History and Benefits of Diets The Juice Fast

About the history and benefits of Dr. Airola's Juice Fast diet.


The Juice Fast

The Head Man: Americans have been brainwashed by high-protein propaganda and other commercially motivated theories of nutrition, according to Paavo O. Airola. A leading proponent of fasting, he was born in Finland, claimed a Ph.D. in nutrition from the University of Leningrad in 1939, and later moved to the U.S., where he was awarded an N.D. (Doctor of Naturopathy) from the Brantridge Forest School (1966). Europeans satisfy their nutritional needs with a high-natural-carbohydrate, low-animal-protein diet, Airola points out, and they visit popular spas offering two-and three-week courses of fasting. In his books Are You Confused? (1971) and How to Keep Slim, Healthy and Young with Juice Fasting (1971), Airola makes the case for fasting as a means to cure disease and rejuvenate and revitalize the body, while losing weight in the process. After a few days of fasting, he explains, the body begins to burn and digest its own tissues--a process called autolysis--and to expel accumulated toxins and metabolic wastes. He considers a juice fast preferable to a water fast because juice provides vital nutrients that are absorbed into the bloodstream without interfering with the process of autolysis.

Overview: It is safe to fast for up to 40 days on water alone, according to Airola, and up to 100 days on juice, for therapeutic or healing purposes. For reducing, however, he recommends a series of 7-to 10-day fasts, which are safe to undertake without medical supervision, provided you are in good health. (Vitamin supplements and most drugs should be discontinued while fasting.)

Fasting should begin with a purgative such as castor oil to cleanse the bowels. An enema should be administered at least once daily, in the morning, and preferably twice, to help rid the body of toxic wastes. And since one third of all wastes are eliminated through the skin, Airola recommends dry-brush massage to keep the pores open and stimulate circulation and elimination.

Airola's recommended daily regime consists of herb tea at 9:00 A.M.; a glass of freshly squeezed fruit juice diluted 50-50 with water at 11:00 A.M. and a glass of vegetable juice or broth at 1:00 P.M.; tea again at 4:00 P.M.; and diluted vegetable or fruit juice at 7:00 P.M. Total liquid intake, including water, should be six to eight glasses or more daily. Get plenty of exercise, do some sunbathing if possible, and take hot and cold baths.

It is important to break the fast gradually, beginning with small quantities of fruit and vegetables and adding yogurt, potatoes, and bread on the third day. On the fourth day return to a normal diet. (Airola favors whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, which he calls "the true macrobiotic diet"--not to be confused with the Zen macrobiotic diet.) Vitamin and mineral supplements (especially vitamin C) should be taken daily, Airola claims, both to prevent malnutrition and to combat toxins.

Pro: Hunger actually can be easier to tolerate on a fast than on a restricted diet. Airola's insistence on natural foods for good nutrition provides a diet free of sugar and additives and low in cholesterol. Also, since the diet has minimal animal protein, it is inexpensive to follow.

Con: Fasting without medical supervision can result in liver and kidney damage. Often, weight loss through fasting is temporary, because the dieter soon returns to faulty eating habits. Raw foods, which Airola claims have superior enzyme action to cooked food, are actually no more valuable; the body synthesizes its own enzymes from both cooked and raw foods.

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