Drinking charcoal juice has become the latest crazy cleansing trend. Beauty blogger Annie Atkinson, who recently started having the gray juice, said that the juice, which doesn’t exactly look appetizing and is made from activated charcoal and greens, really affects your skin, the New York Post reported.
Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop recently highlighted charcoal lemonade as one of the “best juice cleanses” and in November 2014, popular NYC chain Juice Generation launched a line of drinks packed with activated charcoal, like Activated Greens (nearly black in color), Activated Lemonade (gray) and Activated Protein (creamy slate), at 9.95 dollars a pop.
Juice Generation founder Eric Helms said that it’s one of the most popular products that they’ve ever introduced and admits that the taste was a big challenge, requiring months of testing to make its grit palatable. Activated charcoal is made from burnt organic matter, Juice Generation uses coconut hulls that are processed to have a negative electrical charge, which allows it to bind to toxins in the body and help aid detoxification. Jeffrey A. Morrison, a Manhattan-based family practice physician and certified nutritional specialist, says it’s “very safe” if used correctly, though he wouldn’t recommend consuming it daily because activated charcoal will bind to medications and nutritional supplements, not just toxins, rendering them ineffective.
Morrison added that most people are going to be quite capable of eliminating toxins on their own, but after a night of heavy drinking or a fried-food binge, he says, it’s not a bad idea. Beth Warren, a registered dietician-nutritionist based in Brooklyn, is less positive about the trend and notes that adding charcoal to vegetable juice doesn’t make sense because the charcoal, not the drinker’s body, will absorb the juice’s nutrients.