Juice fasting has become an increasingly popular way to do a short-term cleanse or “reset” the digestive system. By consuming only fruit and vegetable juices for a period of time, some people aim to give their body a break from solid food while flooding it with vitamins and minerals.
But can you drink water during a juice fast, or should you stick to juices only? Here’s what you need to know.
What is juice fasting?
Juice fasting involves only drinking fruit and vegetable juices for a set period of time, such as 1-7 days or longer. Some popular juices used for fasting include:
- Celery juice
- Green juice with kale, spinach, cucumber, etc.
- Carrot juice
- Apple juice
- Lemon juice
- Ginger juice
- Beet juice
The goal is to flood your body with nutrients while giving your digestive system a rest from solid foods. Some benefits claimed by juice fasters include:
- Improved digestion and gut health
- Elimination of toxins
- Increased energy
- Better skin
- Weight loss
- Reduced inflammation
Can you drink water during a juice fast?
Yes, you can and should drink water while juice fasting. Here are some reasons why:
Drinking only juices provides fluid, but may not fully hydrate your body the way water does. Juices lack the same level of water volume compared to pure water.
Drinking adequate water is crucial to prevent dehydration, which can cause side effects like:
- Dry mouth
Experts recommend drinking at least 64 ounces (8 cups) of water daily as a general guideline. Drinking extra water while juice fasting can help compensate for your lower fluid intake from solid foods.
Support kidney function
Your kidneys require adequate water intake to function properly. Chronic dehydration taxes the kidneys and could put strain on these organs over time.
Drinking water helps flush toxins and waste from the kidneys. This prevents kidney problems like kidney stones from developing.
Avoid over-consuming juices
Sticking to mainly water prevents drinking too much juice. Fruit juices contain a lot of natural sugar with less fiber content compared to whole fruits.
Consuming large amounts of fruit juice can spike blood sugar levels. Replacing some juices with water helps cut back on excess sugars.
Drinking water can temporarily make you feel fuller between juices. This helps satisfy hunger on a fast when you’re not eating solid meals.
One study found that drinking two 8-ounce glasses of water before breakfast decreased hunger and calorie intake at the meal.
Support bowel regularity
Without solid food intake, constipation is a common side effect of juice fasting. Staying hydrated is key for regular bowel movements.
Drinking adequate water softens stool and allows it to pass more easily through the digestive tract. Water also stimulates the natural contraction of your intestines that pushes along stool.
How much water should you drink while juice fasting?
There are no strict guidelines for water intake during a juice fast. Aim to drink water when you feel thirsty or have a dry mouth.
As a general recommendation, try to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. This equals around 64 ounces or 2 liters.
However, your individual water needs may differ based on factors like:
- Your activity level
- Climate and temperature
- How much juice you’re consuming
- Any medications or supplements you take that may affect hydration
Increase your water intake if you’re sweating heavily, such as during exercise. You may also need extra hydration in hot weather or at high altitudes.
Monitor your urine color as an easy way to gauge if you’re drinking enough water. Pale yellow to clear urine means you’re well hydrated. Dark yellow urine indicates you need more fluids.
Tips for staying hydrated
Here are some tips to help you drink enough water during a juice fast:
- Carry a water bottle with you throughout the day for easy sipping access
- Set a reminder to drink water at regular intervals, such as every 1-2 hours
- Infuse your water with fruits or herbs to add flavor without calories
- Opt for hot water with lemon which can aid digestion
- Try sparkling water if you crave carbonation
- Use an app to track your daily water intake
- Place sticky notes around your home to remind you to drink water
Risks of drinking only juices without water
There are some risks associated with juice-only fasts without also drinking water. These include:
- Dehydration: As mentioned above, juices alone don’t provide enough fluid to keep the body adequately hydrated.
- Nutrient deficiencies: While juices provide vitamins and minerals, they lack protein which water fasting could lead to.
- Blood sugar spikes: The natural sugars in juice can elevate blood sugar when consumed excessively without water or fiber from whole fruits and veggies.
- Dental erosion: Some acidic juices like lemon juice may erosion tooth enamel over time, especially when consumed frequently without adequate water.
- Electrolyte imbalance: Only drinking juice and no water could potentially lead to electrolyte disturbances from lack of sodium, potassium, and other minerals.
For these reasons, it’s highly recommended to include some water intake as part of a juice fast.
The bottom line
You can and should drink water while juice fasting. Water helps prevent dehydration, supports kidney function, satisfies hunger, and aids regular bowel movements when only consuming juices.
Aim for around 64 ounces or eight glasses of water daily as a minimum. Adjust your water intake based on thirst, activity level, and urine color. Drinking herbal tea, sparkling water, broth, and other non-caloric beverages can also help keep you hydrated.
Staying well hydrated can help you safely follow a juice fast without experiencing negative side effects.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How much water should I drink per day when juice fasting?
Drink at least 64 ounces (8 cups) of water per day as a minimum. Drink more if you are exercising, in hot weather, or producing dark yellow urine.
2. What happens if you only drink juice and no water?
Drinking only juice without water can lead to dehydration with symptoms like fatigue, dizziness, and confusion. It may also cause blood sugar spikes and electrolyte imbalances.
3. Can I drink coffee or tea during a juice fast?
Unsweetened coffee and tea are usually allowed during juice fasts, as they provide additional fluids. But caffeinated beverages may interfere with restful sleep.
4. Is lemon water okay to drink while juice fasting?
Yes, lemon water is a great way to add flavor and get some fluid. Just avoid very large amounts of straight lemon juice which can erode tooth enamel.
5. Can I drink broth while juicing?
Yes, broth provides hydration and minerals so it’s fine to include during a juice fast. Go for low-sodium vegetable or bone broth.
The Bottom Line
Drinking water while juice fasting is recommended to prevent dehydration and related side effects. Aim for at least 64 ounces (8 cups) daily along with herbal tea, sparkling water, broth, and other non-caloric beverages. Water supports your body’s needs and helps make fasting comfortable and sustainable.