Over the past few years, detoxification “detox” cleanses have become the new fad in the diet and weight loss arena. Some can be quite expensive with the use of supplements, juices, and colon cleansing (enemas) to cleanse the body of all toxic elements. But do they actually work?
Let’s start by defining what a detox diet is: They are generally short-term remedies designed to dispose of toxins in the body. Typical detox diets have a period of fasting as well as incorporating a strict diet that includes: herbs, teas, fruit, fruit juices, vegetables, and supplements.
They claim to stimulate the liver to flush out toxins, rest the organs by fasting, provide the body with healthy vitamins and minerals, and improve blood circulation.
Some people profess that they feel more energetic and have the ability to focus during their detox diets. However, there’s very little evidence that these cleanses remove toxins from the body.
So why do so many people say they feel better after detoxing? Well, it makes sense that by eliminating processed foods, alcohol, and sugar for a few days may be the reason why people feel better.
Which Toxins Are Eliminated During a Detox?
That’s a good question that most cleanses can’t answer as well. There is little to no scientific evidence that our bodies are loaded with toxins and that we need to be cleansed.
The human body has something called a liver that helps detox the body on it’s own. It makes sure that any foreign toxins are released from the body.
Your body also excretes any additional waste through feces, urine, and sweat.
Do Detox Diets Help With Weight Loss?
On a temporary basis, they do reduce body weight due to the restricted calories and the reducing markers of inflammation in the body. There are some beneficial effects on hormones by reducing insulin resistance and circulating leptin levels.
However, these short-term diets don’t work in the long run because you cannot maintain such extreme calorie restrictions for too long. People end up gaining weight right back once they introduce their former diet back into the equation.
If one decides to do a detox diet and immediately change their lifestyle that includes a healthy diet and exercise program, then weight loss can be maintained.
Who Should Stay Away From Detox Diets?
There are some groups of people that should never begin any type of detox programs without consulting with their doctor first. This includes children, the elderly, the malnourished, pregnant or lactating women, people with eating disorders, and those who have blood sugar issues such as diabetes.
Instead of having to do a detox, I recommend avoiding putting toxic things such as junk food, cigarette smoke, alcohol, etc. in your body in the first place. For lasting results, you are better off eating a healthy diet based on fruits, vegetables, and lean sources of protein.
If you decide to do a detox diet, you should use it as a springboard to help you on your way with making healthier food choices going forward in the future.