of this ancient practice. And whether you opt to fast intermittently, with juice, or with water, each can be leveraged to lose weight, boost mental clarity, and improve quality of life.
How Does Fasting Work?
Fasting initiates various physiological and metabolic changes in the body and mind. 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 & energy stores, focus on cellular ‘junk’ removal, and put your delicate DNA strands in a more protected state from outside threats.
Fasting is known to strengthen immunity and increase energy levels, with ongoing research suggesting it can promote a sharper mind, leaner body, and longer lifespan. Many people fast to reduce inflammation and clear their skin, though there are plenty of other fasting benefits which we’ll soon get into.
Juice Fasting (Cleansing)
During a juice fast, only fresh vegetable and fruit juices are consumed, meaning no solid foods or stimulants of any kind. Juices can purify and detoxify the body by allowing it to gently purge itself without going hungry. While fasting with or without juices allows you to detoxify, using juices that contain the world’s most powerful organic plant compounds that humans have exalted for centuries is preferred. At Raw Juicery, we use 100% certified organic cleanses made from the purest ingredients on earth, cold-pressed without cooking or freezing the delicate juices in order to ensure the body can easily do its job. Conventional juices that are not organic will contain chemical pesticides and fertilizers that are banned around the world and do not wash off. Man made chemicals allowed in conventionally grown foods can be counterproductive to any juice fast or cleanse.
There are a number of health benefits associated with juice cleanses, such as:
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, in turn 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 day to day food processing, which is all too often highly cooked or processed, contaminated with seed oils, chemical residues, PFAS, and many more abhorrent toxins found everywhere in our food supply.
Improved digestion – Raw juices from certain fruits & vegetables are rich in prebiotics and enzymes that can help grow healthy bacteria and replenish enzymes in the gut that get depleted from typical western diets. Modern diets wreak havoc on our digestive systems & microbiome because of the wide prevalence of processed foods, chemical residues, and the excessive consumption of overly cooked foods. An organic juice cleanse can give your body’s enteric nervous system (gut biome) a chance to restore itself, resulting in improved gut function, greater nutrient absorption, and a stronger immune system.
Weight loss – A joyous side effect for many, it is very common to experience some weight loss while on a juice fast. The caloric deficit and increase in metabolism that normally happens during a fast or cleanse results on average of 1-8 pounds lost 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 set you on a path to live a healthier lifestyle, quickly align you with your desired dietary habits, which will in turn enable you to hit your long term weight goals faster.
What to Expect While Juice Fasting
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.
Some people may experience minor headaches, fatigue, and nausea during their first cleanse, though these side effects are normal – these are a byproduct of your body eliminating unwanted toxins. However, these unwanted effects can be reduced or eliminated with proper preparation and drinking adequate water throughout the cleanse. On the other hand if all goes well, it’s possible to enter what can only be described as a “flow state.” This feeling happens when your body & mind are more in harmony, leaving you in a state of well-being, lightness, and energetic and creative focus. This, by the way, is how human beings are meant to function when not subjected to unhealthy food and toxins clouding our minds and bodies.
How to Break a Juice Fast
It’s essential to break your juice fast mindfully to prolong its benefits. While your first temptation may be to feast, the following post-cleanse strategies will ensure that you don’t immediately discard your hard work:
–Reintroduce solid foods gradually – Choose nutritious options like raw fruits and vegetables, lots of lean proteins, and healthy fats.
–Eat small portions – Chew slowly to aid digestion and avoid overeating.
–Avoid certain foods – Pretty much anything that comes in a can, box, or bag should be avoided. Avoid vegetable oils, processed sugars, processed grains, and alcohol.
A juice cleanse helps you reconnect with your body, mind, and spirit. Listen to your body’s signals, ease your way back into your exercise routine, and practice mindfulness to enjoy the most health benefits after you fast.
