The pros and cons of “juicing” by Oliver Wolf

Does this recent trend actually have health benefits, or is it all just hype? Like most fad diets, it has both pros and cons. I actually tried a three day cleanse myself, so I can speak from firsthand experience.

First, the pros. Juicing is a quick and simple way do douse your body with the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants it craves through concentrated amounts of fruits and vegetables. These drinks also lack ingredients you would want to avoid like bad fats, added salts, and sugars. Juice cleansing can also be a great way to “reset” your body right before you plan on making a big dietary change. This is why juice fasting is wildly popular at the beginning of each year. Juice cleansing directly correlates with New Years resolutions. Lastly, I’ll admit that while on my cleanse, I did feel reenergized and revitalized.

Now, the cons. Firstly, juice cleanses are expensive. A three day cleanse from BluePrint was over $200. The known pricey-ness of juice cleansing is more than likely one of the reasons it is so popular. It is the newest status symbol. Another con is that these juice cleanses aren’t even healthy to sustain more than three days. Although your body is getting some great things, cold pressed juices are missing some very important nutrients. (Most notably fiber.) I also find the juice cleanse weight loss debacle a con. Yes, if you go on a juice cleanse you will more than likely lose weight (I lost about 2.5 lbs.), but you will shortly gain it back. I spoke with Melissa Harrison from The Renfrew Center in Philadelphia (a very influential eating disorder center) who spoke avidly against juice cleanses as a means of weight loss. She also stated that doing a juice cleanse will make someone “more likely to binge eat” after completing the cleanse. Ms. Harrison also spoke on the increased dangers of juice fasting for people with eating disorders. My final con is that some of the claims made by juice cleanse companies are not proven to be true. These companies state that their products “detoxify” the body, getting rid of toxins and bad chemicals. All though this sounds great, it has yet to be proven. Dr. Eve Wollman, MD gave me her insight on the matter from a medical perspective saying that “our bodies are self-sufficient and don’t need to be ‘detoxed’. Unless there is something inside of you that isn’t functioning properly, the organs and immune system can clean itself.” Franks Sacks, MD, of Harvard School of Public Health says that the idea that the body needs help getting rid of toxins has “no basis in human biology.” Liz Schlagel, certified ISSA trainer offered an interesting counter-argument by saying that “although our bodies are built to be self-sufficient, these new man-made chemicals are still relatively unknown to our bodies. [Our bodies] aren’t used to dealing with all the junk we have grown accustom to consuming.” Although, Ms. Schlagel scoffed at the idea that juice cleansing alone can sufficiently cross-cancel all the crap we ingest. The only way to rid your body of toxins is to consistently stop ingesting them.

Overall, the cons definitely outweigh the pros for most people. Juice cleansing can be psychologically a great way to “reset”, but only if you do so in tandem to making a greater nutritional change in your life. But because the top nutritional claims by juice cleanse companies aren’t yet proven, these cleanses are just an expensive gimmick that is being bought into by myriad people hoping to keep up with the latest health trends.