Mapped out weight loss or fitness fraud?

Instagram courtesy of Abrianna Burton

Instagram courtesy of Abrianna Burton

Katherine Nix

The Blueprint Juice Cleanse is one of the newest diet fads. The company started in 2007 and by 2010 it made $10 million, according to Businessweek. By 2012 it doubled that amount, according to the Washingtonian. 

People are drinking bottles of raw, cold-pressed juice for spans of one to six days. Each day’s worth of juice, or six bottles, is $65, according to the website.

Abby Burton, a junior with an Applied Communications major, said she has used Blueprint products before she found in the store, and plans on trying the full cleanse soon.

“I was feeling so blah and thought this could be a fun experience,” Burton said.

She did a full day’s trial of the cleanse before committing to the longer process. Burton spent the day drinking an obscure variety of juices. Some contained pineapple, apple and mint, while others contained a scarier array of ingredients, like the kale, ginger, spinach, celery and parsley.

“They taste like straight vegetables, no additional sweeteners,” Burton said. “They were a little hard to get down at first because the ginger was not a favorable taste on my palette.”

It definitely felt like a challenge had taken place, though.

“I felt like ‘Wow, this is all I have to do? That’s so easy,’” Burton said. “But at the same time it was really challenging because I kept wanting to eat something else like a granola bar because I was afraid that I wouldn’t last on fruits and vegetables alone.”

According to the Blueprint website, there are three types of cleanses, ranging from mild fruit juices to intense green juices. The juices are delivered to your door on the day you decide to start, complete with a dry ice box to keep them cold. 

The cleanse is appealing for many reasons. Burton said she hopes to accomplish a sense of self-control by controlling what she eats and believes this is a good place to start. Of course, it also results in drastic, quick weight loss.

However, the health benefits of raw juice are not as cut and dry as they seem.

“I’ve heard people say, ‘But I always feel better when I just drink juice for a few days,’” said Deanna Lavanty, a Kent State nutrition instructor and registered dietitian. “They probably just feel better because they aren’t eating the high fat, high sugar, highly processed convenience foods they normally rely on. They would feel equally as good, and probably better both mentally and physically, if they ate lots of fresh fruits and vegetables for those days.” 

Lavanty said juice cleanses often lead to nutritional deficiencies because people stay on the cleanses for too long.

“The Blueprint Juice Cleanse lacks fiber,” Lavanty said. “All of the juices have zero grams of fiber except for the one called ‘cashew milk.’”

According to the Blueprint website, this is done on purpose to give the intestines a break. However, Lavanty said a healthy person does not need a break from fiber and additionally the cleanse is short on protein, iron, calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B12.

Instead of trying the trend, Lavanty suggests simply eating healthier on your own.

“Save money and buy fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season,” she said. “Produce is less expensive when you buy it when it is in season. Consult with a registered dietitian if you need guidance on how to adopt a healthy lifestyle. You may only need two or three consultations with a registered dietitian, and the cost will be much less than what you would spend on these diets.”