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Juice Fasting: Pointless Waste of Time and Money

Posted May 13, 2011 by

This article may prove to be controversial, but this is a topic that I can’t stay quiet about any longer and it’s time to blow the lid off this thing. All over the nation, and in Orange County in particular, the trend of “juice fasting” is becoming mainstream and millions of dollars are being spent each year on detoxifying the body through a nutrition plan that consists of juices made from fruits and vegetables. These systems (at least in Orange County) typically cost between $50 and $300, depending on the company you go through and how many days you perform the cleanse for. It all sounds fine and dandy (albeit, a bit expensive) right? So what the heck’s my problem then?

My problem, simply put, is that juice fasting is completely pointless, and the industry behind it is a complete scam. First, let’s look at the claims made by typical juice fasting companies.

  • Juice fasts are a safe and easy way to lose weight
  • Juice fasts “detox” the body by removing poisons and toxins
  • You know juice fasting works because it makes you feel more alert and energetic after a few days of “detoxing”
  • Juice fasts improve your mood
  • You know juice fasting works because you start to stink after a couple days, proving you’re “releasing toxins”
  • Juice fasts give you better digestion and cleans your intestinal tract (specifically, your colon)
  • Juice fasts “alkalize” the body
  • Juice fasts boost your immune system
  • Juice fasts improve thyroid function, reverse signs of aging and alleviates allergies

Let’s go down the line. The claim that “juice fasts are a safe and easy way to lose weight” is simply a misrepresentation of weight loss—a parlor trick of sorts, if you will.  Juice fasting typically lasts 7-10 days… just enough time for our bodies to rid themselves of all the water weight we hold within our muscles and subcutaneous fat stores. Water is stored within muscle alongside glycogen, which is the body’s storage mechanism for blood sugar. As we use up the glycogen stores, our body drops the water weight unless we replenish the stores with more glycogen. A great way to use up all our glycogen is to eat a very low calorie diet, since this almost certainly means we will eat few carbohydrates as well. Juice fasts are incredibly low-calorie, so what happens is the glycogen is used up over 3-4 days, all the water weight is dropped over the next 2-3 days and viola, you just lost 10 lbs thanks to the juice fast! The weight you lost is pure water weight (and probably some muscle, since you’re eating next to no protein), so is that really all that meaningful? No, it’s not, and the second you go back to eating normally again you will immediately gain all that weight back, since your body will once again replenish its glycogen (and consequently its water) stores. Final verdict: total misrepresentation of the facts.

The next claim is one of my favorites, and is touted by many alternative medicine practitioners: juice fasting “detoxes” the body, removing poisons and toxins in the process. The simple existence of our kidneys and liver prove this notion to be completely false. Historically speaking, our lives were much more prone to infection, disease and poisoning during our evolutionary years, due to sleeping outdoors, eating food off the ground that may or may not have been rotten or contaminated with parasites, having a lack of modern medicine to treat internal infections, etc. We evolved over millions of years to deal with these issues through our body’s own defense mechanisms. With regards to toxins and poisons within our bodies, the purpose of the liver and kidneys is to filter the byproducts of our metabolism of food and drink and excrete any toxins via the urine. In other words, we have extremely complex organs that were developed by nature over hundreds of millions of years with the SPECIFIC purpose of detoxifying our bodies, so the idea that drinking some juice is going to do a better job than our own organs is ludicrous. Final verdict: totally pointless misunderstanding of biology.

The next two claims go hand in hand. That you feel energetic and begin to have stank breath and body odor after the first few days is touted as proof that juice cleanses work. As nice as it may be to fantasize that this is in fact proof, all this is proof of is that your body is in a state of ketosis (a biological process that is VERY WELL understood by the scientific community). One of the common side effects of ketosis is putrid breath and bodily odor.  Talk to anyone who has done the Atkins Diet and they can confirm that they experienced the exact same stinkiness. As for the newfound energy, all this is is a combination of relative change and placebo effect. Because you feel so crappy the first couple days due to your brain still attempting to function on glucose even though you’re not fueling your body with enough carbs or protein to supply that glucose, when you finally switch over to burning ketones for fuel (from your fat storage), you feel so much better than you did during the crappy stage that you think you’re even more energetic than normal. Truthfully, you’re simply back to your original level of energy. Final verdict: utterly misunderstood nonsense.

The idea that juice fasts (or any other form of detoxing) improves digestion and cleans the small intestines and colon demonstrates an incredible lack of understanding of our digestive system. In response, I would first offer the argument, who do you think knows more about the small intestine and colon—a surgeon, who regularly operates on said organs, or some hippy who spent more time in high school biology class hitting the bong than paying attention to the material? I’d then point out that surgeons all agree that the small intestines and colon clean themselves, and that fecal matter doesn’t “stick to the side of the intestinal wall” as is usually claimed by these juice fasting and other detox companies. Ironically enough, one substance that IS known to improve digestion and help ferry toxins and carcinogens through the digestive system is fiber—which is all but eliminated in these juice cleanses since all the pulp of the vegetables and fruits is discarded! Final verdict: pure BULLSHIT.

I don’t know who started the whole alkalizing theory but it is such a crock of baloney that it incenses me every time I hear about it. Foods you eat do not change your blood’s pH, and this has been proven by scientific studies over and over again. Not only can they not change your blood’s pH, but you wouldn’t WANT them to, because to do so could cause violent sickness and/or death. Our organs are designed to function under a very narrow pH range and we have mechanisms in place to bring our body back to equilibrium in the event that something happens to raise or lower the pH. This is critical to our survival, so the idea that we should attempt to override this vital security system by drinking some vegetable juice is pure idiocy. Final verdict: fabricated pseudo-science.

The final two points (that juice fasts boost the immune system and that they improve a variety of bodily functions) are always claimed by these companies, yet have never been scientifically measured or proven, so I see no reason to take these claims seriously. I might as well say that a juice cleanse increases your ability to communicate with the netherworld… a completely baseless claim without scientific backing. Just SAYING something is the case doesn’t make it so, and thus, I would challenge those who claim this to explain how they came to this conclusion. Don’t worry, I’ll wait. Final verdict: baseless speculation.

My final verdict on the matter is that juice cleanses are a complete and total scam, and that anyone who partakes in the business of selling them is ignorant about their own product at best, and a slimy, unethical snake oil salesman at worst and should be publicly exposed for their BS and probably fined and/or jailed for participating in a scam that misinforms the public and can put people’s health in danger while touting their products as “healthy lifestyle alternatives.” Remember, the time tested and proven method to healthy weight loss and overall bodily health is to eat a well-balanced, nutrient-dense diet and to partake in regular exercise, and that’s all there is to it! I’m all for eating tons of vegetables and a moderate amount of fruits (which ARE critical to your overall health) but only if you eat them in their whole state and as part of a complete diet. Don’t believe the QUACKS, and instead use the ridiculous amount of money you’d be throwing away on these pointless scams to buy healthy food, join a fitness program or heck, pay off your credit card!

Here are some links to back up my position:

  1. Scientists agree detoxes are pointless
  2. There’s no way to measure “improved immune function”
  3. Detoxes of all sorts are quackery and can even result in bodily harm
  4. Scientists call detox fad a waste of money
  5. Alkaline diets are fiction
  6. Alkaline theory of disease is nonsense

Comments on Juice Fasting: Pointless Waste of Time and Money »

  1. Jason Wollam

    I stumbled across your article while doing some research for my own juice fast of which the only money I will be spending is on the juicer and the fruits and vegetables for which I will replacing my standard diet for. I think you do have a great understanding of human physiology and are representing the physical biochemistry and resulting temporary weight loss correctly however I want to impart to you my reasons for taking part in the juice fast phenomena which needless to say is not to loose weight but to become overall healthier.

    Please understand that the facts I am giving here all based on my limited understanding of human physiology as I was one of those hippies smoking pot instead of going to biology class.

    As I understand it, at the very basis of human physiology, all of the interactions our body experiences to the various carbohydrates, starches and fats we consume are controlled by the brain. The brain based on feedback from different organs releases different combinations of amino acids that bind to their appropriate receptors instructing the body how to react to the fuel we have provided it. One of the very common amino acids for example is Tryptophan which is the precursor to Serotonin. I use Tryptophan as an example because it’s reported on commonly during Thanksgiving every year as the reason we want to take a nap after Thanksgiving diner.

    Now the problem is that as we get older our brain much like our eating habits become wired to the diet we are used to consuming thereby if we consume a diet rich in fat than our brain becomes wired to produce amino acids to instruct our body how to only handle fatty foods. Even if we occasionally eat healthy it has no effect on us biochemically because our brain is not wired to release the necessary amino acids to instruct our body to properly handle the new vitamins and minerals we are consuming and they are just flushed out with the rest of the waste. Hence the term reset.

    If you properly perform a juice fast you are actually not consuming less calories you are consuming the same amount of calories however you are consuming them from a different source or diet than your body and brain is used to handling. Thereby resetting the nuerons in your brain to release a different combination of amino acids to handle the nutrient rich diet you are now providing it.

    This whole process is not something you can achieve in a few weeks. In fact every nutritionalist I have read has stated a proper juice fast and micro-nutrient reset should be done over the course of 30 to 60 days with proper medical supervision. The resulting loss of weight as I see it is actually not due to a lack calories but due to the lack of calories our body is used to handling as it adjusts to how to properly store and use the nutrient rich food you are replacing it with.

    So that’s the way I understand it and I hope to be able to revisit this blog in a few months and tell you I was successful in my juice fast and am healthier than ever.

  2. Jason, thanks for your comment. However, you’re demonstrating a severely misinformed understanding of the human body. Our brains do not “release” amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and are USED by our bodies (both our brain and our organs) for everything from building/repairing muscle to developing neurotransmitters that affect our mood and behavior. So, as such, the majority of your comment is completely meaningless. However I will still attempt to respond to what I can.

    You mention “carbohydrates, starches and fats” as the things our brains react to when ingested, but there’s a few problems with this. Firstly, starches are carbs. And NONE of those three contain or create amino acids. Protein is made of amino acids. Carbs are made of sugar. Fats are made of fatty acids. Our brain uses amino acids, sugars and fatty acids for various processes, as do our bodies. Our liver uses glycogen for energy production, as do our muscles. Our brain uses fatty acids for a huge variety of processes including organ function and hormone production; in fact fatty acids are critical to human life and we will die quickly if we don’t eat any of them for an extended period of time.

    The main reason you get tired after Thanksgiving has nothing to do with Tryptophan (an amino acid, that comes FROM protein, not your brain, and PRODUCES serotonin in the brain which actually makes you happy and calm, not tired). Serotonin is a precursor of melotonin, the neurotransmitter you are talking about when you refer to the sleepy effect.

