Doctor discourages children from 'juicing' to lose weight

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Summer is fast approaching, and people are finding new ways to shed a few pounds for the bikini season. Juice cleanses, also known as juicing, is a trendy way to lose weight. People mix in vegetable, fruits and other ingredients to make a drink that helps with bowel movement and more.

However, Dr. Joseph Zanga, Chief of Pediatrics from the Midtown Medical Center, said people have been using juice cleanses to lose weight for hundreds of years.

"Juicing may sound somewhat new, but the idea is considerably older than me," Dr. Zanga said. "People have used different kinds of cleansing to lose weight."

Dr. Zanga does not recommend juicing to adults or children. He said people can lose weight from drinking juices, but they will gain all the weight back once people go back to eating normal meals. He said exercise and eating balanced meals are the best way to lose weight for people of all ages.

"People need balanced nutrition," Dr. Zanga said. "That's the key word. Balance. Juicing is not balanced at all. I don't recommend it to anyone."

Dr. Zanga explained that many parents seek his help when their children experience loose stools.

"Parents become worried when their children are not digesting their food properly. Diarrhea is not a good sign," Dr. Zanga said. "But now, some parents are allowing their kids to consume juices that induce diarrhea to cleanse them. They don't need to be cleansed. The only things that need to be cleansed in general are their hands and faces."

Some children may actually like the taste of the juices or some may consume them to emulate their parents.

"Do not give children a potion of mixed fruits and vegetables as a meal substitute," Dr. Zanga said. "It's not healthy. Children often copy what their parents do, and this might be one of those cases. Don't encourage it. Kids need to consume balanced meals for bone strength and their health. Their metabolism and growth development are different from adults."

Dr. Zanga said there is no reason to change what's been tested and true. The best and healthiest way to lose weight is to work out and eat well.

"Don't feed your children more than they need," Dr. Zanga said. "Give them healthy snacks and encourage them to be active. Adults and children can lose weight and be healthy by eating well and exercising."

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