12 Investigates: Are juice diets safe - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

12 Investigates: Are juice diets safe

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

In the battle of the bulge, blenders are now in the mix.

"I really never expected to change my diet and feel younger," said Teresa Legrand. "I was stuck there as a chunky lady, and I didn't like being that."

LeGrand's grand kids were the ones to suggest the idea. "It really has changed her, it's changed the way she eats, the way she feels, a bunch of things," said Kate Dittmer.

"It wasn't anything special. I didn't have any surgeries, I didn't go on any medications to do it, I just got healthy with what I was eating,"said Legrand.

She started juicing, making juice drinks of organic fruits and vegetables. She went 50 days with just drinking the juice.

"Going off food isn't easy, we're all used to chewing," admitted LeGrand.

She slowly integrated solid food back into her diet. She's gone from a size 14 to 4.

"For the first time in my entire life, my doctor said, you don't need to lose anymore weight," said LeGrand.

Peter Glickman said he lost 23 pounds on the diet and ended up with more energy. He recently wrote about what he calls the Master Cleanse. He said it was developed in the 1950's, but that the liquid diet is back and the way to go.

"The purpose of the detoxification is to get out the toxins and other substances that make people tired, old irritable, unhappy and not function well and zap their energy."

To do the diet, you turn veggies — like carrots, celery, anything really — into liquid. And that's all you drink for days at a time. Is the liquid diet just a quick fix? Is it even healthy?

Virginia's Board of Medicine recently reprimanded a Colonial Heights Chiropractor for going beyond his duties. He put a patient on a weight loss program that included a five day liquids only detoxification.

The patient had an irregular heart beat. The diet caused heart palpitations.

"If you're a young healthy person, you're probably going to be ok... probably! But you're starting to roll the dice a little bit," said Madge Zacharias. She's the Co-founder of the Zacharias Ganey Health Institute in Richmond. She's been looking into the juice diet craze and believes people are just assuming its healthy because it involves fruits and veggies.

"Understand, we're juicing this. We're taking out the pulp, we're taking out the fiber. We're being left basically sugar. And, yes, some vitamins and anti-oxidants... but it's not a way to live," said Zacharias.

She believes juicing may not necessarily hurt a healthy person, but it's not really helping them either.

"It keeps coming down to the fact that it's a diet. We've got to do this for life, and nobody is going to drink juice for life. Even if you could make the perfect juice, make it healthy, it's not a lifestyle," said Zacharias.

Some are staunch believers in the diet. Others said there needs to be more research on how it affects the body. Either way, most experts we found said you should check with your doctor before even trying it.

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