    I (and many other health-minded folk) eat a ton of turkey year round. Why don’t we experience the same effects as on Thanksgiving? Well, because the reason you get tired on Thanksgiving is because you wake up, eat an absolutely ENORMOUS amount of carbs, sugar and fat in the form of Thanksgiving feast, and drink a bunch of wine and alcohol. You are having a glorified food coma, that’s all. If you forgo the alcohol, pie, stuffing, bread, mashed potatoes, etc and just ate a portion-controlled amount of turkey and veggies, for instance (you could even eat a large serving of turkey actually) you would more than likely hardly feel tired at all.

    As for your point about our brains becoming hard-wired over time to preferentially function only with specific macronutrients based on our diet, I am sorry but this is complete unsupported nonsense, and doesn’t even make any sense. I am not sure if some homeopathic quack told you this or if you read it in some juicing manual, but it is absolutely unfounded. This is one major reason it’s important to double check information given to you with proper research. I am confident you will find nothing that supports the idea that our brains and bodies stop responding to different food sources because they are “used” to getting another form.

    When you’re juicing, you’re getting way fewer calories. You are drinking 6 juices that are about 100 calories a piece, contain no protein or fiber and are pretty much pure sugar. Calories are important, but so is a wide variety of micronutrients and a healthy balance of macronutrients. 600 daily calories of glorified sugar water isn’t going to cut it. It’s not a nutrient rich diet, that’s what you would get if you ate a well-balanced diet of a variety of whole foods.

    Also, I seriously doubt that any LICENSED nutritionist has ever recommended a juice fast for any reason, so whatever “nutritionists” you’ve been reading about are either liars or you misunderstood their title.

    I agree with you that temporarily switching to healthy food won’t do jack for you. However, that includes any of these fad diets like a juice fast. The only way to get healthy is to make a lifestyle change and to start eating healthy all the time. By healthy I mean natural-state, low sugar, whole foods in proper portions, from a wide variety of sources so you’re getting all the nutrients you need.

    In a few months, I predict that when you come back you will report that the juice fast was a complete waste of time and that at best, you saw temporary weight (muscle) loss and an almost immediate bounce-back in your weight as soon as you went off of it. Hopefully you will continue educating yourself on concepts of nutrition (using this blog and other quality resources) and good luck on your adventure to health! 🙂

  3. Jason Wollam

    I have to say you are absolutely correct in all your assertions on the chemical reactions of carbohydrates, proteins(not starches sorry) and fats but the neurological interaction to initiate and control those reactions are not homeopathy but are proven science. See for your self…

    Basic explanation of the use of amino acids as a neurotransmitters…
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neurotransmitter

    Basic explanation of neuroplasticity which explains that the brain has the ability to re-program itself when necessary.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroplasticity

    Again the distinction between our arguments is that you are referring to a fad diet that may last a few weeks where as I am planning on making a complete micro-nutrient reset which I suppose are not the same thing. Thanks very much for pointing out the necessity of including fats into the diet. I have changed my reset plans now as I hadn’t considered them and have altered my plan to include more fatty nuts.

  4. Jason, as I mentioned in my last reply, amino acids are USED to create develop neurotransmitters… if you look the Wikipedia article says the same thing. Also, please google the term “slippery slope fallacy” with regards to your point about neuroplasticity. Just because the brain has been shown to change its structure when presented with certain inputs doesn’t carry over to mean that ANY input will cause it to change… I have seen no peer-reviewed research suggesting that our brains cause us to metabolize our diets over time more efficiently due to neuroplasticity… not to mention that the average American unhealthy diet is characteristically random and varied, with no real consistency at all… so there isn’t much for the brain to adapt to, so to speak, even if that was something it did.

    Besides, if our bodies adapted to eating fatty diets, why would we care to switch it to something different? That would be worse for our bodies one would think. As an example, certain bacteria are adapted to an anaerobic environment, that is, one without oxygen. If we were to introduce oxygen to this environment, the bacteria would quickly perish. One could argue that oxygen is “healthy” (after all, we depend on it for survival) but clearly these bacteria have adapted to a lack of it and do much poorer when it is in fact present. While this is an extreme case, in the same vein, if our bodies adapted to eating fats, that would become the new “healthy choice” for our individual selves, so switching to some generically proposed “healthy choice” that our bodies AREN’T adapted to would cause more harm than good.

    Of course, this entire idea is rhetorical because our brains don’t adapt to our diets. If we did, we wouldn’t be having the issues we are having in this country because everyone would be adapted to a high fat, high processed carb diet and nobody would be obese. Clearly this isn’t the case at all.

    I’m glad you decided to add healthy fats to your diet, and hope that you will further improve your diet by considering to keep it full of whole sources of food instead of relying on an extreme, liquid-based diet made up of fiberless fruits and veggies based on shoddy, pseudoscientific claims. Thanks very much for the discussion by the way! 🙂

  5. Eva

    The primary benefit of juice fasting actually lies in the fact that it is an effective form of calorie restriction. The claims made by proponents of juice fasting, which you have enumerated above, are indeed largely unsubstantiated, or not founded in fact; however, juice fasting is highly beneficial for completely different reasons than those often given by its proponents.

    Calorie restriction regimens are generally defined as underconsumption without malnutrition, which is easily achievable through short-term, intermittent juice fasts. Intermittent fasting is generally accepted as an effective form of calorie restriction and is mentioned specifically in many of the studies on the subject. Obviously, a juice fast can be safely undertaken for longer than a water fast, because it is less likely that a person will become ketogenic on a short juice fast, due to the high availability of carbohydrates. With the assistance of supplements, it is entirely possible for a person to obtain all the necessary nutrients during a juice fast, while still maintaining lower than normal calorie levels.

    Calorie restriction has been studied in a vast range of organisms, from single-celled yeast, to increasingly complex mammals[1], and even humans[2]. Research has found a high degree of conservation in the benefits obtained through calorie restriction, across species studied[1]. Calorie restriction has been used effectively to treat malignant glioblastoma multiforme in mice, which shares many characteristics with human glioblastoma multiforme, the most aggressive and invasive primary human brain cancer[3].

    Calorie restriction has also been associated with a reduction in oxidative stress, perhaps due to a change in the amount of reactive oxygen species produced in the mitochondria during normal cellular respiration[4] under calorie restricted conditions. A calorie restriction induced reduction in oxidative stress has been shown to have positive outcomes in the reduction of aging in the cardiovascular system and risk of cardiovascular disease[5].

    In two NIA studies, healthy, normal-weight rhesus monkeys were placed on long-term calorie restricted regimens. The studies indicated that a 30% reduction in the monkeys’ caloric intake lead to a significant increase in HDL 2B and an equally impressive decrease in triglycerides. There was also a decrease in the depletion of DHEA, a hormone that is often used as a biomarker for aging[6]. Additionally, calorie restriction has been shown to dramatically reduce the occurrence of solid tumors and leukemia[7], as well as improve cognitive function in elderly human subjects[8].

    Calorie restriction has also been shown across many species to have a dramatic impact on longevity. Severely calorie restricted rats experienced a nearly 50% increase in lifespan, as compared to the control group, even in the presence of partial malnutrition[9].

    A very recent study on the effects of fasting and calorie restriction on cancer patients receiving chemotherapy found that calorie restriction and fasting seem to trigger a protective cellular mechanism so strong, that it would be difficult to achieve such an effect with potent drug intervention. The protective signals generated by the body during fasting appear to only be responded to by healthy cells, while being ignored by cancerous cells, thus leaving cancer cells more susceptible to chemotherapy treatment than healthy cells[10].

    The studies cited above provide only a very small snapshot of the research available on calorie restriction; the benefits are myriad and very well-documented. Many in the scientific community agree that calorie restriction may be one of the most potent interventions available for improving health, preventing and treating disease and increasing longevity. Although it is possible to undertake a successful calorie restricted regimen without juice fasting, juice fasting can be used as a supplement to easily reduce overall calorie intake, while providing a potent dose of nutrition (there are a lot of micronutrients in juice, particularly vegetable juice). Of course, obtaining the benefits of calorie restriction requires a long-term commitment to the program – one seven day juice fast isn’t going to add 10 years to your life. However, for those willing to make the commitment to follow a calorie restricted regimen, all the published scientific literature seems to suggest that the benefits are numerous.

    As a final note, I am not speaking with regard to juice fasts that are being “sold”, but rather about going to the grocery store yourself, buying some vegetables and making your own juice at home. That being said, it is obviously prudent for an individual to meet with their physician prior to undertaking any kind of dietary intervention; for example, juice fasting would be a particularly inappropriate form of calorie restriction for diabetics, and other forms would likely need to be pursued to ensure the safety of the individual. A physician without specific training in nutrition would be able to refer to a nutritionist, who can help the person meet all of their dietary needs on a calorie restricted regimen, which may or may not include the use of juice fasting.

    My final verdict: juice fasting has the potential to be beneficial when used as a supplement in a calorie restricted regimen, if you look beyond disreputable individuals trying to make a quick buck off of it.

    References

    1. Duan W, Ross CA. 2010. Potential therapeutic targets for neurodegenerative diseases: lessons learned from calorie restriction. Current Drug Targets. 11(10): 1281-92.

    2. Redman LM, Ravussin E. 2011. Calorie restriction in humans: impact on physiological, psychological, and behavioral outcomes. Antioxidants & Redox Signaling. 14(2): 265-87.

    3. Shelton, LE. 2010. Calorie restriction as an anti-invasive therapy for malignant brain cancer in the VM mouse. ASN Neuro. 2(3):e00038.

    4. Civitarese, AE. 2007. Calorie Restriction Increases Muscle Mitochondrial Biogenesis in Healthy Humans. PLoS Medicine. 4(3):e76.

    5. Weiss EP, Fontana L. 2011. Caloric restriction – Powerful protection for the aging heart and vasculature. American Journal of Physiology – Heart and Circulatory Physiology.

    6.Verdery RB, Ingram DK, Roth GS, Lane MA. 1997. Caloric restriction increases HDL2 levels in rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta). American Journal of Physiology. 36(4): E714-9.

    7. Anand, PE. 2008. Cancer is a preventable disease that requires major lifestyle changes. Pharmaceutical Research. 25(9): 2097-2116.

    8. Witte A., M. Fobker, R. Gellner, S. Knecht, and A. Floel. 2009. Caloric restriction improved memory in elderly humans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America. 106(4): 1255-60.

    9. Abalan F, Mayo W, Simon H, Le Moal M. 2010. Paradoxical effect of severe dietary restriction on Long-Evans rat life span. International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research. 80(6): 386-93.

    10. Lee C, Longo VD. 2011. Fasting vs dietary restriction in cellular protection and cancer treatment: from model organism to patients. Oncogene. 30(30): 3305-16.

  6. Benjamin Ballinger

    Eva,

    Thank you for your very well thought-out and researched response… it was a great read and you bring up a lot of legitimate points.

