The Dangers of a Juice Cleanse

"New year, new me!" read all the Facebook posts I've read lately about new fitness routines, health goals, diets, and worst of all, juice cleanses.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for getting healthy, and a new season offers a perfect motivation factor for adopting a new lifestyle. However, there's a big difference between adopting a healthy lifestyle and a juice cleanse.

On the outside, they seem promising- juice comes from fruit, you get plenty of vitamin C, and tons of people claim to shed tens of pounds by drinking instead of eating. But giving up solid food and turning to juice can destroy your health, leave you malnourished, and lead to an eating disorder.

I’ve seen girls brag about being able to quit solid food and sustain a juice-only diet weeks. I don’t think this is something to be proud of. How can you possibly get all the fiber, protein, and vitamins you need from just juice? There’s no protein in juice, and most of the fiber is in just the solid fruit, not it’s juice. Our bodies even need a little healthy fat to keep our brains working. Think avocados, olive oil, and nuts. When you deprive your body of certain food groups, from grains to dairy to meat, you’re depriving it of all the benefits we get from those food groups. There’s a reason we learn about balanced diets and the food pyramid in elementary school- all food groups work together to keep our bodies nourished.

Plus, when you quit food and switch to juice, yeah, you’re gonna lose a lot of weight at first. Your body goes into shock with the sudden dip in calorie intake. But realistically, this isn’t sustainable. First of all, you’ll never maintain a weight if it isn’t your permanent lifestyle.  You can’t live on just juice forever, and once you go back to your old eating habits, the body bounces right back to the original weight. Plus, after switching to regular foods, it can be hard to control cravings and readjust, leading to binging and extra weight gain.

One of the most detrimental aspects of juice cleanses is that they can lead to an eating disorder. Losing weight fast can lead to getting addicting to the feeling of getting thinner. Each time you hit a goal weight, you’ll want to set a lower one. It’s a never ending cycle that can literally take over your mind.

To all my friends trying to get healthy for summer: Go you! If you genuinely enjoy juice, add it to your diet, because it’s full of vitamins, tastes great, and is super convenient. Just don’t make juice your complete diet, because in the end, that could destroy your health, mental and physical.