Why (some) Detox can be “bad” for you?

To many people, “detox” means fasting, and/or sustaining on liquids and starvation. While fasting may be a way to detoxify, and we believe vegetable juicing generally supports a healthy diet, we do not advocate an extreme diet like liquid fasting for urban detoxing…

Fasting as a health practice has been performed since ancient times, and when performed carefully, with REST and proper guidance, can not only support physical cleansing, but also spiritual development.

But you do not necessarily achieve more detox results by going more extreme in your dieting.  In fact an extreme diet like a juice fast may cause more harm than good in today’s situation, here’s why:

– Any starvation diet sends the body into a “famine” mode and causes stress to our already over-worked adrenals.  This is especially the case if you carry out the diet while going about your “normal” life.  In order to stay alert and functioning, more stress hormones need to be made and this exhausts the usually already weakened adrenals (common for most people nowadays) and can cause a cascade of problems.
– A juice diet is high in sugar and low in many nutrients, especially protein and fat (which we do need to detoxify, especially modern toxins).
– Many juice fast uses very high G.I. sweeteners (e.g. maple syrup) or sweet fruits (e.g. pineapple and melon).  So a juice fast can have negative effect on blood sugar and our insulin regulation mechanism, which may then aggravates pre-diabetic or diabetic conditions, weight gain, etc
– More muscle loss takes place on a juice fast than on a detox diet that is more nutritionally balanced.
– Even though weight loss may result from a juice fast, sustaining the weight loss after such a diet is harder and bounce-back is more likely.
– Prolonged fasting can cause nutrient deficiency and poses harm to kidney and heart health.


Even if you do rest to assist detoxification, consider this: we now have many times more toxins in our body, and poisonous toxins that never before existed in nature.  So is a traditional liquid fast enough to detoxify modern toxins?

– A traditional liquid fast often does not provide enough nutrients for effective detoxification in the liver as what it has to deal with nowadays is much more complex and enormous than many generations ago.
– Detoxification through extreme diet often results with more unpleasant detox reactions due to insufficient support to the liver.   (In fact many detox reactions like strong headaches, tiredness etc can be mitigated if nutrient intake of the detox diet is better managed.)

Other reasons why you may not want to embark on a fast too readily are:
– A liquid fast can be dangerous for people trying to conceive as hormones require fat to be made.
– Many traditional cleanses involve liquid diets with the use of laxatives and harsh fibre like psyllium husk.  Prolonged use damages gut health and immunity, and makes the body more susceptible to infections and inflammation.
– A liquid fast can suppress an already slow metabolism and weak immunity.  It poses stress and does not help those who have a “deficient” 虛and “cold” 涼body constitution (TCM point of view) at all.


Is juice fasting any good then?

This depends on the person and the length and intensity of the fast.
Most people can benefit from juicing if they do not sustain solely on it.  You may even truly do well on a juice fast if you are

– someone who has a robust metabolism and has healthy blood sugar and adrenals
– someone who has very low level of stress and will be able to rest while fasting
– someone who is not underweight nor has low blood pressure
– someone who has been following a detox diet and would like to incorporate a short juice fast into it

One day of a juice fast generally would not hurt you if you are healthy, or up to three days in a stretch.
While seemingly cheaper (sure you save some grocery money by starving yourself!), juicing and extreme dieting is not the only way to detoxify, in fact it never was.  Being intelligent and listening to your body is the key!

How do we approach effective detoxification at i-Detox?
All our programs are not fasting-based for reasons already covered.  Instead, our programs are designed to incorporate high quality superfoods and wholefoods into the urban lifestyle, with healthy blood sugar, digestion, hormonal balance and long-term optimal health in mind.