by Savannah Stewart
Cinnamon. Cucumber. Tomato. Kale. Charcoal.
Though it may seem that these flavors have nothing in common, they're all an important part of the newest diet trend: juice cleanses.
A juice cleanse is a detox diet that flushes the toxins out of your system and can last anywhere from one day to a few weeks. During this time period, no food can be eaten; only the consumption of fruit and vegetable juices are permitted.
The liquid-only diet has been known to come with results that appeal to the majority of people. “I think juice cleanses can be a great jumpstart to a diet or a terrific way to ‘reset’ after, for example, the holidays,” wrote Westfield resident Alison Sackett in an email. Some of the expected results from juice cleanses include weight loss, clear skin and more energy.
This new craze even has some of the biggest celebrities hooked, like Kylie Jenner, Chrissy Teigen and Blake Lively. Their celebrity power has influenced society to hop on the bandwagon and use juice cleanses just as they do.
So, what’s the big deal? It’s just another diet, right?
Actually, it isn’t.
When asked what they get out of the juice cleanses they complete, Sackett responded, “Weight loss is a definite benefit,” meanwhile Westfield resident Richard Stewart said, “A newfound appreciation for solid food.” Though some people may have positive results from juice cleanses, the majority of people experience negative effects.
Juice cleanses can have a lot more disadvantages than advantages. According to a study done by students and staff at Harvard Medical School, “A person who goes on this type of diet repeatedly may run the risk of developing metabolic acidosis, a disruption of the body's acid-base balance, which results in excessive acidity in the blood.” Juice cleanses can have many negative results, such as slowing metabolism rates and putting users at risk for developing illnesses or diseases that could affect their health in the long-run, the study stated.
Additionally, juice cleanses limit calories to fewer than 1,000 per day. These limitations make it impossible to meet your daily nutritional needs. “In terms of nutrition, juice takes out the fiber found in fruit and vegetables though it retains many of the vitamins,” said nutritionist Ms. Elizabeth Miller. “Fruit and vegetables are a major source of dietary fiber, so losing that when creating juice is a real nutritional loss.”
This loss forces the body to use stored energy, like glycogen. When the glycogen runs out, triglycerides from fat cells and proteins in muscles are used for energy, which can result in the loss of fat, but also the loss of muscle mass.
Furthermore, the lack of food can result in emotional disadvantages, explained Iselin-based nurse practitioner Ms. Ann Marie Sullivan. “What happens to your body is similar to what happens when you drink a can of Coke,” she said. “Your body receives the straight sugar, your blood glucose shoots sky high, and your insulin levels soar, and you are running around like a lunatic, then you crash. Your blood glucose drops, because the insulin has taken care of it, and you feel like you have run out of gas.” Some who use juice cleanses experience sugar crashes leaving them feeling irritable, fatigued, or tired. The diet can also cause other side effects, such as dizziness, nausea, and hunger.
Juice cleanses can even have social disadvantages. “It limits social activities as I can't go out to lunch or dinner,” said Westfield resident Ms. Colleen Maz. “They are expensive compared to eating at home and will expire within a couple of days so once you commit, you need to use them or lose them.”
Though some users may lose weight during juice cleanses, their metabolism will get slower the longer they continue the diet. As a result, they may very well put all of the weight that they lost back on, and more, when they stop the juice cleanse.
Additionally, some people complete juice cleanses with the intention of flushing out toxins; however, our bodies were built to filter themselves, explained Westfield nutritionist Ms. Allison Topilow. “Our bodies cleanse themselves naturally, so I do not believe in juice cleanses,” she said.
Though juice cleanses aren't healthy, there is something really healthy we all can do: Drink a glass of juice. Organic juice is an important part of a healthy diet, as it contains vitamin C. Instead of removing necessary daily nutrients with juice cleanses, health-conscious individuals may want to trade the liquid diet for organic juice and some healthy food habits.