science of us

Are We Really Still Juicing?

Photo: David Crockett/Getty Images

Recently a friend emailed me that she was curious and yet embarrassed to try celery juice. Her exact words: “Last weekend on Instagram I got convinced that I should be drinking celery juice every morning. Is everyone drinking celery juice but me? What the hell???”

Apparently everyone was drinking the celery juice but her — in the wake of a national micro-craze (Vogue: “This Overlooked Green Juice Will Give You Better Skin”; Mind Body Green: “How Drinking Celery Juice Healed My Gut”) one Brooklyn Whole Foods apparently sold out of regular celery altogether (briefly, at least), according to this recent Atlantic story.

As Amanda Mull reports, the fad seems to have started with Anthony William, a.k.a. the Medical Medium, a best-selling author and self-professed psychic healer who supposedly diagnosed his own grandmother with lung cancer when he was 4 years old. That tremendously freaky factoid is the opener and main qualification on his website’s “About” section. I only learned of him last week, so I’m still taking this all in, but William has a million Instagram followers and has been around for years recommending various eating regimens, selling books, and endorsing supplements, from which he profits via Amazon’s affiliate program.

The idea behind celery juice is that it’s supposed to be especially hydrating, inflammation-reducing, and microbiome-sustaining, among other panacea-esque promises. It’s worth nothing that there’s no science to support a juiced vegetable being any healthier than a regular one, and that juicing them strips them of much of their fiber. Not that I have never juiced. But that was fortnights ago. Are we really still juicing?

Later my friend said, of William: “He legit scares me, but also I am so intrigued, even though a lot of what he says is completely horrible — like that autoimmune disorders are not real and autism can be cured with celery juice. Oh my God. But he has such a big following and I might still sort of want to try celery juice although I don’t think I will actually bother.”

That seems like Health Internet in a nutshell: This is crap, but why not.

As to whether celery juice will save us all, the Atlantic’s answer is to “just drink some water.”

Although it could be that the writer was still smarting from not getting any of that special Whole Foods celery that apparently sold out.

Are We Really Still Juicing?