We are a country awash in juice—the fancy, unpasteurized, kale-filled version, that is. Writing for Slate, Katy Waldman points out that "juice" is both a verb and a $5 billion industry, fueled by celebs who swear by the health trend, which finds its apex in that most admirable of all consumption options: the juice cleanse. Those on these programs eschew all solids for anywhere from a few days to a few weeks and drink juice roughly six times a day, with goals ranging from flushed toxins to hydrated cells to shinier hair to (though few will admit it) weight loss. Except juice cleanses achieve no such objectives, per Waldman. "They fetishize a weird, obsessive relationship with food, and they are part of a social shift that reduces health to a sign of status." Also, "They’re annoying as hell."
A quick recap of Waldman's debunking, via the mouths of nutritionists: We need protein. We need fat. Out kidneys and livers were designed to rid the bodies of toxins. And juicing strips fiber from fruits and vegetables, and fiber is what feeds the gut's microflora. "LOL! Let’s obsess over how immaculate we can make our insides even though our intestines host trillions of bacteria," Waldman scoffs. She goes on to explore juicing as a gateway to—or cover for—eating disorders. Writing in New York, Vanessa Grigoriadis referenced "a lightheaded superiority to mortals," and that, writes Waldman, "is a huge part of what makes some eating disorders so hard to shake, because it becomes part of your identity." Waldman points out "one final piece of odiousness in juice cleanses:" With juices costing $10 a bottle, the cleanse's "purity and excellence is inevitably tied to wealth ... only available to the well-heeled." Click for her full column.