Fitness fads are f-ing you over

December 31, 2015

We can’t escape it.  Whether we’re scrolling through social media or reading a news article, we are constantly being bombarded by it…them…a plethora of them. 

 

Diet and fitness fads are taking over at levels that we can’t even try to perceive.  Check Facebook: oh, hey, here’s a photo of my mom’s co-worker drinking her sixth smoothie/juice of the day.  Hop to CNN to get updated on the terrorist attack that just happened moments ago: the sidebar reads, “RELATED ARTICLES: She lost how much weight doing what?”  

 

The Livestrong Foundation found that, in 2014, 45 million Americans took part in some sort of “extreme” diet fad.  From drinking only juiced fruits and vegetables to relying on supplements for dietary value, this is much more than the typical “healthy eating” we used to affiliate with the term diet.

 

But the real question remains: do these diets really work?  Some swear by these diets while others preach that they are pointless and the dieter is only losing water weight and not getting enough nutritional value each day.  However, this is just he-said-she-said.

 

There is such an overabundance of diet fads that, for the sole purpose of keeping this article easy to read and not hundreds of pages long, I am going to focus on the newest fitness fad spreading across the Internet like wildfire: “juicing.”  For those of you who are lucky enough to be unaware of this new fad, juicing is a long or short-term cleanse where the dieter extracts the liquids, vitamins and minerals from raw fruits and vegetables, leaving only a liquid.  The dieter only consumes these liquids for the duration of his or her cleanse.  For some, this cleanse will only last one week.  For others, they will consume only this juice and a few dietary supplements for years on end.

Let’s give these fad believers the benefit of the doubt and start with the claims.  A majority of “juicers” believe that this diet is an easy way of getting your daily serving of fruits and vegetables, for new dietary guidelines suggest eating five to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.

 

Believers of this fad also SWEAR you’ll lose (insert dramatic number) pounds in (ridiculously short time).  “It’s so great and such a cheat way of losing weight!”

 

Finally, this “juice” will provide everything you want out of diet pills.  Glowing skin?  You got it!  Want more energy without sleeping more?  Drink up!  You can even strengthen your immune system and your bones!

Or not.  The LiveStrong Foundation found that juicing actually gives your body such high levels of potassium and minerals from the repetitive consumption, and those minerals build up in the bloodstream and become hazardous.  This can even cause kidney disease. 

 

Aside from the popular myth, juicing does not extract more of anything; it actually removes a fair amount of nutrients from the raw foods.  Fibers and antioxidants are also eliminated while juicing, for a majority of these elements that fruits and vegetables offer are found in the skins.  LiveStrong continued to explain that, without adequate fiber consumption, the body will absorb fructose sugar more easily, causing blood-sugar levels to sky-rocket. 

 

Those who juice long-term are subject to even more, serious damage.  Dr. Glenn D. Braunstein, the chairman of the Department of Medicine at Cedars-Sinai, explained to the Huffington Post (Canada) that long-term fasts of any kind typically result in major electrolyte imbalances.  Even worse, the body will resort to using its muscle tissue rather than fat for its energy.

 

Though people swear they lose (very high number) pounds in (very few) days, their weight that is lost is almost guaranteed to make its way back to your body after resuming normal eating patterns.  The sole reason any weight could be lost is simple: the dieter is significantly lowering calorie intake and cutting fat completely from his or her diet. 

 

As nice as this sounds, humans need all of these nutrients, fats and electrolytes in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  All in all, when the myths go up against the facts, it’s easy to see that juicing isn’t all it’s made out to be.

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