It is the detox diet favoured by supermodels and socialites. Natalia Vodianova, Poppy Delevingne and Tali Lennox (daughter of Annie), are all fans of the "juice fast" system which allows for supplementary pills to be eaten – and little else – over the course of three or five days.
A fruit-only diet landed Ashton Kutcher in hospital recently just before filming began on the upcoming Steve Jobs biopic – the Apple founder was an occasional fruitarian. The British Dietetic Association says it is "virtually impossible" to get all the nutrients the body needs following this method.
The Independent on Sunday tested the five-day fresh juice "signature cleanse" provided by the London-based Radiance Cleanse and discovered the juices weren't the problem. The £345 package includes various supplementary tablets to be taken throughout the day and includes bentonite clay – a product the Food Standards Agency has repeatedly warned consumers not to ingest, after high levels of lead and arsenic were found in products being distributed by some online retailers. Exposure to arsenic can be associated with an increased risk of lung, skin and bladder cancer.
Radiance Cleanse does not list any details on its website of the pills that supplement the five bottles of juice consumed daily. A single day's package costs £90; three- and five-day "cleanses" cost between £215 and £495.
Last August, the FSA issued a list of bentonite clay products it advised the public not to purchase or consume.
Radiance Cleanse founders Clare Phipps and Christina Agnew had never heard about the FSA warning, but insisted their products were safe. Ms Phipps said: "I'm a little bit shocked as I deal with a lot of nutritional therapists and no one has ever spoken to me about this. I'm a bit surprised that no one has flagged it up. The bentonite clay is something we have used and sold for a long time and all the nutritional therapists have been happy with the product."
The FSA said last night: "Our advice remains that consumers should be aware of the potential risks associated with bentonite clay products."
After The IoS voiced concerns about the tablets, Radiance Cleanse pulled the product.