There are many diet programs out there claiming to help people lose weight rapidly through a juice-only regimen. While there are many flavors available, the basic idea is to eat nothing and drink only fruit juice of some kind for days at a time.
Variations on this theme include the length of time the diet must be followed, the type of juice that may be consumed and whether or not vegetable juice is also allowable. Regardless, the juice diet is more of a fast than an actual diet program.
There are as many dangers associated with the program as there are programs available. A liquid diet of any kind is almost never healthy. For days at a time, people are encouraged to cut carbohydrates, fats, proteins and vital nutrients out of their diets. On a daily basis, the body uses these things for fuel, growth, repair, and manufacture of enzymes and hormones, among other things. A diet without regard for this simple fact is not a healthy one.
Furthermore, suddenly cutting food groups out of the diet causes the body to respond viciously with headaches, mood swings, nausea and other unpleasant sensations. Dieters are encouraged to stick these out, or they are even justified by labeling them as side effects of toxins being eliminated due to the diet. The fact remains, however, that pain is the body’s primary signal to us that something is wrong.
Secondly, drinking nothing but juice results in a drastic reduction in calories. The human body requires a certain number of calories per day in order to survive. This magic number is called the Basal Metabolic Rate, or BMR, and varies from person to person. It depends on a number of factors, such as age, height, and gender.
This is because the BMR is the number of calories the body needs to breathe, digest, eliminate, and perform other vital functions. In other words, if we were to sit perfectly still all day and do nothing at all, our bodies would still require between twelve hundred and two thousand calories, depending on, for example, how tall we are. To explain this, think of the heart muscle pumping away all day to get blood to the brain. In a taller person, the heart has to pump harder to counter the effects of gravity.
Now imagine that we do not provide our bodies with enough calories to get all its work done. The body would be unable to breathe, digest food, or pump blood. This is what is promoted by severe low calorie diets such as juice fasts. When the body senses that enough calories are not being taken in, its defense mechanism is to drastically slow down its metabolic reactions in a desperate attempt to conserve energy.
Depending on how long the diet lasts or how many times it is repeated, dieters could be putting real stress on their internal organs, which could eventually lead to failure. The diet also precludes a healthy activity level. If the body does not have enough fuel to breathe, it certainly cannot handle exercise, no matter how gentle it is.
And finally, the fruit juice diet is simply not worth the effort of the possibility of damage to our bodies. The rapid weight loss that occurs is almost certainly due to water loss. Most people who resume their normal eating habits immediately regain the weight that was initially lost. Very little actual fat is lost during a juice fast since the body practically shuts down its metabolic activity, and this includes fat burning. In conclusion, fruit juice diets are unhealthy and useless.