    I would like to point out, not so much as a retort to your response but more as a clarification, that in terms of WEIGHT LOSS and adopting healthy eating habits, which most “juice fast” proponents seem to focus on with their products, all that is needed is modest calorie restriction, choosing nutrient dense but calorie sparse items, and ensuring one gets enough protein so no (or at least minimal) catabolism takes place. In fact, not only is this all that is needed—it’s been proven time and time again to be the most efficient and safest way to manage weight.

    Now, in terms of longevity, cancer recovery etc, the game changes a bit but the truth is, someone overweight needs to deal with their weight before they worry themselves about how to lengthen their lifespan, because their lifespan is already going to be shortened by their poor health if they don’t get it under control.

    Likewise, I do NOT recommend unregulated ketogenic diets to my weight loss clients, but carb cycling and even ketogenic diets work very well for someone who is already at a healthy weight looking to temporarily lower their body fat for a photo shoot, competition or similar event. The thing is, what is effective temporarily and what is healthy and effective in the long run are two different things… I’m sure we can agree on that.

    As for juice fasting working because of calorie restriction, my issue is that the only effective, successful weight loss regimen is one that is a lifestyle change, and that is only possible when the client is being taught WHY they are doing what they do. Juice fasting doesn’t make it apparent that calorie restriction is responsible for the weight loss, it’s supposed to be some magic mumbo jumbo and I hate that because it causes yo-yo dieting due to the client having no clue why they’re losing weight, other than some misinformed idea that they are “detoxing.”

    All clients need to do is watch their portions, ensure they get enough protein and drink enough water and the weight will come off. Properly learning this is something anyone can understand, allowing it to become a lifelong habit for longterm weight management. If someone is at a healthy weight and they want to screw around with (what I consider) silly fad diets like juice fasting, then more power to them I guess, as long as they recognize what changes happen in their bodies and why they truly happen instead of believing the lies perpetuated by the juice fast industry.

    Also, if I am not mistaken, I believe that a study showed that greatly reducing carbohydrates was just as effective as reducing overall calories in terms of effects on longevity. I’d much rather see someone do occasional “carb fasts” than to remove protein and fat—the two macronutrients VITAL for life—from the diet.

  7. Mannie

    THIS COMMENT CONTAINS NO VERIFIED SCIENCE, BUT WILL MAKE SENSE WHEN YOU READ IT…PROMISE

    Benjamin, I think your article would’ve been received much better, if it didn’t seem that you were out to “bash” peoples ideas. The placebo affect does work, to an extent, and the earth shattering realization that something we have been trying doesnt work, well, thats enough for the average American to commit suicide by food! I am going on a “juice fast” simply to prove to myself that I can. I tell people all the time that addictions can be handled by the mind over matter effect. I work with nothing but smokers who “need to smoke”. Well I am an avid weight lifter, I NEED protein in my system, my body calls for it after a nice hard 2 hours of lifting. Of course on a juice diet I cannot lift as heavy as usual, because I am not trying to lose muscle mass due to the trauma caused by lifting and the lack of proteins to repair the tissuse. So for me this juice fast is purely for my mental abilities sort’ve like a David Blaine “magic trick”. My normal eating habits are shitty at best! I do not eat breakfast, very rarely lunch, then dinner, i’m a meat and potatoes kind of guy. So the idea of juicing veggies and bringing them to work with me, lets me get SOMETHING into me that normally i wouldnt have, and it keeps me away form the candy jar and vending machine! I am drinking about 40oz of water in an 8 hour work day, not counting my 20 – 30oz during the gym time so I think i’m staying well hydrated during this juice stage. I do like Eva’s points on calorie restricitons, we can ALL agree calorie counting is a plus for health, if you dont beleive me, think back to the scientist that did the “little debbie diet” where he ate shitty foods, but kept close eye on intakes of calories, and surprisingly cholesterol and other levels got better with the loss of weight. I think if you want to make yourself a nice homeade juice with your chicken dinner, then it’s all good, but as far as living off of juice, only the ridiculously obese would see super results (see fat sick and nearly dead), but for everyone else, moderate changes would occur. However, that’s when the placebo effect comes into play, if you see your body looking slimmer, and that was your goal, then you will be more excited to keep doing what you are doing. In turn, your body will feel more energetic due to the fact that you are happy about your appearence, you will probably start to walk, jog, swim, which will ACTUALLY make you healthier, and when you finally go to the Dr. you will report that “because of your juice fast you feel great” the Dr. will see the results of your exercise, and then BAM! you have another satisfied costumer….

    Whatever jumpstarts someone to change their ethic when it comes to health, is a good thing, no matter what anyone’s opinion, which is all that all 4 of us have written, our opinions, validated by someone else’s work, lets get the ball rolling! Too many fat folks in our country is causing all these damn earthquakes, the ground can only take so much! HAHAHA just kidding to lighten it up. I’m just a regular guy, who didnt smoke pot in biology, am a licensed massage therapist, studied psychology, and have trained friends into becoming brickhouses at the gym (while let myself go after surgery, getting back though) so take my OPINION with a grain of salt…but not too much!

  8. Benjamin Ballinger

    Manny, I am not worried about my message being perceived as “bashing” because that’s precisely what it is. People who create businesses based on lying to their client base, particularly when it comes to their health, is unacceptable and needs to be called out.

    Yes, placebo, catalyst for good health… and so on with other hypotheses, but unfortunately it rarely works out that way—people get caught up into this mumbo jumbo nonsense and they get hopelessly lost in the confusion when the truth about healthy life habits is quite simple. They either give up after repeated failures, or they get pulled further into this nonsense and start wasting all their time and effort on things like detox foot baths, raw diets and other such idiocy. 90% of the time, these people ignore what TRUE health habits are because they are convinced that the stuff they’re doing makes up for it, so no, I don’t consider it ok, because these people are unhealthy and are being tricked into thinking they are taking care of their health.

    This same snake-oil industry makes its profits by convincing people that doctors are evil puppy killers who don’t know their rear from a hole in the ground, so when a doctor warns them at a check up about their poor health, they ignore the doctor because, “Doctors just prescribe pills to make you sicker, they just don’t understand how well I’m doing by putting my feet in a saline salt bath and drinking lettuce koolaid.”

    Even if these things DID cause people to start taking control of their health as you suggest, it still doesn’t make lying ok. If I punch a child in the face and then he goes on to learn self defense to protect himself in the future, does that make what I did ok or right? Of course not. Wrong things are wrong, regardless of their outcome. I know of something else that makes you slimmer and makes you feel great; it’s called cocaine. Would you suggest that someone who loses weight and feels like God by burying their face in a pile of coke on a daily basis is doing something ok because they are seeing results? It’s an extreme example, but my point is that juice fasting ISN’T HEALTHY, so continuing to do it because you supposedly feel good doesn’t change anything about it’s health qualities (or lack thereof).

  9. Benjamin Ballinger

    Also, I’d like to point out that energy is achieved through your diet, not through your appearance. The idea that people will be “energized because they like their appearance” may sound nice on paper, but it doesn’t work that way. I work with fitness models and competitors on a regular basis, and believe me, nobody is more miserable than a client at 8% body fat who is in the process of dropping it down to 4% body fat. According to your theory, they would feel amazing and energized because they look fantastic… but in reality, the low calories, super-strict diet program and the lack of carbohydrates quickly take their toll and cause the client to feel wretched until they’re able to break their diet and carb back up.

  10. Bob

    Sure sounds like a biased, blind rant backed by no evidence whatsoever, to me. I’m guessing you are a proponent of a typical, ultra-high protein diet?

  11. Benjamin Ballinger

    Hi Bob, really, it sounds like a “biased, blind rant” with “no evidence whatsoever” to you? What do you consider evidence, if not the many sources I posted at the bottom? Since you’re all about proof, how about you provide a single source of evidence that juice fasts do anything that they are claimed to do?

    And no, I am not a ultra-high-protein proponent. Not sure where you got that assumption from… I believe in well-balanced, SCIENTIFICALLY-BACKED nutritional habits. Not glorified starving and hippy pseudo-science. Thanks for the reply!

  12. John

    I agree with you that if there is a specific industry backing a detox plan, it loses credibility instantly – for example, I’ve heard of people believing some sort of plan where they drink maple syrup and cayenne pepper, or drink “Chinese diet tea” which turns out only to be a laxative, and an unstable one at best. But when it comes to a simple plan of drinking vegetable juice, I’m having trouble understanding where the scam comes in; is the “vegetable industry” conspiring to scam the American people?

    Anyway, I’m also with you on the idea of a balanced diet. I also know, on the other hand, that there is much in this world that we as people do not understand. Science has come very far, but is still very finite. We haven’t yet found a cure for cancer and other ailments, and we still don’t know why most hypertensive patients even have the condition.

    When one researches into the relationship between diet and disease, one must wonder why, with all of our knowledge and scientific advancements, are we still deteriorating in health. Sure we are living longer than we were 50 years ago, but rates of heart disease have either maintained, or increased depending on the population being studied. What does this mean? We’ve got better drugs now to treat symptoms, but not cure. Ever notice what doctors focus on when treating ailments? Drugs. There is very little focus, if any, on diet, other than to follow the food pyramid, which in case no one has noticed, isn’t working. We’ve been following it and we’ve been getting sicker.

    So let’s look at vegetables. We all know that vegetarians, or those following mostly that diet, have dramatically lower instances of heart disease, degenerative illness, cancers, the list goes on. When studied nutritionally, it’s clear that they are far superior than any other group of foods on the planet. It’s hard to imagine that consuming an diet of vegetables would be bad for the body in any way. The first argument is that you couldn’t get enough protein. Meanwhile, let’s look at a carrot. A carrot has the same percentage of protein as breast milk. Let’s put the protein argument aside. Besides, most Americans already get 10 times their needed protein every day, and that’s without supplements. This is very hard on our livers.

    Will a veggie juice diet help you lose weight? Yes. But the weight you lose will depend on how long you continue the diet, and whether or not you change your lifestyle afterwards. If it’s only for a few days, you’ll likely gain the weight right back, and yes, most is probably water weight. If it’s for a few weeks, you’ll be losing fat, some muscle, etc. That weight can be kept off if following a healthy diet afterwards – a diet low in sugar, simple carbs, fatty foods.

    You are again correct in the function of our liver and kidneys. Again the problem remains: why are we getting sicker and sicker? The liver’s job is to serve as a filter for our bodies. That means that all of the access proteins we eat, all of the chemicals we eat in our processed foods, every time we pop an advil, every time we take cold medicine, antibiotics, or have a soda, our liver is working it’s very hardest. Could the reason that we are so sick be that our organs are damaged from working overtime for so long? Maybe, maybe not. But it’s not that outrageous of a scenario, is it?

    I can’t comment on your argument that those undergoing the veggie juice diets have more energy. I’ve heard that it’s true from people who have done the diet for up to two weeks at a time, but I won’t comment because I’ve never been there myself. Perhaps you can comment on it based off of your first-hand experience, that is, assuming you’ve done it yourself.

