Blended student opinions on juice detoxes

By Danielle Devries

Photo Courtesy of Kevin Nelson/ The Vista

Photo Courtesy of Kevin Nelson/ The Vista

As a health conscious campus, it is no surprise that USD students are constantly seeking new ways to keep their bodies healthy and fit.

The most known ways for maintaing a healthy lifestyle include eating healthy foods, in moderation and exercising regularly.

Lately, juicing, the process of pressing fruits and vegetables into natural fruit juice, has been widely talked about among nutritional experts.

From this came the trend of juice cleanses, the process of avoiding food for several days and only drinking juice in order to flush your body of toxins and lose weight.

There is a huge controversy surrounding the validity of this process, as the potential health risks seemingly outweigh the benefits.

Juice cleanses not only promise to increase your nutrient levels by packing a lot of fruit and vegetables into a single serving of juice, but also increases energy, improves skin, boosts your immune system and guarantees weight loss.

These unsupported facts are nothing more than claims as not a single juice cleanse currently on the market is backed by the Food and Drug Administration.

Type one diabetes, spikes in blood pressure, electrolyte deficiency and permanent damage to one’s metabolism are the reality of the risks associated with the juice cleanses.

Additionally, the weight lost during a cleanse, is often just “water weight,” and will be gained back soon after the cleanse finishes.

Going for extended periods of time without food is also very damaging, as you can’t get all your needed nutrients from just two food groups, and this can limit your body’s ability to function properly.

Extended cleanses cause even more problems, as the longer your body goes without food, the more likely it is to start absorbing muscle tissue for energy instead of fat tissue.

Dr. Oz has even gone as far to coin the term “juicerexics,” claiming just cleanses are dangerous and are nothing more than current diet fads.

He also claims that the spread of juice cleanses in our society has resulted in one of the “newest, and potentially most dangerous eating disorders.”

USD students still have varying opinions regarding juice cleanses.

Most women claimed that they had not yet tried a juice cleanse but they were strongly considering it or wanting to try it.

Men on the other hand, simply had no idea what a juice cleanse even was, let alone had considered trying one.

Those who have tried cleanses in the past recall not being able to focus or really do much besides sleep for the duration of the cleanse, and several admitted to stopping before the cleanse was over.

“The cleanse made me feel really woozy and lightheaded,” said freshman Sam Baker. “I had to stop after two days because I couldn’t focus on anything.”

My only true experience with a juice cleanse comes down to a friend from high school that was on the cleanse for a day and a half before fainting in class because she had gone too long without eating.

Feeling faint seems to be a common side effect of the process, the reason most people decide to stop and resume eating normally.

The proposal to completely cut yourself off from food for multiple days does not seem like such a good idea .

The average duration of a typical cleanse is three days, and going this amount of time without eating can be even more detrimental to our bodies.

In fact, I would probably consider all other options before deciding to undergo a cleanse, even with all of their supposed benefits.

“Why would anyone want to stop eating for three days?” freshman Therese Fazio said. “That sounds miserable.”

However, it does help some people to quickly drop a few pounds and flush out all the toxins in their system.

If you are considering undergoing a juice cleanse my advice would be to proceed with caution.

I would advise against doing a cleanse when you need the mental capacity to concentrate, for example, when you have a lot of school work.

Another time to avoid cleanses is when you plan on exerting a lot of energy or performing physical acitivities.

Perhaps opting for a cleanse that allows for minimal solid food intake, such as nuts, which will allow you to receive some source of protein during the process, will be more beneficial and nutritious than a juice cleanse.

Otherwise the lack of nutrients can have an adverse effect on your health and prevent your body from functioning properly.

Lastly, do not fall victim to the “juicerexia” Dr. Oz warns of; these cleanses are not meant to be long-term occurrences, nor should they be used for major weight loss.

Personally, the risks trump the benefits of this trend for me. However, registered dietitian Kelly Pritchett, PhD, RD, CSSD, and Media Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, offers a nice alternative to the juicing craze: incorporate smoothies into your diet.

This way you still get the extra servings of fruits and veggies, but without compromising your health and depriving your body of nutrients it needs to function.

Before you jump on the juice cleanse bandwagon, fully consider both the benefits and risks, as well as the alternatives. There may be a healthier way to achieve your goal.