Each day you consume all sorts of unwanted things, from pesticides in your foods to toxins in the air. So obviously, it sounds like a good idea to purge your body of the toxins and harmful chemicals you are exposed to each day. In steps detox.
Detoxification diets, or detox diets for short, are advertised as a way to do rid your body of impurities while losing weight at the same time. But do detox diets really work, and do the possible health benefits of these diets outweigh the likely risks?
Detox diets have recently gained in popularity, and many celebrities have jumped on the bandwagon, revealing their own personal detox plans that give them rapid weight loss before a big event. Detox regimes are based on the idea that once your body is free of poisonous, unwanted toxins, it will function more efficiently. In the process, your metabolism will increase, which enables you to shed pounds quickly.
The majority of cleansing diets require consumption of very few calories, small portions of raw vegetables and/or fruits, fruit juices or water to drink, and a variety of supplements. Some detox diets promote the use of pills, herbs, potions, or fasting to purge the body of impurities. Often, enemas or other methods of emptying and cleansing the intestines are used. And yes, that part is just as unpleasant as it sounds.
Even though detox diets are popular, experts claim these diets aren’t proven, nor are they necessary for health or weight loss. In fact, there is no documented evidence that the core purpose of detox diets - cleansing your body of toxins - occurs through the diet. Instead, the benefits of detox diets are based solely on testimonials.
Thankfully, the immune system, liver, kidneys, and colon can effectively filter and remove the majority of toxins your body ingests or is exposed to. So if you’re detoxing to get rid of chemicals, you’re free to cease and desist.
Though there is no proof that detox diets actually detox your body, they do promote weight loss. How does it do that? By drastically cutting the amount of calories you consume. Any time you do this, you’ll lose weight - even if only temporarily. Unfortunately, as these diets rarely recommend a well-balanced diet, detox diets aren’t recommended by most registered dieticians. Since your initial weight loss is primarily water weight, you’ll likely regain your lost pounds as soon as you return to your normal diet.
But it’s not all bad! Besides rapid weight loss, other reported benefits of a detox diet include increased energy and improved mental focus. These benefits are likely the result of avoiding processed foods, added sugar, and solid fats.
Before attempting a detox diet, get approval from your physician. There are possible negative side effects that may need to be monitored. To start with, any diet that requires fasting or severely restricts protein will result in fatigue. Fasting for a long period of time can also lead to deficiencies in vitamins and minerals, headaches, low blood sugar, nausea, feelings of lightheadedness, dehydration, low energy, muscle loss, and a reduced rate of calorie burning.
If colon cleansing is a part of the detox process, bloating, cramping, vomiting, and nausea may occur. In addition, colon cleanses may change your body’s natural fluid and electrolyte balance.
While detox diets may sound like a scientific approach to cleanse your body and lose weight, these diets lack essential components necessary for long-term health and weight loss.