Water fasting involves abstaining from all food and beverages except water. By eliminating all food & all but one liquid from your diet, your body is forced 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 not be right for everyone – depleting your body of nutrients can provoke fatigue, dizziness, and electrolyte imbalances.
What to Expect from Water Fasting
Like a shock to your system, the sudden lack of nutrients on a water fast can trigger several physical & mental changes. You may experience symptoms like tremors, body aches, or diarrhea. Water fasting is also considered more psychologically demanding than juice cleanses, because of the complete absence of calories. This can provoke irritability, anxiety, or intense food cravings.
Experts recommend gradually easing into the fast with a significant reduction in calories (but not entirely) and abstaining from all food & liquid for no more than one to two days. Listen to your body and stop if you develop severe discomfort.
How to End a Water Fast
The best way to end a water fast safely is by gradually reintroducing solid foods. Start with:
–Small meals that are easy to digest – Focus on fruits, lean proteins, olive oil and soups.
–Avoid processed foods and stimulants – You will be much more sensitive to low quality foods, coffee and alcohol. Be careful.
–Drink less water – Contrary to what you might think, water fasting can actually dehydrate you – about 20% of your daily fluid intake comes from the food you eat. Try coconut water or mix a little salt in your water when ending your water fast.
Maintain a balanced diet and regular exercise to sustain the advantages of your fast. You could also incorporate intermittent fasting into a healthy lifestyle to prolong its benefits.
Juice Fasting vs. Water Fasting: How Do They Compare?
A juice cleanse reduces your caloric intake and appetite while continuing to nourish your body with essential vitamins, minerals, and adaptogens. During a water fast, you consume zero calories or nutrients.
On a water fast, your body reverts to ketosis within a day as you use up excess fat for fuel. On the other hand, the nutrients from a juice cleanse kickstarts autophagy within one to two days, recycling unhealthy toxins into clean energy sources. Juice cleanses can last up to 2-5 days in many cases, whereas most water fasts last no longer than 24-48 hours.
Benefits & Risks
Water fasting can lead to quicker weight loss results and the shorter duration may be preferable to some. It also costs next to nothing compared to a juice fast. When abstaining from absolutely everything but water, your entire body has the chance to fully focus on restoration. However, without any nutrients, your risk for fatigue, headaches, dizziness, and possibly dehydration are much higher. So, while participants may like the shorter duration and low cost of water fasting, the methodology won’t likely be enjoyable or sustainable for most people very long.
A juice cleanse is easier and more comfortable to maintain, as you’re not depriving the body of critical essential nutrients. Many users report not feeling hungry at all throughout their juice cleanse. This method promises sustained energy with vitamins and minerals, and also delivers enzymes and healthy prebiotics that have more positive impact to the gut than just water.
Although the risks of a water fast can be far more intense, both types can potentially cause discomfort, irritability, and food cravings if not approached with care. Individuals should choose which one is right for them based on their personal health capabilities, budget, personal goals and medical history. It’s always a good idea to let your health expert know when you're doing either type of fast. The same goes for smoothie cleanses.
Ease of Implementation
Water fasting may be cheap, or even free, but complete abstinence from nutrients will make it more challenging for most. However, some people like to challenge themselves and see the additional suffering of a water fast as a personal growth tactic. While we totally respect that, the lack of caloric intake can also lead to increased risks, such as uncomfortable hunger and fatigue for a lot of people.
A juice cleanse is generally easier to implement, with more than 82% of users reporting never feeling hungry on the juices. The tastes will be more interesting and you'll be ingesting powerful plant compounds, virtually guaranteeing a more enjoyable and impactful experience than with water alone. Raw Juicery helps to cut down on any hesitations by offering a variety of certified organic flavors, strict adherence to the highest quality standards, free 1-day shipping, tons of guidance, and even encouraging text reminders to keep you accountable and motivated.
If you think you’re ready to reap the many benefits of a fast and have decided that a juice cleanse is the best option for you, you can order ours here.