[Juice Fasts] Good for You or for the Birds?

Birds don’t do it. Bees don’t do it. So why the heck should human beings do it?

They shouldn’t, according to Susan Blum, MD, of the Blum Center for Health in Rye Brook. “I don’t believe in juicing as a detox strategy—it can do more harm than good,” she says. The human body already has a built-in detox system that works just fine—the liver—which needs many nutrients, especially protein, to do its job, Dr. Blum notes. “Juices,” Dr. Blum continues, “give the body concentrated vitamins. But the starvation aspect to juice cleanses is not optimal. While juicing for one day might be okay, longer juice fasting can actually be harmful. Many juices are high in sugar, which can damage the insulin system.” In addition, says Blum, because juice fasts do not have any protein, the liver can run short of the amino acids it needs to clear toxins out of the body.