Ask Dr. Dumb: Are Juice Cleanses Really Worthless?

Readers, lately you may have noticed headlines like That Super Expensive Juice Cleanse Does Nothing, or Juicing Is Officially Over, or Prince Died Without a Will, According to Court Documents

And because of this, you must be thinking, What? How does someone that rich and famous not have a simple will drawn up? And, Now who will decide who gets all his stuff? And, He must have, like, dozens of guitars, just for starters.

Well, let's put that aside for now. The topic of today's column is juicing. Not Prince. We're sorry we even mentioned Prince. Let's move on.

Anyway—juicing. It's been getting a bad rap recently, thanks to articles like the ones cited above, and another titled Fancy Juice Doesn’t Cleanse the Body of Toxins, from The New York Times, which begins:

To say that drinking juice detoxifies the body isn’t quite the same as claiming leeches suck out poisons, but it’s fairly close.

That article goes on to say that juicing, which has become very fashionable and very lucrative, is pretty much bunk.

Is it really, though? To find out, we turned to our in-house expert on all things juicy, Dr. Dumb.

Dumb Runner: What do you make of stories suggesting that "fancy juice" does not actually rid the body of toxins?
Dr. Dumb: Those stories are seriously flawed.

How so?
They completely fail to take into account the degree of fanciness of the juices in question.

So the quality of the juice makes a difference?
Absolutely. If the juice you're drinking isn't ridding your body of toxins, I think you have to ask yourself, "Is my juice fancy enough?" I mean, there's fancy juice and there's fancy juice. If you know what I mean. 

I don't. What makes one juice fancier than another?
A number of variables are used in determining a juice's Fanciness Quotient. The place of purchase, for instance—juices bought at, say, Whole Foods are inherently more fancy than those bought at Safeway or your local convenience store or other lesser purveyors of foodstuffs whose aisles are vaguely dingy and whose lighting is unflattering and probably fluorescent. Same goes for any ingredients bought to make your own juice at home. 

Another variable is price. The more you pay, the fancier the juice. Which I suppose goes without saying.

Beyond that—and this is very interesting—certain aesthetic factors come into play. Any given juice becomes 20 to 40% fancier if it's blended or consumed by, or near, an attractive woman in a bright, tastefully appointed kitchen at a blonde-wood island displaying an array of fresh fruits and vegetables. 

There's another factor, but it's harder to pin down. Some juices just have a certain je ne sais pas about them.

Don't you mean, "a certain je ne sais quoi"?
I don't know.

So juice that's truly fancy is the key to an effective juice cleanse.
Yes, but you also need a fancy blender. Plus a fancy glass to pour your juice into before you smile at it and then consume it.

Let's step back for a moment. When we say that a certain juice cleanses the body of toxins, how are we defining toxin?
A toxin is defined as "something very bad that is in your body doing its bad little things." Here is a sketch of a toxin that I did for a lecture I gave in Paris earlier this year:


Actual toxins are much smaller, of course. Maybe half that size.

By the way, this is the same standard definition that some massage therapists use when they say that massage "releases toxins" from our muscles and that drinking a Dixie cup of water afterward will help to "flush the toxins" from our blood.

Are these massage therapists crazy?
Yes. But don't tell them so, especially when you're face down on their table and they have their knee in your back.

How, exactly, does very fancy juice cleanse the body of toxins?
The toxins are simply overwhelmed with fanciness. Our toxins just are not equipped to handle it. Un-fancy juice? Sure. Somewhat-fancy? Usually. Very fancy? No. From an evolutionary standpoint, basically, toxins have not kept up with developments in fancy juicing.

Does this suggest that our toxins are capable of playing catch-up, of mutating to the point where even really fancy juices can't overcome them?
That is a concern, yes. This is why scientists are racing to develop "superfancy juices" that will literally drown the body's toxins in a tidal wave of blended fruit-and-vegetable fanciness.

Did the Tour de France recently land an official "juice partner"?
Yes, it did.

I thought they were trying to put that sort of thing behind them.
You're thinking of another kind of juice.

Thank you for your time, Dr. Dumb. As always, this has been an illuminating conversation.
You're very welcome.