Juice cleanses seem to be all the rage on and off college campuses, joining a long list of health fads that have spread like wildfire across the country. A juice cleanse is said to rid the body of toxins by consuming nothing but juices made from raw fruits and vegetables for up to seven days. Many companies have cashed in on this fad; some that make the list are Blue Print Juice, Cooler Cleanse, and Juice Press. For those that love a good bacon cheese burger, the concept sounds exhausting. For those that have been told balanced diets have plenty of things like protein and calcium, the concept sounds dangerous.
According to the websites of some of the companies partaking in this juice cleanse culture, a cleanse is exactly what an over-stressed, bad-habit possessing body needs. For anyone that finds the aforementioned description extremely familiar, a cleanse can seem like a great solution. Cooler Cleanse’s website says that a juice cleanse will help your body “run better, look brighter and younger,” as well as feel “cleaner, lighter, more energized, clearer in mind and body.” Juice Press’s website says, “fasting with juice is a safe way to eliminate dietary mistakes while maintaining needed nutrition.” However, this claim is quickly followed by a disclaimer stating, “we do not diagnose illness or prescribe treatment of any type.”
In an interview with Health magazine, Dr. Glenn Braunstein said that our bodies have natural detoxifiers, so they don’t need to be forced through a cleanse. The article also went onto say that while the discipline involved in a juice cleanse might help to get rid of some nasty habits, it won’t cause any lasting weight loss like many people think it will. Slate.com took a very firm position in the juice craze, posting an article entitled “Stop Juicing: It’s not healthy, it’s not virtuous, and it makes you seem like a jerk.” Slate summed up its analysis by saying that “Juice cleanses accomplish exactly none of their physiological or medical objectives; they fetishize a weird, obsessive relationship with food, and they are part of a social shift that reduces health (mental, physical, and, sure, spiritual) to a sign of status. They’re annoying as hell.”
So, bottom line? Be careful. Fruit and vegetable rich diets are great, but depriving your body of essential vitamins and minerals can be risky in the long term, especially if you have a preexisting health condition or like to exercise a lot. So juice away, but at the first sign of trouble, see a doctor.
Originally posted on Melanie’s blog, http://obsessivecompulsiveundergrad.wordpress.com/.