Those Juice Fasts Are Not Exactly Healthy

Caption Photo: istockphoto

Juice fasts are one of the fashion industry's favorite ways to slim down. Except unlike your average diet pill or Slim Fast shake, juice fasts promise to healthfully rid the body of toxins in addition to promoting rapid weight loss. We personally can't imagine lunch without chewing a turkey sandwich and we've always felt a little freaked out by the superiority complex that some juice fasters seem to adopt on their "cleanse." One Elle writer who tried out a five-day juice fast confirms we are not just imagining this:

Within 36 foodless hours, I had developed a sense of otherness and—okay, maybe I was bit delirious—a vague sort of superiority. I was a juice supremacist, an ascetic robot capable of survival, food or no food. Every whiff of emotion, every physical sensation could be correlated to the cleanse: Is this stuff making my hands cold? Is it making me tired? Sad? Irritable? Me! Me! Me! (See where I'm going with this?)


On Thursday, well past a work deadline and desperately in need of a chocolate chip cookie to temper my temper, I pondered food obsessively. Alone on my couch that night, picturing all my solids-eating friends out in the world chewing themselves into oblivion, I allowed myself one of the semisanctioned “cheats” on Blueprint's list: a measly cup of brown rice, which made me feel both absurdly guilty and utterly uncomforted.


People who sell juice fasts insist that "1500 calories of juice is better than 1500 calories of bagels." Doctors, however, disagree. Why? Even though this writer's daily juice regimen consisted of 1700 calories — including an unsettling 10 pounds of kale, spinach, romaine, celery, and cucumber (maybe that's why some of these cost $175 a day?) — she lost six pounds in five days. Doesn't sound healthy, does it? She became so gung-ho about the regimen she decided launch into a ten day plan. Eventually she developed a respiratory infection. And then shingles. Yes, adult chicken pox. “I'm not saying that going on a juice cleanse gave you shingles, but did it give you enough zinc? How about magnesium?” her doctor said. But she was getting rid of toxins! The toxins!

Juice Cleanse [Elle]