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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California
Spotlight

Juice Cleansing: Part Detox, Part Weight Loss Solution

Customers shell out hundreds of dollars for the five-day, food-free diet cleanse.

Kale, spinach, ginger and romaine lettuce – in one glass?

That’s the premise behind juice cleanses, combining so called super goods to help reset and rejuvenate your system.

“You feel a little cleaner, a little lighter, your mind feels a little sharper,” said Suzanne Hall of Pressed Juicery.

Part detox and part supposed weight loss solution, Pressed Juicery counts many celebrities among it’s clients.

"It’s very LA – it’s very 'I’m doing a juice cleanse,'" said David McAlpine, who recently did the 5-day cleanse. “You get to have the label. And if it’s good enough for Nicole Richie, it’s good enough for me.”

McAlpine started juicing to jumpstart his diet.

"I feel like if I lose a substantial amount of weight and I like the way I look in the mirror,  I’ll be more motivated to keep it off,” said McAlpine.

Ivana Dukanovic just wanted to feel a little healthier and a littlie lighter.

"I know I’ll feel better afterwards and then I can maintain that feeling by eating healthy,” said Dukanovic.

So they embarked on a five day journey. No food, no alcohol, and worst of all, no coffee.

The cleanse consists of eight juices, delivered right to their door.

"At any second I just want to give up, but the fact that I spent $350 on it, it has to be worth it,” said Dukanovic.

Most nutrionists say there really is no benefit to juice cleanses.

“Our body has some amazing organs,” said Vandana Sheeth, a registered dietian. “We have the liver, we have our kidneys, or skin, or GI tract.  All of these can naturally cleanse our bodies.”

The midpoint in the cleanse is the most difficult. That’s when the body starts to realize what it’s missing.

“I could eat four burgers," Dukanovic said, "I’m so hungry and I just feel light [headed]. I can’t get up out of my bed without [having] a blackout moment.”

By day 5, the body has begun to adjust to a food free diet.

“A whole full blown rejuvenation, I don’t feel that sluggish feeling anymore,” said Dukanovic.

That light, clean and refreshed feeling is actually the body’s response to hunger.

“It’s not because of the cleanse,” said Sheeth. “It’s actually your body kicking into starvation mode.  That’s the high you’re feeling.  You’re functioning on starvation.”

David admits it wasn’t the magical weight loss he expected.

“If I had an event to go on Saturday and I had to lose a quick 5-10 pounds, I would totally be down to do this. But you’re not going to look that good after Saturday.”

But in a culture of instant gratification, quick weight loss solutions will never go away.

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