There are various so-called "wellness" practices (think: sun-staring, DIY fecal transplants, and pretty much anything sold on Goop) that are likely to do you more harm than good. Needless to say, shooting fruit juice directly into the bloodstream via an intravenous injection can be added to the list.
According to a report on BBC News, a woman almost died after she injected herself with juice made from 20 types of fruit in what appears to be some kind of health kick.
The first signs that something was amiss were a rising temperature and itchy skin. Later, when doctors detected damage to the liver, kidney, heart, and lungs, the 51-year-old had to be admitted to intensive care at the Affiliated Hospital of Xiangnan University in Hunan, China, where she stayed for five days.
Fortunately, the woman seems to be ok. Following her stint in intensive care, she was transferred to a general ward and later discharged.
Since news of her hospitalization has been published, the hashtag #OldWomanPutsJuiceIntoVeins has wracked up more than 11,000 posts on the Chinese social media site Weibo. Some users are saying it highlights a lack of basic medical knowledge among at least some of the public.
It's safe to say that an OJ IV drip is not a great idea. But the practice of juicing (or going on a juice cleanse) is not particularly good for you either. In fact, many health professionals actively advise against it.
In 2012, a survey found that one-third of parents with young children believed fruit in juice form was just as healthy as the solid variety. In short, it's not. Juicing takes out much of the goodness (fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, phytonutrients, and minerals) found in the skins, the seeds, and the membranes, while leaving behind a lot of sugar. And because juicing makes it easier to consume more fruit in one go (albeit in less wholesome terms), a portion of fruit juice will contain far more sugar than a portion of solid fruit. Indeed, a glass of orange juice has six teaspoons of sugar – almost as much as a can of full fat Coca-Cola.
What's more, the lack of insoluble fiber in fruit juice causes all this sugar to head straight to the bloodstream – a process that would be exacerbated even further if you were to consume your juice via an intravenous injection. This is bad news for the organs (and the liver in particular) as they become overwhelmed with sugar. Indeed, some studies have linked high blood sugars to organ damage.
It may also explain why a 2013 study conducted by researchers at Harvard School of Public Health found that though participants who ate solid fruit had a reduced risk of developing type-2 diabetes, those who drank liquid fruit had an increased risk of developing the condition.
As with most things, it's a case of everything in moderation. But if you are starting a juice detox for health purposes, the science might make you want to reconsider – and please, whatever you do, don't inject yourself with OJ.