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Orv Hetil. 2018 Jul;159(28):1153-1157. doi: 10.1556/650.2018.31090.

[Potential relationship between juice cleanse diets and eating disorders. A qualitative pilot study].

[Article in Hungarian; Abstract available in Hungarian from the publisher]

Author information

Magatartástudományi Intézet, Semmelweis Egyetem, Általános Orvostudományi Kar Budapest, Nagyvárad tér 4., 1089.
Pedagógiai és Pszichológiai Intézet, Eötvös Loránd Tudományegyetem Budapest.


in English, Hungarian


There are two notable eating behaviors that are not far from having their own category as a mental disorder: the purging disorder, that is already among the DSM-5 non-specific eating disorders, and orthorexia nervosa, when a person is fixating too much on healthy foods. Our purpose is to describe how these can be observed in recreational juice cleanse camps, which are very popular today as an alternative health trend.


The first author recorded her data during multisited ethnographic observations in two Hungarian juice cleanse camps. Based on the diary logs, notes and interviews collected, we will present the motives of eating anomalies that the participants had shown.


The main motive of the camp is "detoxification". The lack of solid food, drastically low calorie intake and lots of physical activity will bring an inevitable change in the body, that is interpreted as toxins leaving the body. Participants have also included deliberate use of laxatives in their everyday routines, with which they associate positive connotations and are linked to the spiritual processes of "letting it go" and "renewal" in the spirit of a holistic approach. The use of symbols in the physiological processes was highly noticeable. Rapid weight loss due to diuresis, the desire for "clean" meals, and "self-rewarding" borrowed from the esoteric-self-help culture are also common motives. Due to the refeeding complications, so far two deaths have been reported by camp organizers.


Both purging disorder and orthorexia nervosa can be well-identified in our observations. This shows that also in the non-clinical environment, there is an institutionalization of eating habits that are dangerous to the health. This "detox" is not only physiologically harmful, but it is not proved to provide long-term help in mental health either. As a solution, we advocate developing an appropriate health communication plan for misconceptions about healthy lifestyle and eating, and also a promotion of psychotherapeutic opportunities. Orv Hetil. 2018; 159(28): 1153-1157.


böjtölés; eating disorders; evészavarok; fasting; medical anthropology; orvosi antropológia

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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