Popular (and unhealthy) fasts I don’t recommend
When done right, intermittent fasting is safe and offers many health benefits. Fasting only becomes dangerous when done incorrectly. Which is why I don’t recommend the following popular fasts:
This one is simple. You only drink water during your fast to stay hydrated. No tea, coffee, or even vitamins–only water.You’ll experience rapid weight loss as you’re not taking in any calories during this period. But because you’re not taking in any calories, you’re also not getting any nutrients your body needs.And while it may look like you’re dropping weight rapidly, it’s mostly just water weight. Which means, once you’re off the fast, you’ll gain those pounds back almost instantly.
Even worse, women tend to overdo this fast. They go for extra-long periods of no food (longer than the maximum 32 hours I recommend), and they end up cranky, light-headed, and all-around uncomfortable.
Finally, this type of fast is hard to maintain, especially as your body gets hungry throughout the day.
Juice Fasting, A.K.A. Juice Cleanse
Juice shops are everywhere and many of them offer juice “cleanses.”
What’s different about these cleanses is, they typically last for 3–7 days in a ROW, where I recommend fasting on non-consecutive days. Thus, for several days your body is missing essential proteins, fats, and fiber.
For example, you can purchase a 3-day cleanse where you get 18 bottles of cold-pressed juice (kale, spinach, apple, celery, mint, to name a few) and consume 6 per day.
If you buy a cleanse, it can cost way over $100 just for 3 days. Or, you can make the juice yourself. But you’ll need a pricey juicer and TONS of veggies and fruits. And don’t forget all the labor involved. Washing, chopping, and cleaning. It’s a lot of work for such a small glass of juice.
One of the most common side effect of juice cleanses is uncomfortable bowel movements due to a lack of fiber. This means a lot of people on juice cleanses end up spending more time in the bathroom than normal. Definitely not convenient for a busy schedule.
In a fruit fast, you can eat whole fruits during your fasting period. They must be fresh and raw in order to qualify. In some cases, you use only ONE fruit throughout the entire fast…and then you could never eat that fruit again because you’re sick of it.While fruit fasting provides fiber and less calories than a juice cleanse, it’s still missing protein. Thus, while it’s slightly better than a juice fast, fruit fasting is still not ideal or sustainable.
Warning: Avoid These Fasts At All Cost
Intermittent fasting with bone broth is the absolute best way to fast. It’s the safest, healthiest, most effective, and sustainable option.
And I don’t recommend water fasting, juice fasting or fruit fasting. But most of all, I must warn you about two fasts that you should NEVER attempt:
Complete or dry
This extreme fast doesn’t provide all the benefits we’ve talked about with fasting in general. An absolute dry fast contains NO food or water.
The good news is, you’re not allowed to wash the dishes. The bad news is, you won’t be able to clean yourself and you WILL be dehydrated.
I see no good reason to ever deprive yourself of water.
I once stumbled upon an article about juice cleanses where a local juice shop owner bragged about how she can go 21 days on a juice cleanse.
However, as I mentioned before, once you hit a certain time frame with fasts, there are diminishing returns.
The truth is, 21 days is an insanely long time to go without protein, healthy fats, and good carbs your body needs.
I’ll repeat this again: even though on the surface the weighing scale says you lost 15 pounds on the juice fast, most of it is water weight. Which means when you get off the fast, you’ll gain it back almost immediately. Remember, we want to lose the pounds from fat, not water.
This long-term juice cleanse is certainly not a lifestyle change–it’s just another form of yo-yo dieting.
Bottom line: If you’re ready to give fasting a try to lose weight and improve your health, you need a fast that’s easy to do AND good for you. Something you can follow long-term and will give your body all the nutrients it needs–a.k.a. intermittent fasting.
Is intermittent fasting safe for everyone?
As I’ve mentioned several times in this article, intermittent fasting is generally safe. And I recommend it to mostly all of my patients. But, there are some cases when mini-fasting is not appropriate. I don’t recommend intermittent fasting if you’re:
- Pregnant or trying to become pregnant
- Under 18
Also, if you have any health challenges or take prescribed medications, be sure to consult with your physician before giving intermittent fasting a try.
Intermittent fasting is here to stay!
Intermittent fasting is not a diet trend. It’s a lifestyle change that thousands of people across the nation have used to lose weight, burn fat, and improve their health. And it’s here to stay.
In fact, I appeared on the Dr. Oz Show to bust the myth about fasting and share how mini-fasting helps you lose AND keep weight off in as little as 5 days.