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The truth behind juices cleanses

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Juice cleanses are a type of diet that involve only drinking juices or smoothies for a set amount of time. There is debate over whether this cleanse is helpful or harmful for the body.

Some students at South have tried the cleanse, and have experienced varying outcomes. While many were pleased with how they looked after the diet, they also saw negative sides to the process as a whole.

“I experienced positive outcomes from doing a juice cleanse. If anything it’s a really great way to let your digestive system take a break for a couple of days, and essentially load up on nutrients,” David Robertson, a J House employee said.

Carastin Carswell ‘19 experienced watching her sister attempt a juice cleanse, and said that her sister found it difficult, but kept pushing through because she wanted to finish it strong. Her sister felt accomplished as she saw her water weight disappear and her body feel better overall.

photo by Alyssa Cole ’19
JHouse sells a variety of healthy smoothies, snacks, and other drinks as well as juices.

“The cleanse is a great way to build willpower and self-control because one does have to deny themselves food for a few days,” Robertson said.

While there are the positive aspects the process, there are effects that are frustrating as well.

According to Anna Hensien ‘19, she did feel somewhat healthy from not gaining weight, although she also felt like she did not have enough energy.

Carswell said that her sister only drank water, tea, smoothies and whole brand vegetable juice while on the diet. The cleanse made her grumpy and tired often, and was extremely hard to stick with.

“I never recommend a cleanse. There is little evidence that juice cleanses eliminate toxins from the body, and the body already has organs that can remove toxins, like the liver and kidneys,” Sharon Harrison, MD for St. John Pediatric Associates, said.

It also has an affect on the performance of athletes in their practices and workouts, because they are not receiving the usual amount of calories that they get when eating actual food.

From trying the cleanse for four days, there were more negative outcomes than positive, according to Hensien.

“When I went to practice I felt weak all the time, and I didn’t feel like I could perform as well as I normally do because I didn’t have the fats and proteins in my body that I needed,” Hensien said.

A juice cleanse is not recommended for students who are highly athletic, according to Robertson, because a juice cleanse will not provide them with the protein to maintain a normal diet.

“The average high school student athlete is up crazy hours, and working really hard with sports multiple times a week. They are going to need to live a healthy lifestyle. They are going to need to eat enough calories to make up for the calories they are burning away,” Robertson said. “They need more protein than what a juice cleanse will give them.”

Hensien said that she would not suggest doing a juice cleanse for any athlete who has to exercise daily, because they should be getting the proteins and fats that their bodies need to function, and just drinking juices will not accomplish that.
“Cleanses are not healthy for a teenager’s body. Fruit juices are typically high in sweeteners and are empty calories- they do not contain any protein, which is bad for the body. Juices are also missing most of the vitamins a teen needs for a day,” Harrison said.

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The truth behind juices cleanses