What's the latest diet fad? Cleansing diets that consist of drinking only juices, all in the name of health. Just one problem, warned Dr. Mehmet Oz on his October 15 talk show: What he calls a "dangerous diet fad" can lead to juicerexia, the newest and potentially one of the most dangerous eating disorders.
In addition, on his show, Dr. Oz explained the distinctions among different types of juices. Beware: Subsisting on primarily certain types of juices may destroy your health and your bank account, according to Dr. Oz.
Cold-pressed juice is touted as providing benefits ranging from cleansing to super-charged weight loss and nutrition. And consumers are paying the sometimes heavy price tag in the quest of the perfect body. Juicing options range from:
- Traditional juice: Safely heated for a short period of time, these juices have gone through processing to kill potentially harmful bacteria. But critics say the pasteurization could alter or destroy the vitamins.
- Fresh juice: Made of fresh fruits and vegetables with a juicer, critics sometimes complain that the metal blades do harm to the value of the fruit. In addition, some fresh juices are pasteurized.
- Cold-pressed juice: Crushed together, fruits and vegetables are squeezed through a pressurized pouch to produce what is supposedly the highest quality product.
So what are the problems? In reality, juice lacks fiber and can cause blood sugar swings. Juices also are higher in calories than raw fruits and vegetables. And the price: Eight to 12 dollars a bottle of juice can destroy your healthy food budget.
Then there's the juicerexia issue, which an increasing number of eating disorder experts are discovering in their clients. They say that "juicerexics" are drinking only juice for long periods of time, becoming dangerously thin as they don't get sufficient nutrition.
In addition to Dr. Oz's warning, Rachel Dore, Psy.D., an eating disorder specialist and adjunct professor at the Institute for Graduate Clinical Psychology at Widener University, told Yahoo Shine on October 14 that she has noted this behavior among her clients.
"It could quickly turn into a detox, then retox, then detox again pattern." she said, using the term "retox" to refer to those who go on a juice cleanse, gain a small amount of weight, then immediately return to the weight loss juice cleanse.
How do you know if you are at risk?
"It has to do with the person's goals, coping skills, and personality factors. Cleansing, or following any kind of strict diet, gives one the illusion of control. To someone with a type-A personality, which is commonly seen in those with eating disorder symptoms, that brings about feelings of power, euphoria, and motivation to maintain this overwhelming sense of control," she said.
And some clients are swapping out almost all their meals and snacks for juices, says registered dietitian Rachel Beller, author of "Eat to Lose, Eat to Win: Your Grab-n-Go Action Plan for a Slimmer, Healthier You." She recalls the case of one client who starved herself in order to succeed at weight loss with juicing.
"In one case, this person will go to a juice shop and get a cucumber and veggie juice, which is maybe 40 calories. That'll happen twice a day, then maybe she'll eat something small for dinner. It's a way to check into a healthy location, occupy the time that would otherwise be spent eating an actual meal, and it allows her to say, 'Yes, I got something nourishing.'" At the same time, though, she's technically starving herself of fats and protein," warns Beller.
Learn about an Oz-approved three-day juice cross with Joe Cross by clicking here.