    On the subject of a juice fast cleaning the colon, your argument is based off of the scientific study of “Hippie vs Gastroenterologists” with the final conclusion of said scientific study as being “utter bullshit.” Interesting findings, my good scholar. OK, I’m messing with you a bit on this one. I highly doubt any “bong-hitting hippie” knows more than any doctor on this stuff. Do some research on Dr. Max Gerson. He was a real doctor, who far ahead of his time (70+ years ago), was curing people of degenerative disease, including cancer. Turns out that his nutrition therapy was largely based off vegetable juice, not as the direct cure, but as a way to allow the powerful human immune system to return to the state at which it can cure itself of ailments. Even if proven, is this ever going to be officially recognized by the medical community? Of course not. That’s just business though. If you owned a lumber company, and learned that mud and brick made stronger homes, would you tell everyone about it? You may call this a conspiracy theory; I call it business.

    Am I a vegetarian? No. Do I push certain diets at other people? Nope. Do I bash other diets? No, I personally don’t care what the masses do. I’ll only enlighten my loved ones on what I’ve learned through reading and research on diet. Do I think that veggie juice fasts work? I have no idea. But what I do know is that we should explore every possible avenue considering the state of our health. That is, truly explore it, instead of ranting and raving like small children.

    Research Max Gerson, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, and “The China Study” – you’ll find topics relating to yours, written by Doctors. Real soctors, that is, not personal trainers with strong opinions.

  13. Benjamin Ballinger

    Hi John, thank you for your response, although it was rife with logical fallacy and probably insincere (if you’re not a proponent of juice fasting or any other nutritional program, why’d you take the time to write a long response to me, in which you’re clearly disturbed by my argument and use the same typical arguments as holistic/homeopathic medicine practitioners around the globe?)

    Firstly, I don’t get your complaint about me “ranting and raving” like a “small child.” This is my personal blog, so I’d think it’s well within my rights to speak about whatever I want on here, no? If not here, then where?

    I made it pretty painfully clear that the industry I’m targeting is the JUICE FAST industry—that is, the folks who charge suckers clients hundreds of dollars for some gloried V8 juice and make claims that have all been proven to be complete bullshit, by me, in this very article. Thus, juice FASTING is a complete waste of time and money. Don’t create a straw man and try to suggest that I said vegetables are bad for you, because I most certainly didn’t say that.

    Rates of disease have increased because we move less and eat more. Our diets have become increasingly processed and nutrient sparse. This has been proven by many studies and experiments, so no, I don’t consider it the baffling mystery you make it out to be. To suggest medicine has provided no worth to humanity is utterly ludicrous. Western medicine ERADICATED small pox from the entire world. Western medicine has found cures and treatments for hundreds if not thousands of diseases. Western medicine is in a very LARGE part responsible for the fact that we DO live 50 years longer. Western medicine is the reason we no longer die from simple issues like an infection of the tooth. If you don’t consider those significant contributions then I don’t know what to tell you. Also, if you’re going to make arguments about nutrition and attack the FDA, you should at least stay well-informed on the subject. The FDA released a new “food plate,” replacing the pyramid earlier in the year, and it’s completely accurate as far as I’m concerned.

    Your point about vegetarians is misguided and filled with fallacy. Correlation does not imply causation. Just because vegetarians have lower risk of disease doesn’t mean that protein is responsible for the disease, or that vegetables are responsible for their prevention. Much more likely (and simple) is that vegetarians inherently eat FEWER calories due to the calorie-sparse nature of their diet, and eat more fiber which has been proven to lower the risk of these diseases. I’ve never seen a study proving that a well-balanced, calorie-controlled diet that includes meat products increases risk of disease beyond a control group.

    You say juice fasts help you lose weight, which may or may not be completely comprised of water weight and muscle mass, and that in order to keep the weight off the person needs to adopt healthy eating patterns. Why not simply skip the idiotic, expensive fast in the first place, go right to adopting healthy eating habits, retain that muscle and save yourself hundreds of dollars to achieve the same results? If you’re really set on “cleaning your slate” for whatever misinformed reason, you might as well chew on a leaf or two of lettuce each day for a week—you’ll get the same results. I hear the sunshine and air diet is great for losing weight too.

    Our organs are designed for 24/7 functioning so I find it very hard to believe that liver “overtime” is responsible (or even possible) for disease. Compared to the difficulty of, say, removing rattlesnake venom or a bacterial infection from our blood stream, I fail to see how a tablet of ibuprofen or some carbonated sugar water is going to tax our system. I’m always open-minded to changing my opinion, but only when provided with documented proof. I’ve found none supporting that claim thus far. Pseudo hippy-science with no controlled, peer-reviewed studies doesn’t count, sorry.

    Dr. Max Gerson is a well-known quack whose credibility is completely lacking to real scientists at large, and to me as well. He believed that squirting coffee up someone’s ass cured cancer—I mean come on now. Not a single claim he’s made has been able to be replicated by the medical community under controlled studies… hmmm I wonder why that is? Maybe because he’s full of crap?

    Your idea that the medical community would IGNORE factual evidence supporting a legitimate cure for a wide-spread disease is both offensive and a blatant lie. Never in the history of modern medicine has a credible, proven cure for anything EVER been ignored. False statements like the one you made are responsible for people dying from easily-treatable conditions because they chose not to get treated by a real physician because “physicians are SATAN” according to their witch-doctor Butterfly Adams. Make sure you check the claims coming out of your mouth before you suggest potentially harmful, and defamatory statements like that.

    The medical industry is comprised of hundreds of different facets. You act like it’s all one big entity. You also claim that it opposes any competition and does all it can to prevent the competition from being heard. What a load of shit. Ever heard of Advil and Aleve? Or Viagra and Cialis? Or generic medication in general vs brand-name? How can you suggest the medical community is against competition when there is competition IN the medical community, right in front of your face? How about one throat doctor on one side of town vs another throat doctor on the other side of town? Are they not rivals and competition? Your point makes no sense whatsoever—just because you say something doesn’t make it true.

    That’s great that all you care about is yourself and your immediate family. Unlike you, I DO care about what the masses do—that’s why I chose this career and why I have this blog and why I do what I do. Maybe part of the problem is that people only care about themselves and their immediate associates instead of caring for the general community at large. Maybe if people cared, these worthless snakeoil salesmen wouldn’t be able to scam people for years on end and make millions of dollars off of false promises and potentially harmful pseudo-prescriptions. Maybe they’d have to actually provide some worth to the world in order to make an honest dollar. Well, that utopian situation may never come to be, but in the meantime I am going to do my part to spread the truth to people.

    Exploring options and blindly believing something that has been clearly disproven are two different things. I am completely open-minded and every time something has come to my attention that is credible and proven that goes against my beliefs, I’ve changed my beliefs to incorporate the new evidence. If anyone is intolerant of change, it’s the individuals of the holistic industry who continue to insist that their stupid, disproven practices actually work in the face of contrary evidence piling up like the peak of Mt. Everest.

    So pardon me for having an opinion and not following the incomplete, inconsistent data provided by a study that has been discredited countless times nor the claims made by two complete quacks. Enjoy your V8 and sativa, John.

  14. Kate

    As a scientist myself (biochemist), I had some doubts…especially considering the whole “detox” thing (still do, on that point)…but I tried a juice fast myself, making fresh juices at home and concentrating on adding plenty of spinach and kale for protein and calcium, and drinking coconut water for sodium and potassium. I was only mildly overweight to start with (160 lbs, 5’7″ and follow a vegetable-based diet normally, but on the ten day juice fast I lost 16 pounds, slept like a baby, experienced no cravings whatsoever, had tons of energy, and overall, just felt fantastic. It’s been three months since I ended the “fast” (I carefully monitored my intake to make sure I never dipped below 1500 kcal) and I’ve gained back…one lb. I’m actually about to start another fast…not for weight loss, but because I’ve been feeling a bit tired lately, and I want the energy boost I got the first time. A colleague of mine did one for thirty-five days, lost 28 pounds, and has kept the weight off for two months now.

    Placebo effect, psychosomatics…whatever (after all, there is no such thing as a Cartesian dichotomy). The results were still real, whatever guided them…and I’ll take them, even if I can’t figure out HOW it works. What matters, after all, is that it DID work, at least for me.

  15. Blake

    I have been following this blog since August 24th and checking for updates every day since. Although I have nothing important to add; I just want to say this has been the most informative blog on juicing I have seen. I was turned on to juicing after two of my friends separately told me about a documentary called Fat Sick and Nearly Dead which then turned me on to a couple other documentaries: Food Matters and Forks Over Knives. All with the premise around what everyone is arguing.

    I don’t think anyone cares, but my roommate and I tired juicing for 21 days and failed miserably after 9 days. However, we couldn’t help ourselves from eating horribly after the 9th day. Before the juice fast, we both ate very healthy and worked out regularly. We were not on the fast to lose weight however to “detox” and “become healthier.” Anyway, before the fast I hadn’t eaten fast food for almost 8 months but for the next 4 weeks after the 9th day of fasting I ate fast food 2 to 3 times a day! Even before I gave up fast food for 8 months I still didn’t eat fast food all the time. The point I am trying to make is the juice fast ended up putting me in worse state then before I started it. I am not alone either… I saw a few video’s on YouTube all gaining tons of weight after the fast. My guess is our bodies went into starvation mode and once we couldn’t take the fast anymore it was FOOD FOOD FOOD to our brains. Ignorant that I am, I am trying the juice fast again. Not sure why… I guess I am a bit brainwashed from watching those documentaries. PS: I am starving!!!

  16. Jason

    Blake – So what you are saying, is that because you decided to eat tons of fast food after a juice fast, that juice fasts are bad for people?

    I found this site by googling about juice fasts since I started juicing. I too have seen the documentaries mentioned above, and have learned about the “quack” Max Gerson. It’s very easy to refer to someone as a “phony” or “quack” if we don’t believe in or understand what they are doing. And of course, it’s human nature to not believe what we don’t want to believe.

    There are still many people who believe chiropractors are “quacks.”

    The bottom line is that if it works for someone, or many people, then good; who cares whether it’s placebo, science, or anything else.

  17. Benjamin Ballinger

    Hi Jason,

    In my opinion, we SHOULD care if something is purported to do something but does nothing, regardless of whether placebo causes similar results or not. It’s still unethical and untruthful advertising. On top of that, I feel that juice fasting is actually HARMFUL for the reasons specified above, so therefore I find it important to inform my readers about it.

    Thanks for the response!

