Fasting, Cleansing, Detoxing
Question: What do you think about the idea of doing a three-day juice diet for health, cleanse, and weight loss? The diet would be purchased from a company that specializes in juice cleanses.
Answer: Cleanse and detox programs are sold to the naive in the health-and-fitness crowd. Limiting one’s intake of food and drinking juices for a few days can’t rid one of environmental toxins accumulated in one’s tissues. Real detoxification therapy is done under medical supervision and may involve carefully monitored heat treatment with administration of supplements–not to be done by the inexpert. And treating heavy metal toxicity by chelation therapy is an even more serious matter.
Just for your information, here is my layman’s guide to fasting, cleansing, and detoxing:
During a fast, after using up one’s store of glycogen within the first 2 or 3 days, one feeds on one’s own tissues, beginning with those least critical for survival. So, the nervous, circulatory, and respiratory systems are spared; what is consumed are mainly fat stores and, to a lesser (but not small) degree, protein from muscles and other organs. Ketosis (result of metabolizing fats without adequate carbohydrates) begins between the 3rd and 4th day of the fast and reaches its peak usually between the 7th and 10th day. At that time one can experience headaches, nausea, and other unpleasant symptoms. After the 8th or 10th day of the fast, one usually feels better for about 10 days, after which organs may become damaged, and so medical supervision is needed for fasts this long.
Usually within the second or third week of fasting, one’s breath and sweat have a foul smell. This is a sign of toxins released from metabolized tissues–no foul smell, no release of toxins. The foul smell may persist into the 6th week of the fast. So for a thorough true cleanse, fast up to six weeks.
Short Cleanse Programs
If you eat foods that abuse your digestive system, then a couple or few days of fasting will make you feel better–it will be a respite from the abuse. Feeling better after such a brief fast is due chiefly to not eating bad stuff rather than to fancy cleansing programs with their juices and supplements. In other words, if you feel better when you don’t eat your usual foods, then you should not be eating them–duh! On the other hand, if you can’t change your eating habits, then those short rest periods for your body do make sense, but the cleansing bull–not so much.
If you eat optimally you don’t need cleansing programs.
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Tags: cleansing, detoxing, Dr. Jan Kwaśniewski, fasting, health and fitness, juice cleanses, Optimal Nutrition, Thomas Kurz, toxins, weight-loss