Detox diets and cleanses have become more popular than ever before. These diets are said to have the ability to clean your blood and rid your body of harmful toxins. While all of this sounds great on paper, it is not clear how these diets manage to do this or if they even work at all. In this article we are going to take a closer look at detox diets and cleanses to see if they really do work.
Knowing More About Detox
A detox diet is just a generally short-term diet that is specifically designed to eliminate the harmful toxins residing in our body. Detox diets typically involve periods of fasting accompanied by strict diets that consist of vegetables, fruits, water and fruit juices. A detox diet may also sometimes include an enema, colon cleanses, herbs, tea, and supplements.
Going on this type of diet can supposedly benefit you in the following ways:
- Stimulates the liver to remove toxins
- Allows your organs to rest by fasting
- Improves blood circulation
- Provides the body with essential nutrients
- Promotes the elimination of toxins through feces, urine and sweat
Most nutrition experts recommend detox diets because of how the human body gets constantly exposed to toxic chemicals in our diet’s environment. These toxic chemicals include harmful pollutants, heavy metals, synthetic chemicals, and many other harmful compounds.
Detox diets are also said to be effective in helping us deal with a variety of health problems including autoimmune diseases, digestive issues, chronic fatigue, allergies, bloating and inflammation. However, it should be noted that human research on the effects of detox diets are quite lacking, and the handful of studies conducted on them have some noticeable flaws.
Common Detox Diet Methods
There are several methods used when following a detox diet – ranging from completely starving oneself to simplifying one’s food intake.
Here are some of the common methods used for detox diets:
- Drinking fresh fruit and vegetable smoothies, juices, tea, and water
- Taking herbs or supplements
- Avoiding all allergenic foods and then slowly reintroducing yourself to them
- Regular exercise
- Using enemas, colon cleanses and laxatives
- Completely removing sugars, alcohol, cigarettes and coffee from one’s diet
- Fasting for up to 3 days
- Drinking only certain types of liquids, such as lemon juice or salted water
The duration and intensity of detox diets will vary from person to person.
How Effective Are Detox Diets?
Some people have reported feeling more energetic and focused after successfully following a detox diet. However, some believe that this sense of improved health and well-being mostly has to do with the elimination of alcohol, cigarettes, sugar and coffee from one’s diet. By going on a detox diet, you might have also given your body vitamins and nutrients that it was previously lacking.
There are also those who have reported feeling unwell after following this kind of diet.
Detox and Weight Loss
Only a few scientific studies have taken a closer look at how detox diets can affect weight loss. While there are those who have reported losing weight quickly, this can be attributed to the elimination of carb stores and fluid rather than fat.
If severe caloric restriction were part of a detox diet, then it would most certainly improve your metabolic health and aid in weight loss – but the chances of it helping you keep your weight off are highly unlikely according to experts.
Detox diets are effective in helping remove toxins from the body, but when it comes to weight loss more studies are needed to completely prove this effect.