felicitycurtain

An informed view of all things food

My encounter with a juice fanatic

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Those of you who follow my facebook page may be aware that over the weekend I had an exciting little guest spot on Joy FM’s cravings show.

This all came into play after publishing a guest post on Scoop Nutrition on ‘alkalising’. (If you haven’t read it, please do!)

Having been told the discussion would centre on food and nutrition in general, I wasn’t too worried… however, on learning the name of the other guest, my confidence faltered slightly.

Ever heard of Joe Cross? I hadn’t either, but I had heard of his movie, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.
Cross, an entreupreneur, made a huge lifestyle change in 2005: lost a heap of weight, went off heavy steroid medication and all but cured his autoimmune disease (urticaria, or chronic hives).

Cross achieved this by ‘defying Western medicine’ and embarking on a 60 day juice cleanse, which he documented in the aforementioned movie.

He also quit smoking, cut down on drinking, and made massive alterations to his previously sub par diet… but that doesn’t sell movies, does it?

Anyway, judgement aside, I was a little nervous to be paired with a guy who promotes the need for a ‘reboot’ or detox.

Unsurprisingly, Joe was a nice guy. He spoke a lot about the benefits of upping your vegies and how juicing was a convenient way to fit more in – who am I to argue with that?

But I do take issue with labelling juice, or a ‘juice cleanse’, as some kind of miracle cure.

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I expressed my concerns about his exclusion of important food groups – something that could lead to missing out on vital nutrients – and Cross cited our Paleolithic ancestors as proof that intermittent fasting made this okay (which is itself an entirely different issue). There’s certainly emerging evidence to suggest that a sensible, balanced approach to intermittent fasting (think the 5:2 diet), could lead to positive health outcomes – but in my opinion, 60 days without essential fats, protein and other nutrients doesn’t qualify as sensible.

I was surprised to hear Joe swore by a no-frills juicer – he was actually indifferent to big names like the Vitamix and the Nutribullet, and didn’t like that they made lots of false promises… I was surprised, because a selling point of vegies is their high fibre content, and the juicer Cross uses (and sells on his website) separates the liquid from the pulp – in other words, stripping away all that valuable fibre, as well as many of the phytochemicals and antioxidants that Cross is so fond of.

And while Cross absolute right that the vast majority of Australians don’t meet the target for vegies – less than 9% fit in the recommended 5 serves a day – we also struggle to fit in fibre, which is essential for maintaining digestive health, keeping us full for longer, and even positively influencing cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Cross’s pulp-free juices serve to compound, rather than resolve, this deficiency.

When it comes down to it, I’m sure there are many people who have made positive changes to their life as a result of following Joe’s advice. But to quote dietitian Toby Amidor, “To become healthier, we need correct information dispensed in a way that isn’t exaggerated or embellished so every individual can truly make the healthiest choice for him or herself.”

So after my meeting with this so-called ‘juice evangelist’, I’m standing by my initial thoughts. Though his intentions may be good, what he’s selling is just not the miracle cure that it claims to be, and if weight loss is what you’re after then your first call should be to a professional with training and knowledge that exceeds anecdotal evidence.

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2 replies

  1. It’s so good that you look at all aspects of the 60 day juice diet, not just those that are headline-catching. Also that take into account ALL the factors influencing the outcome. It’s clear from a nutritional & long term point of view this diet’s not what it’s cracked up to be!! Your comments are a reminder that it’s important not to take short-cuts with our nutrition (& that if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is!)

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