Juice Cleansing: It’s Just a Fad
Juice Cleansing: It’s Just a Fad
While the premise of a juice cleanse is sound, the practicality is rather the opposite. Juice cleanses claim things like weight loss, and awesome-looking skin. However, the reality is that you will put the weight straight back on, you will lower your metabolism, and you will spend a lot of money.
Any diet has its pro’s and con’s, but unfortunately for the ‘Juice Cleanse’ it has a large amount of con’s, and its pro’s are not really true.
Let’s start with the promise of weight loss. Will you lose weight? Well, yes. If you only consumed only half of your recommended daily intake of calories (as you would do on a juice cleanse) of course you will lose weight. But, in the words of Cady Heron, “it’s just water weight!” What this sketchy reference to Mean Girls is trying to explain, is that the weight loss experienced through a juice cleanse is unsustainable. You can’t go on living on 1000-1200 calories per day, and when you re-enter the world of solid foods, you’re going to find it pretty hard not to put back on any of the weight you lost.
More importantly, a juice cleanse may make it harder for you lose weight in a healthy way in the future, as it could lower your metabolism. If you were to enter into a juice cleanse, your body goes into what is called ‘starvation mode’, which is essentially the body throwing a strop because it doesn’t know where it’s going to get its next meal from. When you eventually start eating solid foods again your body will store more fat from your food intake than it previously did. Nightmare.
Next up: you will be cleansed.
Unfortunately not. For some reason a lot of people I know seem to think that a juice cleanse will ‘detoxify’ their bodies from all the junk food and alcohol they have recently consumed. Perhaps what they don’t know is that their liver, kidneys and intestines have been getting rid of all of that nastiness since day one, so a juice cleanse is not needed for this.
Interestingly, lots of supporters of juice cleanses claim that this low-fibre diet is great because it gives your digestive system a break from digesting fibre. However, fibre actually helps your digestive system. Yet another juice cleanse blunder.
As well as being low-fibre, this diet is low in fat and low in protein. It sounds obvious, but fat and protein are in our recommended diets for reason: they help us function.
The key to this diet being different to all other diets is that everything is blended. Although this does help you to consume an awful lot of fruit and vegetables, scientists claim that their blended form are not actually as good for you as whole fruits and veggies, and that in juicing them they lose some of their nutrients. In addition to this, blended meals make for quicker consumption, which will leave you feeling a lot less full than if you had consumed a normal meal at a normal pace.
So if all of this happens during a juice cleanse, why do so many people claim to feel healthier and more energised after completing one? The answer, apparently, is simple. If you believe that you are being healthier, then you will feel healthier. If you’re consuming a diet that you’ve been told will leave you feeling more energised, it’s not the weirdest thing in the world that you may feel more energised. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the placebo effect.
These logical and scientific observations work to undermine the authority of the ‘juice cleanse’. However, more intriguing for me is the culture which encourages such a diet. First of all, I find it uncomfortable that it avoids being called a ‘diet’ and prefers to be called a ‘cleanse’. The label of diet, I feel, is much more honest and has an aura of choice about it. E.g. “If you want to go on a diet, maybe the juice diet is for you.” However, by calling it a ‘cleanse’ it suggests that to start off with you are ‘uncleansed’, and that only by undertaking a juice cleanse can you be truly healthy.
I came face to face with this uncomfortable pressure when I was conducting my research for this blog; I tried to enter a website about nutrition and suddenly the words “Juice those toxins right out of your body!” were emblazoned across my screen. I genuinely believe that this slogan embodies everything wrong with a ‘juice cleanse’. I don’t have toxins in my body, and if I did I’m not sure throwing fruit and veg at them would really help.
What really worries me is this fad diet’s lack of target audience. It makes me think that it may be reaching an age group that is rather too young to be worrying about dieting. But if you hide a diet behind an oh-so-healthy veil, what’s to stop a young girl from going on a juice cleanse?
Being ‘free of toxins’ is an unrealistic standard of health, and if impressionable girls are growing up in a world inundated by media that supports this standard, then maybe we should do something about it.
Marina is currently in her third year at the University of Exeter in the UK. She is studying English and will graduate this summer. She is a member of Her Campus Exeter, an online magazine where she write articles as well as help to run the magazine as Vice President. Marina is also an active member of the university’s Badminton club, and was this year elected to be their publicity secretary. She enjoy managing the club’s social media outlets and publicising their events, as well as the diversity of her university, and the different cultures that she is surrounded by constantly intrigue her.