Cleanses and detox diets have reigned as the hottest way to lose weight and purify your body. Along with those diets, juicing has become a trend way to boost your health. So what do you get when you combine juicing plus cleansing plus dieting? Take it to an extreme and you get what health experts are calling "juicerexia," a diet that can be deadly.
Then there's "macrobulimia," which occurs when someone goes on a juice fast and then binges afterwards, repeating the cycle over and over.
Marie Claire magazine recently warned that some extremely slender women are abusing cleansing diets, taking them to extremes in order to get dangerously thin. These so-called "juicerexics" begin innocently, with a desire to get healthy. However, as they lose weight and are praised for their discipline, they became addicted to the process. These starvation cleanses can be extremely dangerous, as women deprive themselves of essential nutrients.
Among the risks:
- Reduced ability to battle illness
- Extreme fatigue
Johanna Kandel, founder of the Florida-based Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness, told Marie Claire that these cleanses can be extremely dangerous, with one girl ending up in treatment after going on a juice cleanse.
"It wasn't the cause, but it was the drop that made the cup overflow," says Kandel. "Cleanses bring food and
ritualistic behavior into focus."
One company is trying to prevent that problem. Tim Martin, founder and CEO of Los Angeles–based iZO Cleanse, admits that "cleanses can turn into an eating disorder if they're used as an excuse to binge afterward." Calling that behavior "macrobulimia," he has his clients confirm that they don't have eating disorders and to commit to a balanced post-cleanse diet.
"We try very hard to discourage misuse of the cleanse," says Alexis Schulze, cofounder of Nékter Juice Bar.