Juice Detox Dos, Don'ts and Danger Signs

Juice detox diets aren't for everyone and should not be considered until you consult a physician to rule out medical causes for fatigue, indigestion, cough, muscle pain, and poor sleep, all of which can be signs of serious diseases and illnesses.

People Who Should Not Use Juice Detox Diets

There are certain people who should never embark on juice detox diets, or should do so only under the supervision of a physician. They include pregnant or nursing women, children, and people with anemia, eating disorders, diabetes, kidney disease, thyroid disease, autoimmune disease, cancer, terminal illness, certain genetic diseases, and other chronic conditions.

If you abuse drugs or alcohol, going on a juice detox diet will not help you kick the habit. Instead of trying to kick the habit yourself with a do-it-yourself juice detox diet, talk to your physician about going through an in-house alcohol or drug detox program that is supervised by trained professionals.

One Size Doesn't Fit All

Not all juice detox diets are created equal. Many commercial juice detox diets and books offer one-size-fits-all claims when a more individualized approach is actually required. Juice detox diets also vary in their benefits and healthfulness. Some, including water diets and those that prescribe eating only one food for several days at a time, can be quite damaging. Others lack adequate nutrients to sustain health and energy because of their highly restrictive nature.

Is your juice detox diet really eliminating toxins from your body? Experts claim no one really knows. While you can find commercial tests that allegedly measure the level of specific toxins in the body, the tests are not recognized or considered valid by the medical community, who consider them a waste of time and money.

Those who embark on juice detox diets are often at the mercy of manufacturers' claims and promises. Neither the Food and Drug Administration nor the Federal Trade Commission monitors detox diets and preparations and the health claims they promise.

Danger Signs of Juice Detox Diets

Celebrities and supermodels may sing the praises of juice detox diets, but remember that very few of them are going it alone. Most of them have help from personal physicians and full-time nutritionists, personal trainers, and/or chefs, all of whom can ensure they get the nutrients they need to avoid serious health ramifications.

Dawn Page is a dramatic example of what can happen if you follow a dangerous detox diet. After consulting with a nutritionist, the British woman went on what was touted as “the Amazing Hydration Diet,” consuming large amounts of water and drastically limiting her intake of salt.

Many celebrities who go on juice detox diets are young and healthy enough to sustain temporary nutritional deficiencies. This may not be the case for someone who is older, or whose health is already compromised by health issues or diseases. If you're already suffering from a disease, consult your physician before embarking on a detox diet.

After a few days, she was rushed to the hospital because of uncontrolled vomiting, and was ultimately left with permanent brain damage and diagnosed as an epileptic. Although she sued and won $1.6 million dollars from the manufacturer of the diet, she will have to live with the consequences of this diet for the rest of her life. She now suffers seizures and memory and learning problems, is unable to drive, and has to take medication.

Some Common Nightmares of Juice Detox Diets

Medical experts cite a host of possible medical problems associated with juice detox diets. They include loss of important nutrients in the body, which can lead to lethargy and illness, loss of skin elasticity because of rapid weight loss, and sickness.

One particularly dire warning listed in the Master Cleanser diet book, a best-selling detox diet, is that you can become ill or even die if you don't go off of the diet properly. If you're convinced a detox diet is for you, but you're not the sort of person to follow directions to the letter, you may want to rule out Master Cleanser.

Other dangers include an increased risk of yo-yo dieting (most detox dieters regain their lost weight as soon as they go back on solid foods because they never learn how to maintain a healthy weight while eating real food), eating disorders, and embarrassing gas or bowel leakage.

Look Before You Leap

What's particularly frightening about Dawn Page's story is that she started the diet on the recommendation of a nutritionist. The moral of the story: Always talk to your doctor before you go on any sort of diet, no matter how harmless it may seem.

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