Detox diets are ever growing in popularity with detox products available in our local chemists, celeb diet plans popping up on social media sites and many books on the subject published, there is no doubt that it is a lucrative business. The goal for following a detox diet is to flush toxins out of our system and to lose weight fast. But do detox diets work?
Do Detox Diets Flush Toxins Out Of Our System?
The idea that our body needs help getting rid of toxins has no basis in human biology. Our organs and immune system handle these duties very efficiently. We are often tempted to follow detox diets after a particularly poor period of eating or drinking, January springs to mind to undo the holiday season binge. The problem is the punishment of a strict detox diet doesn’t really make up for the binge, and is just a way of dealing with our guilt about having a diet that previously contained too many sugars, solid fats and alcohol. Detoxing may alleviate the guilt but it is actually doing more harm than good. Most detox products include some form of cleansing benefit for the liver and kidneys. In some cases products encourage severe restrictions of the main food groups such as meat and dairy. Others recommend eliminating food altogether. Accredited practising dieticians reject the idea that we need to detox to achieve a healthy liver. Cleansing does not have to be complicated; all we need to do is avoid excessive amounts of alcohol, caffeine and saturated fats.
Do Detox Diets Lead To Fast Weight Loss?
We should expect to achieve rapid weight loss while following a calorie restricting detox diet. The weight loss occurs as a result of avoiding highly processed foods that have solid fats and added sugar. We are experiencing loss of water weight and loss of muscle weight as well as losing some fat. Detox diets are not sustainable long term so we should be prepared to gain back most of the weight loss as soon as we return to a normal diet. Do not feel guilty when this happens, it is not anything you have done wrong, it is simply the biological result of returning to normal eating after a period of fasting and highly restricting calories.
The Side Effects Of Detox Dieting
Some detox diets severely limit protein or require fasting which can result in fatigue. Long term fasting can result in vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Most people don’t feel good on very low calorie, nutrient-poor diets. Potential side effects include low energy, low blood sugar, muscle aches, fatigue, dizzy or light headed and nausea. Colon cleansing, which is often recommended as part of a detox plan, can cause cramping, bloating, nausea and vomiting. Dehydration can also be a concern.
Do detox diets work? There is no biological basis for detoxing to clean the liver and flush out toxins. Our organs and immune system handle those duties very efficiently no matter what we eat. We may experience rapid weight loss while following a detox diet, but the weight loss is subject to remaining on the detox diet. For lasting results eat fresh, healthy foods. Think lean when choosing protein, fat free dairy, fresh fruit and vegetables and high fibre carbohydrates. Start the day with a healthy breakfast and eat regularly throughout the day. Be observant of portion sizes, eliminate artificial sugars and Trans fat, avoid processed foods and saturated fats, drink plenty of water, limit caffeine and alcohol consumption and exercise regularly. No secrets, no short cuts, no detox diets, just ordinary advice for extraordinary results.
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