The Truth About Detox Diets

The Truth About Detox Diets

The New Year has begun and millions of websites and businesses offer the perfect recipe or diet that will help you “detoxify” your body from holiday binging.

There is something most of the companies that sell goods and diets don’t want you to know about detox diets: No one food or drink can be responsible for detoxing your body.

Does this surprise you? It might be hard to believe that so many companies are misleading you. First, it is important to learn about the science of “detoxification”.

What does it mean to “detox”?

The idea behind the mainstream idea of detoxing is that every so many months, you need to cleanse your body of toxins. Additionally, the idea is that there are foods and drinks that are responsible for your body’s detoxification – be it juices, smoothies, lemon water, or special fruits and veggies, and that they somehow have special properties that can drag toxins from your cells and eliminate them through your body’s waste.

The problems with detox diets

There is a range of problems with most mainstream “detox diets” in the market. Some of the most worrisome are explained below:

1. They leave out some necessary nutrients

Many detox diets tout a special drink (think the cayenne pepper and maple syrup lemonade) or food (think the grapefruit diet) and promise that it will do wonders for your figure and your health. While you may lose weight while on these “cleanses”, in most cases your body simply isn’t getting what it needs to stay healthy in the long term. These diets often lack complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals, and calories you need to stay healthy.

2. They may make you sick

Leaving out some essential nutrients could result in low blood sugar, nutrient deficiencies, fatigue, dizziness, diarrhea or constipation, muscle aches, and more. None of these are signs of health, that’s for sure. They may even weaken your immune system, and it may be easier for you to catch a cold or fight off infections.

3. They may aggravate certain medical conditions

If you have diabetes or insulin resistance, detox diets could result in dangerously low blood sugar. Additionally, if you have issues with your cholesterol or blood pressure, detox diets won’t do you any good. In fact, they may aggravate symptoms and encourage unhealthy behaviors after the detox is done.

4. They aren’t sustainable

While you may lose weight in the short term, detox diets are often so brutal that it is unrealistic and unhealthy for you to maintain it in the long term. If a diet is not sustainable, it doesn’t make sense to argue that it is good for your health. Most people see detox diets as a necessary sacrifice in order to keep your body healthy. If a diet doesn’t result in long-term lifestyle changes, they are unlikely a good choice.  

So what does remove toxins from our bodies?

In reality, our bodies are perfect machines; each cell, organ and system has a special responsibility to keep our bodies functioning. This also includes the role of detoxification through the regular and healthy function of particular organs.

First of all, what are toxins? A “toxin” is a substance produced naturally by plants, animals, and bacteria that are dangerous for humans. However, mainstream media has broadened the definition to include substances found in processed foods, refined sugar, caffeine, etc, promoting the absurd notion that these toxins attach to organs and cause illness. While many these foods are generally important to avoid for a healthy, balanced, diet, the biochemical processes that result in health problems as a result of the consumption of these foods don’t all get reduced to “toxins.”

There are two organs responsible for eliminating toxins from your body, namely your liver and your kidneys. Your liver is your body’s primary filter, removing alcohol, toxic materials from medicine, and other toxins from the blood stream. Your kidneys also remove toxins from the blood, eliminating them through your urine.

Eating certain foods and drinking certain drinks, getting infections, taking too many medications, drinking too much alcohol, and smoking may all affect the health of your liver and kidneys. Poor health decisions or illness may result in the impaired health of these vital organs

So, what can you do to keep your body healthy?

Now that we’ve established that most detox diets are phony, there are some steps you can take to have the same effects on your image and health that detox diets tout.

  1. Eat clean: Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, responsibly sourced proteins, healthy fats, and whole grains are important for maintaining your overall health. Avoid over-processed foods and overdoing the alcohol and refined sugar. This is sustainable and will keep your liver and kidneys healthy in the long term.
  2. Exercise: Exercising regularly keeps your cells functioning at their optimum levels, and results in a healthier body composition.
  3. See a nutritionist: If you are worried about how what you are eating is affecting your health, make an appointment with a licensed nutritionist or registered dietician to get realistic guidelines on how you can improve your eating habits and reach a healthy weight.

Sources:

http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/tiredness-and-fatigue/documents/truthdetoxdiets.pdf

 


CATEGORIES: Health, Diet, Weight Loss, Detox, Fad Diet