Proud2Bme | When Juice Gets Dangerous

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When Juice Gets Dangerous

By Pooja Patel--We all fall into fads. Thirteen-year-old me was very excited about the possibility of the perfect Lizzie McGuire crimped hair, while twenty-one-year-old me most definitely thinks ombre hair is on the up. Yet, not all fads are as innocent as a change in hairstyle. The recent proliferation of juice cleanses not only has some worrisome outcomes, but also demonstrates a dangerous culture of disordered eating.

With the exclusive consumption of a "miracle" concoction for several days, juice cleanses often promise immediate, and unnatural, weight loss and the apparent detox of toxins. Juice cleanses vary, but generally they allow 3-5 servings of juice every day, with each juice being less than 1/20th of the daily nutrition recommended by most doctors. Many times these juices are glorified diuretics containing large amounts of cayenne pepper or beets.

Within a day or two most participants of the juice cleanse find themselves losing weight. Yet, while some hope to lose fat, what they are actually losing is muscle. These diets are often low in protein, which results in the body feeding off the muscle to compensate. Ultimately, your body goes into starvation mode and attempts to save every bit of energy it can. This results in a slowed metabolism and dangerously low levels of nutrients.

Moreover, the proliferation of juice cleanses demonstrates a society fixated on quick results, which is often connected with disordered eating. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be healthy, but the expectation of "health" with one juice cleanse is not only invalid due to the obvious nutritional detriments, but also illustrates a paradigm that emphasizes weight loss as a determinate of health.

Whereas, health as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) is actually "…a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." Health is holistic. Simply attempting to rid your body of toxins or lose some weight over several days likely is not what WHO is talking about when they refer to health.

Moreover, it is important to build a society that affirms the holistic health described by WHO rather than one that urges starvation tactics that are not medically sound. To build a generation that is confident we have to be able to educate the current society that fads like the juice cleanses are neither necessary nor beneficial. So get educated, do your research, and spread the word!

About the blogger: Pooja Patel studies neuroscience and philosophy at Barnard College, Columbia University. She does research at a CU neurobiology laboratory, which emphasizes anticipation behaviors, circadian rhythms, and biology. She has interned off and on at the National Eating Disorders Association for about two years. Pooja enjoys reading, dancing, watching mindless tv, and keeping up with fashion trends.

Also by Pooja: 

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Proud2Bme is an online community created by and for teens. We cover everything from fashion and beauty to news, culture, and entertainment—all with the goal of promoting positive body image and encouraging healthy attitudes about food and weight.

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