Detox Diets: Not What You Are Looking For?

Photo Courtesy of Casey Serin via Flickr

Since the divorce several months ago, Martha’s life had turned upside down.  She used to have at least a little time for herself. Not anymore! Working full time and taking care of two young kids was more of a struggle then she thought.  Her energy levels were not what they used to be, her mood was not so upbeat and she was more tired and stressed. So, when her coworker Nancy told her that the juice detox diet that she was on had not only helped her lose weight, but had raised her energy levels and mood as well, Martha was all ears.  Anything to get her life and health back on track, she thought.

What is a detox diet?

A detox diet is a short term diet lasting from 3 to 30 days (but usually about a week) that involves changing daily consumption either by avoiding certain foods (such as fats or carbohydrates) or eating specific foods exclusively, such as juices, fruits, vegetables or water.  Detox diets sometimes have a fasting component and tend to be low in calories, which has helped to make it popular with celebrities or anyone interested in shedding pounds fast.  One example was when Beyonce Knowles went on a liquid diet called, “The Master Cleanse” to help her shed pounds for her Dreamgirls role.

What are proponents saying about detox diets?

Proponents claim that detox diets flush harmful toxins or contaminants from the body, allowing it to heal itself and become healthier. They say that avoiding or eating only specific foods for a short period of time makes it possible for the body to burn the fat that has accumulated, thereby releasing the “toxins” stored in that fat into the blood stream.  Subsequently, those fats are eliminated through the blood, skin, urine, feces and even breath. Once those contaminants are cleared from it, the body will function better, making it better able to fight or even prevent disease, slow aging, increase energy levels, improve digestion, reduce headaches and bloating, improve concentration and mood and supercharge your metabolism to help shed unwanted pounds faster.

Do detox diets work?

From a scientific standpoint, the answer is “no”.  In fact, detox diets have the potential to be harmful.  When you go on a restrictive calorie diet (and eliminate certain categories of foods), you are not flushing toxins out of your body as you may think.  Instead, you are losing necessary body proteins and fluids.  I’m not saying that the body is not able to detox. Far from it.  What I’m saying is that if you’re doing a detox diet, you’re doing it wrong. Detoxification occurs naturally. Your body’s liver and kidney processes toxins and then excrete them via your urine and stool.  In that way, toxins are ejected from your body without the need for a detox diet.  In essence, if you want to detox, eat healthy and let your body take care of it naturally.

Besides, restrictive diets make it harder to get the daily nutrients needed to maintain overall good health.  Plus, restricting your calories sabotages the goal of long term weight loss by slowing down your metabolism.  That makes it hard to keep the weight off after the diet is over.  Most of the time, that results in gaining back all the lost weight and more.

The bottom line:

If you are worried about harmful toxins accumulating in your body, the best thing to do is to not eat or use products that contain these substances.  Instead try to eat organic foods and switch to less harmful personal care products and cosmetics instead of relying on the periodic use of potentially harmful detox diets. And if you want to shed unwanted pounds, the detox diet is not the magic pill that you are looking for.  Instead, evaluate your eating habits and gradually change your eating habits and lifestyle to a more healthier one that is more conducive to safe weight loss.

Sources Used: Mayo Clinic, WebMD and Science Daily


Comments (5)

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  1. Isabel says:

    This is a very interesting topic. I wouldn’t try it as a diet.

  2. […] tell us that they go on a detox to shed that extra weight before a big event, scientists say that detox diets don’t really work and can be harmful to your health. Should you go on a detox? You may be missing out on some key […]

  3. Edison Donld says:

    It is nice information.Keep sharing………..

  4. Holly James says:

    The detox diet has always been an uncertain issue when it comes to weight loss. I guess if it works for some then that’s all well and good, but it can be bad for you as you need a well balanced diet with proteins and even some carbohydrates.

  5. celisti says:

    it’s not true, since any type of fasting will change how your body react to foods. have you ever heard ‘Fast Diet’, which is sort of similar to detox process except it’s a long term diet change.

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