  18. Blake

    Hey Jason—didn’t say that at all. Not really sure how you came up with that either. I just stated my personal experience with juicing. It just does not work for me, that’s all. However, I am eating raw meals at least 6-8 times a week. I like the idea of all the nutrients I am getting from it. Plus I found this amazing raw restaurant that has the most amazing tasting food. However, pretty sure I am gaining weight from eating there all the time.
    I do agree with Benjamin that people are getting taken advantage of by a lot of miss information. Granted if the information is true or not it’s not proven. Proven like water is good for humans not like chocolate causes acne. Probably horrible examples but all I am saying is if it is so great how come no one has without a doubt proven it. Anyway, going back to agreeing with Benjamin… I finally saw one of those stores that he was talking about selling the idea of detox for $300 for 5 days. I bought a sweet juicer for $199 and spent 120 bucks for 2 people for 9 days! If I do the math, 33 bucks for 5 days for one person is plenty for juicing. So I think it’s robbery the places Benjamin is talking about is charging 60 bucks a day –all for something that isn’t exact or proven.

  19. Jennifer Cole

    Be sure to see the film Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. Perhaps the science behind juice fasting is false, but the men in this film surely benefitted from juice fasting. Perhaps the behavior of fasting itself allows the brain a rest from all of the automatic habits it has become accustomed to. It seems that those who were slaves to food may find some freedom following a long juice fast.

  20. jan

    Benjamin..Are there any peer reviews where the peers do not have a vested interest in the results?
    Have you actually experienced a fresh vegetable juice program?
    Or.. Have you experienced the effect of consuming fresh vegetable juices regularly?
    Proof, over time, can be shown to be in the pudding, as the saying goes.. we don’t always need to have ‘scientific proof’ to believe something is good..
    I don’t think ‘ídiots’and ‘silly’ are very ‘scientific’ judgements..
    People have been conned by various weightloss or healthprogram claims for many years – anything that seems less effort or ‘easier’ than changing habits, will prove popular..
    There are many world wide instances of effective natural practices and cures that have been quashed, and therefore (yes) definitely ignored by Medical and Dental Associations or Powerful Chemical and Food companies..

  21. Benjamin Ballinger

    Jan, you should look up the definition of “peer-reviewed” research. The entire premise is that it eliminates bias by having independent, uninvested third parties look over the data and/or replicate the experiment to determine it’s level of credibility. So to answer your question, yes, there are many peer reviews with uninvested peers—basically all of them.

    Proof isn’t in the pudding; that’s called anecdotal evidence and doesn’t account for the placebo effect, which is 99% of the way these unscrupulous industries stay in business, the other 1% being the foolishness of the victims they trick into believing their stories.

    I don’t have a problem with you believing juice fasting is good… feel free to think so all you want and continue to (in my opinion) waste your time and energy doing it. However, I do have a problem with people who claim it’s benefits as proven fact and charge people tons of money to give them some juice and make claims that guarantee they will see these results.

    Also, this is not a scientific article, it’s an editorial piece so the terms “idiot” and “silly” are perfectly fine to use. Thanks for your feedback.

  22. Dotty

    Ben,
    While I agree that people shouldn’t make claims that are not true, throwing out the baby with the bathwater is harming the TRUTH!

    The truth is that our bodies do need time to rest. Our digestive systems in our present day and age are way overtaxed and since our mainstream foods of choice are heavily processed and the vast majority of people are consuming them at alarming rates, Juice fasting is a very safe and effective way to get our bodies on track for being more efficient to work as it was programmed.

    Hopefully with doing a cleanse, it will help them see how great it feels to get organic fruits and vegetables directly into their bodies, without any additives to junk it all up.

    I don’t feel juicing is a cure all in an of itself. However, it is and should be a stepping stone to jump start any program of health and wellness.. Not used as a fad to lose weight or use as a free pass for partying and abusing the body.

    But, writing an article or blog like this one in your position is just irresponsible. You can put it to your readers not to use it as a cure all, but add as an adjunct to their health, which it absolutely is..

    Respectfully,

    Dotty

  23. Garet

    First, I would like to say that the comment thread following this post was (unsurprisingly) filled with the usual characters namely, contrarians, skeptics, and free flowing thought posters.

    However, in none of the responses has a credible or logically supported counter been made to the original post. It is not enough to say that you saw results from a juice cleanse. Because as Benjamin already has stated, correlation does not imply causation. If I buy a hammer to nail a picture to the wall, the hammer breaks, and then I just use a rock, the hammer was still worthless even if I achieved my final goal.

    It is understandable why so many people come out in support of juicing. Actually losing weight is hard. Just like anything else that is worth anything. Its nice to indulge ourselves in temporary fantasies that great things can be achieved at little to not cost. However, sooner or later we all find out that is not the case. It is when our desire to delude ourselves grows so strong that we find ourselves converting others to our fantasies that we cross the line from permissible self-determination to harmful misinterpretations.

    Finally, for those who have drudged up the old argument that nothing can be known for sure, something for you to consider is that if nothing can be known, if you wish to take the philosophical stance of the ultimate skeptic, then you have no business engaging in any persuasive arguing. If you admit nothing can be known then arguing is pointless, neither your point nor any one else’s will ever be proven.

    If it wasn’t clear from the body of this post, I am completely behind the original author and applaud the attempt to shed light on an industry build on dangerous misrepresentation.

    Garet

  24. Benjamin Ballinger

    Thanks for the feedback Garet, nice to see someone using legitimate logic to back up their argument! I would take your analogy a step further regarding the nailed in painting… it’s more like attempting to hammer a painting into a wall, directly over a steel beam. The nail may go 1/4 of the way in, seemingly accomplishing the task at first glance, but then will hit the beam and be stuck, and in the end it will be clear that it was a futile attempt to nail the painting into a steel beam, and that a different approach is necessary.

    Logical debaters would point out the hopelessness of the endeavor and suggest that a different, proven approach, such as using a diamond-tipped drill to drill a hole through the beam would be necessary to accomplish the task. Juice fast proponents of this thread would be arguing that the effort WAS successful, because the nail was going into the wall initially, and that we just didn’t “give it enough time” to see that the nail would penetrate the board. They’d also claim that people who suggest using a diamond-tipped drill are involved in some federal-government-level conspiracy to leech money from the public through purposely falsified advice. Oh, and they’d also claim that the process of nailing the picture through the steel beam will cure AIDS and cancer.

  25. Garet

    My mistake. I forgot to address one more serious misconception in my first post. In one post above the author had mentioned that “all possible avenues” should be explored when trying to discover how to get healthy.

    This is yet another old and dusty saying that sounds great on the surface and makes absolutely no sense. The entire reason that anyone is even reading a blog like this, is going to the gym at all, or is doing anything involved with knowledge creation is because we all have limited time. Whether that is referring to the short term of a day or the (very) long term of our lives.

    To advocate trying out “every avenue” is ridiculous when you think of the many useless and false postulations that exist, particularly about health and fitness. Even if you lived for 100 years I doubt a person could manage to get through a fraction of the crap that is out there. And in the process they would have wasted their life, failed to achieve their goals, and been left wishing that somewhere along they way they stopped to ask what really works.

    The moral, time is precious. As is good information!

  26. Ty

    I agree that it’s probably irresponsible to recommend juicing to people if there’s no scientific proof of it’s potential as a cleanse, method of weight loss, etc. However, it can also be argued that recommending people follow what’s been given to us as a “healthy” diet plan is also irresponsible.

    For example, do you recommend people drink milk? Based on stances I’ve seen from some people here, I’d sure hope not. There’s no evidence of cow’s milk being good for us despite the idea being shoved down our throats and widely accepted in our country for half of a century. In fact, there are numerous studies that show quite the opposite- notably a Yale University analysis of 34 studies conducted in 16 countries. Milk is only one example. Take chicken for another if you’d like- sure it has protein but it’s about as nutrient deficient as a piece of white bread. We’ve been led to believe chicken breast is healthy because it has protein and is low in fat. You could make a sound argument that telling people to eat chicken breast is just as irresponsible as telling them to juice fast.

    My point here is that much of what we have accepted is based more on what others feel we should eat, not necessarily scientific fact.

    I take studies with a grain of salt though- some of you guys are right that correlation does not imply causation. However take The China Study for example. Look it up if you haven’t heard of it- it’s the largest study ever conducted on the human diet, and directly conflicts with what is accepted as our “healthy diet.” The author, a medical doctor who practiced and studied our traditional western medicine, will be the first to note that it wasn’t in fact a true scientific study. You can always note this, and take the stance that the whole thing is BS and no proof of anything. But he does note that when you study 20 factors, and 19 of them are strongly correlated, well..you see what I’m getting at.

    So, yes it’s irresponsible for many of these companies to try to sell these juice plans as a means for health, but it’s just as irresponsible to recommend our traditional diet as well. Anyone interested in nutrition should really read beyond our food pyramid system and generally accepted knowledge – do you own research by reading about others who have done so in an unbiased manner.

  27. George

    Is Hippocrates a quack? Fasting comes way back my friend. Nasm and FDA have to prove themselves and they certainly do not by changing their food pyramid. So, be humble my friend or in the future you will face yourself in front of you. By the way I am 169 cm tall what is my ideal weight? Bye

  28. Curt

    Benjamin –

    If you feel it’s irresponsible for people to recommend juice fasting, I sure hope you aren’t recommending things like whey protein or creatine to clients, like so many personal trainers do.

    Anyone who does a little research into studies can find what they need to know (ex. take a look at all of the findings between IGF1 and cancers).

    I don’t have any strong opinions on juice fasting since I’ve never done it, but I’d give it a try before you continue your relentless bashing.

  29. Benjamin Ballinger

    Thanks for the feedback Curt. Rather than telling me to “do the research” like all conspiracy theorists seem to suggest, how about you provide me with some studies showing that creatine and protein are harmful to normal, healthy individuals? If you can’t be bothered to support your statements (as I have) then you can’t expect me to waste time researching your unsubstantiated claims. As for “I should try it before relentlessly bashing it,” I fail to see any logic in that statement. By that reasoning, I should try injecting heroin and smoking crack as well before bashing it as a harmful lifestyle choice. Sorry—the burden of proof lies on those who make the claims not on those who refute them.

  30. Curt

    I wouldn’t guess that vegetable juice would be as dangerous as heroin, but for argument’s sake you could point that out.

    Anyway on the subject of Whey, read studies on the links between IGF1 (insulin-like growth factor 1 – found in milk) and cancer, particularly that in men. Whey, as you probably know, is derived from milk protein, but in very high concentrations. It’s not conspiracy; these studies are real – Harvard 1999 – you can’t miss it.

    As for substances like creatine, there aren’t many studies on the longterm effects of it, so we don’t know. Considering the fact that we don’t know leaves the door open to potentially very harmful effects. If this is even a possibility, isn’t recommending creatine just as irresponsible as recommending a veggie juice fast?

    I’m not attempting to attack you personally; we don’t know each other. I used to use whey and creatine, and loved the results until I did some reading and decided I couldn’t justify muscle gains for cancer and other risks.

