Losing weight can be very challenging. Many individuals get hooked to fad diets in their attempt to become physically fit.
One such diet that is currently trending is the charcoal juice that notable individuals have promoted as something that cleanses the body and detoxifies it. Among these endorsers are beauty blogger Annie Atkinson who said that the juice has an effect on the skin.
Actress Gwyneth Paltrow's lifestyle publication Goop likewise declared the gray juice as among the best juice cleanses.
With all these endorsements, does charcoal juice really help individuals or is it just another fad that would eventually go away?
The key ingredient of the product is activated charcoal, which is produced by burning a source of carbon such as coconut shells, debris and wood at a high temperature to remove oxygen.
It is claimed that activated charcoal is a natural magnet that binds and removes the body's toxins, which include the likes of pesticides, neurotoxins from mold and dioxins from fishes that thrived in contaminated waters.
Activated charcoal is not necessarily for health and beauty purposes only. It is also used in hospitals as a lifesaver for individuals who overdosed on drugs or were exposed to toxins. Besides helping detoxify the body, it is also being used to relieve digestive problems such as bloating and gas as well as for removing body odor, bad breath and skin ailments.
Jeffrey Morrison, a certified nutrition specialist, said that the product is very safe as long as it is used correctly. Nonetheless, he pointed out that he would not recommend its daily consumption because activated charcoal does not just bind to toxins; it also renders medications and nutritional supplements ineffective.
Caroline Cederquist, a board certified weight loss physician, said that activated charcoal may cause constipation and may have unwanted effects on the gastrointestinal tract.
"Activated charcoal is used in the medical community to treat poisoning as it can decrease the absorption of some substances," Cederquist said. "It is not useful for all noxious substances and it may cause other substances to spend a longer time in the GI tract as it can slow the GI tract down."
Beth Warren, a registered dietitian-nutritionist, is not optimistic about the trend, noting that adding charcoal to vegetable does not make sense because the nutrients of the juice will be absorbed by the charcoal and not by the body.
"I don't really see a purpose," Warren said. "I think it's going on the fad of 'detox, detox, detox.'"