Juicing diet gets mixed reviews


Carolina Sanchez

Juicing diet gets mixed reviews

By Contributing Editor

Unlike Naked Juice, which infamously settled a $9 million class action lawsuit in 2013 for mislabeling their genetically modified fruit drinks, juice cleanses are au naturel, although some nutrition experts question their value.

Detoxes and cleanses are becoming increasingly popular. Dean Kasal, founder of JuiceRx Cleanse, said he began pressing fresh fruits and vegetables in 2009 in an attempt to naturally combat ulcerative colitis. Using a hydraulic press, Kasal’s company squeezes the nutrients from fruits and vegetables in order to produce juice.

“We literally just press cucumbers, apples, parsley and kale,” Kasal said.

Recently, health experts have questioned the lasting benefits of juice cleanses because most juicing routines can cause gaping dietary holes. The majority of calories in juices come from carbohydrates, which include large amounts of natural sugar, meaning most commercial juice plans lack proteins that help maintain energy levels.

According to an article by Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D., on the Mayo Clinic’s website, “There’s little to no evidence that detox diets actually remove toxins from the body,” noting that long-term juice fasting can result in vitamin and mineral deficiency.

As with most trends, there is a greater incentive to juicing than simply jumping on the bandwagon. Kelly O’Connell Schmidt, a registered dietician and founder of Paleo Infused Nutrition in Chicago, said juicing is a prominent weight-loss method.

Detoxing and cleansing are similar in the sense that many are using the routines to lose weight, but are not her first suggestions.

“Cleansing and detoxing just begins with anyone eating whole food on a regular basis rather than just a juicing protocol,” Schmidt said.

She said many people who regularly juice do so to give their metabolism a rest and detoxify the body. However, some health experts warn that long-lasting weight loss should not be expected, especially if the post-cleanse involves a trip to the drive-thru.

According to April Triplett, a Jamba Juice employee, a juice cleanse can be a crash course in self-discipline. Triplett has been working at Jamba Juice for 10 years and said juicing has led her to develop healthier eating habits.

Detoxing and juicing tend to help people avoid consuming too much coffee and alcohol or eating junk food. Juicing can foster overall healthy habits, Triplett said.

Although the Jamba Juice franchise has been around for more than 20 years, there is now more competition than ever, according to Triplett. She said they have to stay up-to-date with shifting trends. For example, the company recently introduced a strict fruits and vegetables category.

“You have the kale trend and the acai berry trend,” Triplett said. “Soon there might be another fruit or a vegetable for people to get hooked on. Now it’s juicing.”