  31. Benjamin Ballinger

    Curt, again, if you’d like me to read a supporting argument, please link to it. “Read studies on…” is not citing anything. While I am always open minded to new research and don’t mind admitting if I am proven wrong, I don’t have time to go around investigating every retort to my arguments—I am pretty busy running the day-to-days of my business as you can imagine. If you are truly interested in presenting a compelling argument, please respond with actual studies otherwise I am going to have to assume there are none. Also, if the level of proof you have is a vague relationship between IGF-1, cancer and milk, then I am going to have to point you to the Wikipedia entry for “Slippery Slope Fallacy.” Just because x has some level of correlation with y, doesn’t mean z has 100% correlation with y (or any, for that matter), simply because it contains x.

    As for creatine, no it isn’t the same thing. Because, although I recommend creatine to certain athletes whom I train, I NEVER make any claims not backed by science. I NEVER have said creatine has been proven to have no long-term side affects, nor have I claimed that creatine cures cancer or aids or psoriasis or cystic fibrosis… you get the point. My recommendations are based ONLY on the PROVEN science as it pertains to their goals. When I am asked a question that I can’t find the answer to, I say “I don’t know” rather than pretending like I am the all-seeing eye. This article was written to call out these types of people and show why their claims are false, not to push some other product or agenda on my part.

    And I don’t feel attacked, so no worries. I write these articles in part to get real discussions started like this and appreciate any responses I get, for or against my arguments.

  32. Benjamin Ballinger

    Ok Curt, I ignored my own policy and went ahead and found the study you are referring to. This is a classic example of someone misinterpreting and exaggerating their interpretation of results and then causing unnecessary “Chicken Little” fusses over it. The study points out that people with HIGH levels of IGF-1, e.g. acromegalics (10 times or MORE IGF-1 in their BLOODSTREAM than normal folks) have increased RISK for cancer.

    So, not only is this study not saying that IGF-1 causes cancer (only raises the risks, but hey, so does living under a popcorn ceiling), but it’s not even referring to the normal populace and CERTAINLY not referring to foods we consume that contain (by relative standards, MINUSCULE) amounts of IGF-1. The study does not mention milk anywhere… why is that? Because it has nothing to do with the study.

    Here’s a Cornell publication that actually does refer directly to our conversation: http://envirocancer.cornell.edu/factsheet/diet/fs37.hormones.cfm

    Notice their statement: Evidence available so far, though not conclusive, does not link hormone residues in meat or milk with any human health effect.

    I think that is a lot more conclusive than anything else that has been presented thus far.

  33. Chris Andrews

    Ben,

    I realy like your blog…. I was a nurse for 10 years before I went into engineering. I do agree with what you are saying in your blog… Life Style Changes are needed for permanent healthy weight loss…. The facts that a lot of these folks appear to missing, or the point of the matter, is that weight loss overal is what aided individuals in better overal health and wellness not any particular diet persay. In the doccumentary so many folks on your blog are speaking about, ‘Fat Sick and Nearly Dead’, the main charachter was morbidly obese with a BMI >25%. This individual was begining to demonstrate to negative side effects of a unhealthy lifestyle with regaurds to food and lack of exercise.

    It has been scientifically proven time and again that being overweight increases the risk of cardio vascular disease, Diabetes, Insulin Resistance a precursor to diabetes, gout, aging, Sleep apnea, Elevated HDL and LDL Cholesterol Levels, etc…. Once a individual devlops a disease such as Diabetes, typically type II in obese patients all of the other cardio vascular disease processes seem to come forth quickly.

    Why people feel better when they change from morbidly obese to a healthy weight is due to the weight loss… As a individual looses weight all the negative health issues directly related to being overweight start to diminish… continue to loose weight and they reverse and dissapear. The reason is directly to no longer being Obese, especialy if one was morbidly obese….

    So without direct regaurd to how one losses weight, I believe we must agree that weightloss is the most important factor overal, and that if that does not happen our society is killing itself with food. The next fact that most of the readers of your blog seem to be missing is that you are representing your view of healthy weight loss and a permanent lifestyle change. Permanent changes that individuals adopt to loose weight and keep it off are the only true solutions, and the only ones that are effective in lifelong overal healthy living. If you go back to your old ways, no matter how effective your weightloss plan, you will put all the weight back on, and most likely more. Why do we put on more weight after going on a weight loss diet? As you pointed out earlier, in a weight loss diet, crash diets that cause the Yo Yo effect you will loose water, muscle and then fat in that order…. Typicaly their is not enough proteign in the diet to maintain the muscle and with less muscle your Resting Metabolic Rate decreases… that is the furnace that is suppose to be burning your calories and maintianing a helathy weight. Great reach a weight loss goal and go back to old habits, instead of making a lifestyle change, a permanent one, all of the weight comes back pluss 5 or 10 more lbs… do this enough and you will eventualy become morbidly obese if you were not….

    The solution: A healthy moderate calorie diet that is balanced with Healthy Carbs from Fruits and Veggies,required proteign from healthy sources and Limited yes, but Healthy Fats…. and most importantly exercise… to help maintain and even build muscle to replace fat…. Increase the resting BMI, and lower weight in a healthy way….

    How I learned this besides nursing school? I am 5’8″ was always a size 29 – 30″ waist with a BMI of about 12%. What happened, I got married, experienced life, had 2 kids, a divorce, and self medicted with food…. I balooned up to 295 – 300 lbs… BMI Greater then 25%. Yes folks I became morbidly obese… my actual BMI was closer to 45%. I developed Type II Diabetese and had high cholesterol, Asthma, Sleep Apnea, and was a cookie away from a heart attack. i was clinically depressed for many years, to the point I was suicidal. That was my bottom… I began to see a therapist to get my depression under control. Next, I began to eat healthier, exercise, get negative triggers out of my life, I made the choice to make permanent changes in my life and eating habbits. Hitting my bottom all happened July 8th 2010, at least began there, I started therapy in Sept 2010. Today, I am 85 lbs lighter…. yes it took more time then a juice diet…. but I wanted and needed my results from my weightloss to be permanent not just short term, I made a LIFESTYLE CHANGE!!! I go to the gym 5 days a week and do 45 -60 min of cardio per day….. running mostly, some biking in the warmer months. I also began to lift weight to increase muscle mass and strength and my resting BMI. i still want to continue to lower my BMI and get to at least 12%…. But the Diabetes is now in good control… what does that mean? I have the A1C of a non diabetic now… after maintaining that for 5 years my doctor can clasify me as non diabetic. Cholesterol is way down… I take no meds now… for anything. I get my vitamins from healthy foods I eat, vegatables, fruits, some nuts, Chicken, Turkey, Fish and eggs… minimal beef…. i occasionaly will indulge in a food Like pizza or a piece of cake… but that is a slice or two of pizza from a small not a large or extra large and certainly not a large or extra large pizza…. As my Certified Nutritionist told me I can eat anything I want, it is about choices…. I can eat a great amount of NUTRIENT DENSE LOWER CALLORIE FOODS that will satisfy my appetite, or I can chhose the simple carb, lower nutrient unhealthy foods that will make me very hungry due to the insulin spike they proved 30 -45 min later.

    But rememebr how long you need to run for that slice of cake that may be a few bites so you enjoy with everyone else versus the huge piece with Ice Cream that will spike your sugar, impede your weightloss and make you feel ill…. My lifestyle food choices are complex carbs and very rarely, but on occasion, once every month or two months I will have an indulgence… I also do not feel well once I eat it so I typically do indulge less and less in those types of foods…

    My weightloss will be permanent because that is what I desire most, to eat and live healthy through a focus on healthy eating and excercise…. not gimmick or fad diets that will provide temporary weight loss… Any diet that you are on can make you loose weight given the right conditions, IE Calorie Restrictive, but for lasting results one must make the choice that it is a Life Style change. Lets be clear about it, a LIFESTYLE CHANGE is a change that you can adopt that will be your norm. Without that you will always go back to your old ways and put weight back on and be on that YO YO oir Rollercoaster diet again… Do you enjoy that ride… how long do you want to be on it…. the rest of your most likeley shortened life? The good news depending on your age you just have to wait for the silent heart attack to take you… it most likely will be sudden and then it will be over… How old are you now28, 38, 48? the older you are with obesity and other high risk factors the greater your chances for that heart attack or worse a stroke that will possibly turn you into what you should have been eating… a vegetable…. Do you realy want to burden your family with that…?

    I am sharring my story here in this blog to let your readers know that it is not weightloss but permanent weightloss and and overall Lifestyle change that will make them feel better and live a much longer and healther life…. I know when I was able to put on a size large shirt and I noticed it was a little large for me how good I felt, I was wearing size 2XL at my highest weight and it was snug… Now I am between a Med and a large… and my waist is 35″…. I still have a bit more to loose… But I feel better then I have in over a decade…. I am 46 YO and now I get mistaken for being in my early 30’s instead of my late 50’s….and my results will last… because that is the choice I made… what about you reader…. will you commit to a lifestyle change that is healthy and permanent…? The choice is yours and only yours…
    Sincerly,
    Chris

  34. Benjamin Ballinger

    Hey Chris, amazing reply thanks a lot for sharing your story. Just more proof that people who know what they’re talking about (like nurses and other REAL health professionals) recommend a healthy, sustainable approach to nutrition instead of trendy, pointless things like juice fasts that cost hundreds of dollars.

  35. Chris Andrews

    Your welcome Ben…. I hope some of your readers will get it now… that unless they want to follow in the steps of Oprah…. Yo Yo syndrome… and yes she has put her weight all back on and then some… they need to make a lefestyle Change that is permanent not just to loose a few pounds or 150 lbs…. At 5’8″ 135 – 140 with little muscle is what I should weigh, if I, or anyone is at 200+ lbs it better be mostly muscle…. One other thing I did not mention in my initial post was my waist at my largest was over 48″ that was a very tight barley fit in 48″ so it was most likely 50″. I was to embarassed to get the next size larger in pant enven though I felt like a sausage in my pants… I remember almost crying in the store when I went to get another pair of pants… because I was so large…. I just recently came back from a trip to Columbia South America and was delighted to be able to go into a store that had mens underwear and I could buy and fit into Medium underwear that are by GEORDI, a european disigner. I would have never thoguht I would get there…. and I was happy…. they look and feel great… I am glad to have gained so much by loosing my weight…. my self esteem is higher then in almost a decade as well… the depression is gone….

