Think Twice Before You Juice

Allison Strasius, staff writer

Juice cleanses, pinr juice fasts, are among the numerous diets and fads of today, consisting of drinking nothing but fruit and vegetable juices from as short as a few days to multiple weeks. This can be done at home, or through the ordering of juice packages: shipments of a set of juices meant to be consumed over a set amount of time.

Those who decide to follow this rigorous diet often do so with the goal of losing weight or to flush out harmful bodily toxins. However, the effectiveness of the process is highly questionable.

According to Live Science, the benefits of starting a juice fast — boosting immunity, detoxifying and improving focus — are unproven. Nutritionist Andy Bellatti told Business Insider that the process of juicing a fruit or a vegetable removes all of the fiber, the main factor in improving digestive health. Additionally,  the kidneys and liver perform the “detoxifying” properties of the fast.

With juice cleanses comes undesirable side effects. Live Science also said that people on the diet suffer from headaches, fatigue, stomach pain and hunger pangs. A similar Eat This, Not That! report mentioned additional side effects such as light-headedness, depression, loss of muscle mass and mood changes.

While it is common to lose weight while on the diet, that weight is gained back soon after, and from then on losing calories is more difficult due to the loss of muscle mass.. According to Bustle, the low number of calories consumed during juice fasting triggers the body into starvation mode, prompting the body to slow down metabolism. Ultimately, the goal of losing weight longtime during and after the diet is simply unattainable.  

Despite this, these harmful juice fasts remain popular with the help of celebrity promotion.

Actress Salma Hayek is the co-founder of Juice Generation, a popular New York juice bar company with stores all over the state. She created a cleanse called the Cooler Cleanse, and her Juice Generation biography page says she swears it is one of the most important parts of her beauty regimen. Actress Gwyneth Paltrow advocates for a similar juice company called Organic Avenue. Her lifestyle company goop even posts articles identifying the best juice cleanses on the market.  

This celebrity promotion poses as a dangerous threat to young people especially, seeing those like Hayek and Paltrow as public role models and wanting to follow suit. Juice cleanses are especially harmful for teens and children, as they promote unhealthy choices, later creating bad habits. According to a TODAY article, they can even disrupt electrolyte levels, resulting in a condition called hyponatremia, caused by sodium deficiency. The condition can create heart and neurological problems down the road.

Teens following a juice cleanse are exposed to further risks as well. A Live Strong article said that the severe calorie restriction that comes along with the process makes teens susceptible to eating disorders, something all too prominent in youth today. Juice fasting endangers proper growth in still-developing teenagers.

The risks of juice cleanses outweigh the questionable benefits tremendously, as they are simply not effective and especially dangerous for developing teenagers.