Juicerexia, the newest eating disorder
There have been a number of new health fads in recent years but one that has received a great deal of attention is juicing. This is the idea of drinking freshly juiced fruits and vegetables instead of eating meals.
This trend has been taken up by many celebrities and there are plenty of so-called experts writing books and selling products to cater to those who wish to juice. The problem with all this is that juicing is not a healthy way to lose weight and many of the things juicers do are really just eating disorder behaviours.
The first problem with juicing is that juice is simply not a suitable replacement for solid, nutritious food. Juice is often high in sugar, contains no protein and has no fibre. This can have catastrophic effects on metabolism, digestion and blood sugar.
Another problem with juicing are the claims surrounding it. Many juicing gurus, books and online resources claim juicing can cleanse, detoxify, rest digestion, renew cells, boost immunity and improve fertility.
None of these claims are supported by modern medicine and many are actually flat out wrong. Juicing does not detoxify your body - your liver and kidneys do that. The body uses these organs to prevent a build-up of toxins. The juice does nothing to help this.
Juicing also does nothing to rest digestion. In fact, there is no need to 'rest' digestion in the first place. The stomach and other digestive muscles expand and contract no matter what is eaten. Simply switching to juice does nothing to change this. The lack of fibre in a juice diet may actually damage the digestive muscles. Without fibre, digestion can be interrupted which can detract from the entire digestive process.
Myth busting the benefits of juicing
Renewing cells is another myth of juicing. Human cells replace themselves all the time. Juice does not affect this process. In fact, every cell in the human body is replaced at least once every seven or so years.
Then there is the claim that juicing boosts immunity. While it is true that a healthy diet keeps the immune system strong, juicing does not constitute a healthy diet. Juicing actually makes it harder to get all the nutrients needed, like protein and iron.
The final claim by juicers is that a juice diet can improve fertility. This is simply not true. A healthy diet plays a part in fertility but it is far from the only factor. Age, ovulation cycle and many other things play a huge role. Besides, juicing is not a healthy diet so if anything, it could be detrimental to fertility.
The fact of the matter is that juicing is just another way of cutting out entire food groups, which has been a classic sign of eating disorders for years. The juicing trend has just masked this and given food restricting fake credibility. If anything, juicing is one of the most extreme forms of food restriction and it takes a heavy toll on those who try it.
The juicing fad has gone so far in the UK that Public Health England, a body of the NHS, has put out an official warning. They say people should not consume more than 150ml of juice per day and it should always be accompanied by food.
While this is a good start, it will take a great deal of time to alleviate the damage and mis-information brought about by juicing.