    Another health issue some of the overweight or obese readers might want to google is Fatty liver Disease…. and the fact that when they have their heart attack and the ottopsy is performed most likely they will have sclerosis of their liver, even though they were not an alchohlic…. The fat first builds around all of our organs and then our waist and body parts…. this puts a tremondous strain on our organs…. They should read and understand about the adverse effects of being obese or even overweight….
    Their was a tour going around with preserved human bodies, Body Worlds. Here is a link if anyone is able to go see an exhibit near them it is well worth it… There are examples of what a obese patients organs would look like… the direct health effects of of obesity and an unhealthy lifestyle….

    http://www.bodyworlds.com/en.html

    Cut and paste it to your browser, or google it yourself, and you can see some of this amzing exhibit…. I do not work for, nor am I afiliated with Body Worlds in any way…, I just had the opportunity to see it in Boston at the Museum of Science some time ago…. Thought I would share…. Not trying to scare anyone, just share the reality of what they have to look forward to if they contiunue to self medicate with food…. That is typically why people are obese…

    The keys to Permanent Weight loss are:

    1. Know and understand why you are Obese, what causes you to use food to self medicate.
    2. Know and accept you are an adict, your addiction is food, at least one of them. Much like an Alchoholic or drug user uses their drug of choice food is yours. Why?
    3. Learn and Embrace healthy eating and Excercise habits and embrace them throughout the rest of your life.
    4. Commit to yourself your lifestyle changes and your weightloss will become permanent.

    Another good read is Body for Life by Bill Phillips…. Look at the success stories these thousands of folks had adopting a new healthy eating, excersising, and Life Style Choice…. You commit to yourself for yourself, no one else can do this for you, only you… It is a journey…. You did not get where you are today overnight… smaller weight loss in a healthy way will provide lasting results. Bill also talks about a life style change… need more proof look at Richard Simons… Adicted to food and he battled with his weight throughout his childhood… Made a lifestyle change, created a multi million dollar empire in the process and kept his weight off…. Maybe you might get inspiration from all those thousands of people he helped to loose weight by lefstyle changes not binge or fad dieting…. Those that keep off the weight make permanent changes to eat healthy and exercise on a regular CONSISTENT BASIS….. Good Luck to everyone out their that has a strugle with weight loss… Your journey will not be easy, you may want to give up… do not….. find a friend to help loose the weight with… locate your resources that will help you succeed on your path to healthy living and you will get their… take pictures as you reach your goals… do not use food as a reward and do not look at this as a punishment, or everyone else get to eat whatever and you cant…. once you reach your goal weight and you are in your maintenance phase realize you can eat anything in moderation a that time… but MODERATION… not the whole cake or a huge slice…. or whatever your favorite comfort food is… learn and understand what are your triggers for binge eating so you can avoid them… use exercise instead of food to overcome the stress of life… Best of Luck Chris

  36. Name

    a gastroenterologist, who regularly operates on the intestines and colon,

    Gastroenterologists don’t “operate.” They’re physicians, but they’re not surgeons. The doctors who “regularly operate on the intestines and colon” are colorectal surgeons and general surgeons.

    ALSO: “Intestines” is a general term for both the large intestine (colon) and small intestine. What you meant was: “who regularly operate on the small intestines and colon.”

  37. Benjamin Ballinger

    Nice catch, thanks for the correction!

  38. Hye Jeong

    Hi Ben,

    I’ll keep it short and sweet. I loved your article. And I very much appreciate that you took your time to debunk or even at least challenge all the other juice fasting sites I have come across.

    That being said, it’s ironic that I have actually done a juice fast for 30 days. I’m not going to argue for it or recommend it to anyone else, but I will say that it had quite a powerful placebo effect mentally and emotionally. Before I was overweight, sedentary, and very unhealthy in my eating habits, but what the juice fast did for me was provide the mental kick to start living a healthy lifestyle after the fast was over.

    I wholly agree with you on the necessity of a lifestyle change for health. Maybe it was due to my particular personality, but the juice fasting really gave me the mental boost of confidence (however delusional it may have been) for me to start eating better and exercising regularly after the fast was over.

    I just wanted to to basically express my thanks for what you’ve writeen, as it challenged what I myself had even believed. I don’t endorse juice fasting in any way. And in the end, the juice fast was a mental and emotional wake up call, but the healthy lifestyle that followed was what really improved the quality of my life.

    Thanks!

  39. Ben,

    Just curious if you watch the documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead? If so what were your thoughts?

  40. Vicki

    Hello, I juice fast quite regularly and find that is has helped in many ways. It helps me combat cravings and gives me the boost I need to activate healthy living. It is a discipline for me and I like the results. Most importantly I have Lupus and RA and have suffered for years as a result. While fasting does not heal these conditions, it greatly reduces the inflammation and as a result I don’t have to take medications to achieve this. I am also under the care of a Rheumatologist and she monitors my blood work and joint function. She has been very pleased with the results. Having said that though my conditions did not involve vital organs and I wouldn’t recommend fasting for someone who is that compromised. Not without physicians supervision. Also, I was shocked the fact that people were making money from this. I live in Ontario Canada and haven’t heard of this. I bought a juicer for $60 and juice my own juices. In fact my children, who are not fasting, stand in line for fresh juice everyday because they love it. For them it is an added dimension to their regular diet and helps maintain good nutrition. Thanks

  41. Hi Ben,
    I’ve enjoyed reading the comments here just as much as the original post! I’m a little bit of an information hound. Much appreciated.
    Ben, I don’t agree with your comment that juice fasting is low carb. I think juices are incredibly high in carbs. I don’t understand how the body goes into ketosis with all that “glorified sugar water” being ingested through a juice fast. Do you think maybe the extreme reduction in fat and calories affect the processing of all those carbs? If I did a juice fast, I would be tripling my daily carb intake.

  42. Benjamin Ballinger

    I was being slightly facetious when I said it was “pure sugar water”. Vegetables don’t contain very much sugar but when juiced that’s all most of what gets through, as all the fiber is filtered out. I actually said juicing was low calorie, not low carb (although it is low carb as well as long as we’re talking vegetable juice and not fruit juice). There is still some protein that gets through and perhaps an insignificant amount of fat, but again we’re talking at MOST 600 calories per day, and possibly quite less.

  43. mike

    well…i did a 60 day juice fast becuase of high cholesterol and 45 pounds overweight and had nafdl (non alcoholic fatty liver) and enlarged prostste…..guess waht? alllll goonnnneeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!! somethnig weird huh? medical mumbo jumbo i guess….lmao

  44. Rachel

    Ben, you did imply that juicing was low carb when you said that the body is going into ketosis.

    Also, what is your response to Kate on November 2?

    Your attitude is poor, my friend. I get that it’s your blog, but what is a blog without readers? You surely respond in a condescending and unpleasant way to people who don’t agree with you. Unfortunate.

  45. Benjamin Ballinger

    Rachel,

    As I clearly stated in my last reply, VEGETABLE juicing would be low carb, not fruit juicing. However, you don’t have to be at zero grams of carbohydrates to enter ketosis, it tends to range from 50-100g per day depending on the person.

    I don’t have a response for Kate… she gave some anecdotal story about how she “felt” it worked and claims to be a scientist, which is somewhat irrelevant because an anecdotal story from a scientist is no more credible than one from your next door neighbor.

    The cool thing about being a real person is that people you don’t want to associate with tend to filter themselves out because they get offended or upset when you don’t hold back. I don’t really mind that you find my attitude poor… I am not writing this blog for those who insist that this disproven stuff is legitimate—I’m writing it for my clients to educate them on all the bullshit that’s out there.

    I don’t need to appeal to everyone so if you’d prefer to read about coffee enemas and hippy science, you’re free to visit those kinds of blogs and websites all you want—nobody is forcing you to read my articles or comments. Have a good one!

  46. Rachel

    Ben,

    Thanks for your response. Sorry, your ARTICLE did not clearly state vegetable juice (as opposed to fruit juice), but I did notice your clarification in your recent comment. A lot of people who juice fast drink vegetable and fruit juice and are most certainly still consuming more than 100g/day of carb. They still report body odor and “stank breath”. I’m not refuting your general claims; I am only pointing out that ketosis is not the obvious answer for these individuals. Nothing more. Nothing less.

    You must have an interesting group of clients with an attitude like that. I would certainly be interested in what you have to say, but would not seek out a service from someone with an attitude such as yourself.

    I have never said I ascribe to beliefs in coffee enemas or hippy science or even in juice fasting. Your indication that you believe as such shows illogical reasoning on your part. I was only commenting on something that you made public.

    Best to you.

  47. Hao Ng.

    Ben,

    I agree with Rachel, your attitude to the public is totally not accepted. I have no offense to you or your article, but the way you presented the article and in your response is not accepted. How about right now, in this comment, I say “eating too much hamburgers is BULLSHIT”?

    My partner and I have been on juice fasting (with some light vegetable foods for dinner) for 10 days, and we all feel very good and energetic.

    Day 1 and day 2: a little headache.
    Day 2 till now: The happiness moment of our bodies lives.

    I suggest you should try-it-for-real yourself for 10 days, and then tell us what you think and experience.

    Regards.

  48. Maxxy

    Wow lots of opinions on here. I was just looking at one of the living social ads and saw that $300 5 day detox. I think that’s crazy but I don’t think doing a juice fast is so outlandish. It’s not long-term lifestyle choice but used for the correct purposes that one can determine for themselves, I’m all for it. I just started mine, on my second week and I feel great. My body needed the nutrients and for me its inexpensive. Farmer’s Market- fruit /veggies are a bit cheaper than grocery stores. A juicer is nothing more than an investment in any other kitchen appliance you may want like good knives or a good stove.

    As far as all the scientific facts I’ve read on here, I just laugh. Science is not always based on facts, more than not, it’s merely opinions and gestimates. Science delivered the Big Bang Theory to us and all our classrooms, well that’s a wash considering there’s no oxygen in space to cause a combustion. Many scientist believe there is no Creator, yet everything has a Creator. Think not? Put a hammer, some nails and some wood in a box and shake it for a million years. Will you have a house? An intricate building of some sort? Not! Simply researching the misconceptions of others doesn’t make it fact. It just simply means you were fooled too.

    If juicing works for you, juice on! If it doesn’t, then it doesn’t. As far as the scams go, yes those are wrong but the bottomline is people will take anything and try to make money off of it. If someone is crazy enough to purchase a 5 detox program for $300 I’m going to sell them the shavings from my juicer for $50 a bag.

  49. Benjamin Ballinger

    Maxxy, your understanding of the Big Bang is completely inaccurate and pretty much renders your argument invalid. Do you honestly think physicists are so stupid as to “miss” that space is a vacuum? The Big Bang wasn’t combustion, it was an expansion at an extremely fast rate of matter from an incredibly-small, massive point to what is today the still expanding universe.

  50. Todd

    Ben,

    Thanks for a great article and even better debate in the comments! Really enjoyed it and appreciate your application of logic, science, and sticking to your position.

    I’ve recently added a juicer to my kitchen and have been juicing veggies as much as possible after being inspired by Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. My goal is to replace processed foods and trick myself into consuming lots more veggies. Thrilled with the results so far and not missing the processed foods as much as I thought I would.

    Wanted to add a couple thoughts to your discussion. One is the point on Protein. I’ve been shocked to learn how protein-rich a lot of the veggies are. In fact, they can be more protein rich than meats, when compared calorie for calorie. Still trying to rationalize that since we’ve always been taught “gotta eat meat for protein.”

    Second, is a link to the presentation “Sugar: The Bitter Truth”.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM
    This presentation, by Robert Lustig MD Professor at UCSF, is absolutely astounding. He does an amazing job of breaking down the process by which our bodies use food. It’s a long video, but a great story that completely supports the point about how sugar laden juices (natural or otherwise) and the sugar in processed food in our diets is killing Americans. Lots of studies and references provided, but the story itself is gripping!

    Keep up the great discussion, and thanks again!

    Cheers

  51. Cj

    I began the fast about two days ago. And already I feel guilty for wasting too much of the valuable parts of food I should be consuming. However, I desperately feel compelled to try due to similar type/illnesses I share with star/advocate of Fat Sick and Nearly Dead. Before I came down with this illness almost one year ago, I had been almost a year into a saner and improved lifestyle change of a balanced diet and exercise, losing about 30 pounds. Now, I am hoping that a few weeks of juicing will be the catalyst I need to get me back to the beginning of normal.

  52. john cummings

    Ben

    I started juice fasting 12 years ago progressing from one ten day fast a year to two, ten day fast
    interspersed with four, four day fasts as I am now doing. I use collards, kale, broccoli, parsley, celery, and granny smith apples to make a juice which I drink twice a day. I also drink twice a day one tsp each of chlorella and spirulina in eight ounces of distilled water along with six ounces
    of herbal tea (green, slippery elm bark etc.), 1 tsp of liquid minerals in four ounces of pure cranberry juice mixed with 4 ounces of distilled water and sixty four ounces of distilled water. I also take a lemon juice and distilled water cleansing and a coffee retention enema each day during the fast. I continue may normal routine of fast walking 3.5 miles per day six days a week but cut back my push ups to one set of 80 instead of my usual two sets on the two weight lifting days and four or five on my non lifting days. I continue to take essential vitamins during the fast. When I started juice fasting I was troubled by arthritis. Now I have that pretty much under control. I’m 77 years old but don’t look it or feel it , have a 32 inch waist and weigh what I did
    when I graduated from high school. I don’t spend any more on fasting material in fact less than
    I do on food since I eat well; Sword fish, steak, wild salmon in season, chicken and roast beef.
    Those are the “Eat Right For Your Type” blood, type O, foods recommended by Peter j D’Adamo.
    I also eat whole grain cereal with blue berries and hemp milk every day for breakfast. I have
    a spinach, broccoli, avocado, onion and chopped walnut salad with my own special dressing
    made with fresh oregano, parsley, and basil, fresh garlic, walnut oil, olive oil, hemp oil and
    flax seed oil every day for lunch. For dinner I have steamed broccoli and collards and either
    boiled rutabaga, or butternut squash to go with the protein listed above. Once a week I go
    all vegetarian, with black beans, my own recipe. Basically I eat low a G.I. DIet.
    I responding to your bashing because I have been there and done that and know juice fasting works but it’s not for everyone. And by the way juice fasting is not to loose weight because your metabolism slows down to accommodate the reduced caloric intake. I As you said most of the loss is water. However 30% of the loss will be fat. Juice fasting is for health. It addresses a myriad of problems. Check fasting section in “Prescription for Nutritional Healing”
    by Balch.
    John

  53. jaime

    http://www.hulu.com/watch/289122/fat-sick-and-nearly-dead
    This guy did the whole juice fast for a long time and proved it works. watch the movie

  54. richard

    Are there any diets that mix vegetable/fruit juicing with real foods that you would recommend?

  55. Will

    Your arguments would be more respected if you used a better recognized reference format, and cut out the language. As someone who cites things like the “slippery slope fallacy” you should know better than using “absolutes” in your argument.

    I bet you’re a republican.

    Also, your hair looks stupid.

    http://www.nobeliefs.com/fallacies.htm

  56. Joanna

    Ben,

    Your attitude is awful. I don’t care if it’s your personal blog, if you want to be taken seriously, you will change your attitude. Anyway, I read your ridiculous article. I also read the personal stories of everyone that commented. Obviously, juice fasting works for the people who stick with it. That alone debunks your ‘debunking’. What can logically be wrong with having nothing but veggies and fruit? Nothing. I’m starting my first juice fast tomorrow. I will be adding the pulp back in, as I know that the body needs both soluable and insoluable fibers. I will report back with my own results. 🙂

  57. Joe

    For the record this post is based on my personal experience and that alone. I wouldn’t normally chime in but feel that I can add value to both sides of the argument for and against juice fasting.

    I went on a juice diet approximately one year ago for 12 days and lost 15 pounds. I am a highly active person, 29 years old and decided to go on the fast in lieu of a low carb diet as I was about 20 lbs overweight and skeptical of the claims to juicing yet intrigued. Prior to juicing I was eating a diet consisting of high protein, good carbs, and little to no fresh veggies.

    Roughly half of my juice was from carrots and celery, the other half was from tomatoes, kale, chard, collard greens, spinach, and half of an apple to add some flavor. I estimate that I was getting roughly 1200-1500 and drinking the juice 5-6 times a day to keep my metabolism up and adding fruit juice to my drinks before doing anything physical. Additionally I was supplementing fish oil and flaxseed oil for my rda of omega 3 and saturated fat.

    While juicing I refrained from my usual workout, riding my bike, and pretty much anything physical to prevent muscle atrophy as restricting carbs and calories and being active is counterproductive. On a few occasions I couldn’t avoid working up a sweat and made sure to add more fruit juice/carbs to my juice beforehand and after.

    During these 12 days I notably had some of the best sleep I have ever experienced in my life. I could concentrate better, I was more optimistic, overall I felt better than I had in years. My complexion looked better than it has, my skin tone had a glow to it, I had bags under my eyes go away. I could think better and felt better. I would have attempted to go about it longer but didn’t want to chance loosing substantial muscle mass.

    To transition back to a regular diet I avoided meat for three days and basically ate the foods I was juicing and added in nuts, so basically I ate salads and fruit. I later added in meats. In the gym I wasn’t where I left off, I did loose some progress and it took about two weeks to regain my strength. In these two weeks I gained five lbs back which I assume was water weight. I did notice that my metabolism was a bit slower than prior to the diet, and my energy levels were lower.

    In retrospect I don’t feel that a juice fast is right for everyone, at least not long term juice fasts. Obviously obese individuals stand more to gain from lets say a 30 day juice fast than someone who is 10lbs overweight. In my situation I found that I was eating incredibly too much meat and my body was lacking was the micronutrients found in raw foods. Since my juice diet I have continued to eat raw veggies on the daily, and reduce my consumption of high fat meats, refined sugars and processed foods. If I didn’t have the willpower to tough it through the 12 days of the juice diet I don’t think I would have the willpower to eat the way I do today. It was the catalyst of a change in my diet that I needed. To each their own.

    I could see how individuals who live sedentary lives could yoyo diet with a juice fast as the behaviors that made you overweight are not corrected with drinking juice in place of food. We ought to eat well balanced meals of the right portions at the right time, tailored to match the activities of their lifestyle.

    I train hard and have experienced the pros and cons of a juice fast. Furthermore I only partially agree with some of the authors claims. Having said that I am about to start a juice fast inspired diet to kickstart my summer cut/high intensity training regimin. I am shooting for 15 lbs in 14 days. I am going to eliminate all meat and am shooting for about 1500-1800 calories with the exception of sardines for omega 3’s and calcium 6 days a week and lots of water. It will look something like this and involve either low intensity biking and or walking for about 45 minutes each day.

    Day 1: 1 can of sardines in the am and evening and 5 servings of veggies juice throughout the day.
    Day 2: 5 servings of veggies juice throughout the day
    Day 3: 1 can of sardines in the am and evening and 5 servings of veggies juice throughout the day.
    Day 4: sardines Complex carb load with juice, 45 min circuit training, more carbs and juice sardines
    Day 5: 1 can of sardines in the am and evening and 5 servings of veggies juice throughout the day.
    Day 6: sardines Complex carb load with juice, 45 min circuit training, more carbs and juice sardines
    Day 7: sardines Liquid carb load with juice, 1hr high intensity cardio, more carbs and juice sardines
    Repeat for 2nd week… or I might have an all out cheat day on day 8.

    I am not advocating that this is a long term sustainable diet, but a better alternative to a juice fast, at least for active people. It also addresses the conditioning of good eating habits such as, good carbs, 5 meals a day, and portion control.

    All things in moderation. What are your thoughts Ben?

    Mind you I am transitioning from a bulking regimin so I expect to loose a bit of muscle mass.

  58. john cummings

    richard
    Many people who do not juice fast do juice. I drink one glass of my green vegetable drink every
    day which helps keep my ph in balance and is a good nutrition source. This drink combines with
    all foods. You have to be careful with fruit juicing because of high sugar which can promote
    type 2 diabetes, candida, (I have both) and it doesn’t combine well with other foods. Check
    a food combination chart.
    John

  59. Halen

    This Benjamin guy is a pompous ass who only thinks that he has any idea of what he’s talking about. I’ve been researching this fast for days now and this is the FIRST negative thing I’ve heard about it. How do you explain people being cured of heart,lung and liver diseases while fasting? The “placebo effect” idea and also the idea that you only feel better because you felt worse at the start of the diet are completely ridiculous. Why don’t you go write about something that you can actually comprehend. Like being inaccurate.

  60. JT

    Dude…you sound angry! I am 60 years old, and have been doing 3 day juice fasts since I was 21. I have never expected miracles from fasting, but i have always seen nothing but positive results. I use carrots, so at the end of my 3 days, my skin and hair look beautiful! My eyes become clear and bright. Many religions around the world encourage fasting, so if you are going to fast….do it correctly. It gives your body a much needed rest, teaches one self-discipline and wakes up the body’s need for healthy food. You are sounding so…..”legalistic” in your opinion of a simple but healthy 3 day juice fast….you might want to try one yourself, before you become such a “preacher of doom” on the subject.

  61. Bird

    I strongly disagree with your whole article. My mother had stage 3 colon cancer and cured herself with raw foods and long periods of juice fasting.

  62. Jason

    Ben,
    Thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog. You have refuted all poorly misinformed claims with wit, science and evidence, something the juice fasting minority have clearly demonstrated they know very little about. You have probably become tired of repeating yourself, and I wouldn’t expect you to continue wasting your time with some of the illogical replies, hate and childish name calling from these people, especially when you have made a fantastic effort in maintaining both a scientific and moral high ground. Halen, for example, I hope you’re “days” of research included peer reviewed, evidence based research published by highly commended journals. The fact you find little negative posts in your “google” searches is hardly surprising; this may be due to the fact that the people who do post “negative” things based on scientific evidence are bastardized for it and are simply sick of of wasting their breath explaining simple biochemistry.

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