Detox diets and cleanses have become a mainstream part of wellness culture, often being touted as ways to flush away toxins from your system and foster weight loss, increased energy, and radiant skin.
But these plans come with their own set of complications; even though they’re popular, many have yet to be proven as effective and could even pose risks to your health.
They Don’t Work
Detox diets and cleanses have become a trendy wellness fad in recent years, often consisting of strict eating plans with fasting or the restriction or elimination of specific food groups and ingredients – often at great personal sacrifice if conducted improperly.
Your body already does an outstanding job of cleansing itself of toxins. Your liver, kidneys and immune system work tirelessly each day to rid itself of food waste, dead cells, pollution chemicals and bacteria in order to keep you healthy.
These systems can be assisted by adequate calories, adequate hydration, high-fiber foods and healthy fats – the easiest and safest way to support the natural detoxification processes is eating a balanced, nutritious diet.
Dieters who engage in detox diets and cleanses often eat low-cal, nutrient-deficient meals that fail to provide energy required by their bodies for functioning normally, leading them to quickly drop weight while later regaining it, according to research conducted by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH).
They Can Be Dangerous
Detox diets and cleanses are often promoted as ways to flush toxins out of your system by restricting specific foods or fasting.
Cleansing diets tend to deprive your body of essential vitamins and minerals it needs for proper functioning, leading to digestive issues such as gas, diarrhea and lightheadedness.
But they can also be particularly harmful for those with certain medical conditions, including diabetics and epileptics. Diabetics could experience an unexpected rise in their blood sugar, while epileptics could experience seizures.
Many detox diets also encourage cutting back or eliminating salt consumption, an essential element for good health but potentially hazardous if consumed in excess. Consuming too much salt may increase blood pressure levels which is linked to serious health conditions including heart disease.
They Aren’t Effective
Detox diets and cleanses have become increasingly popular over recent years, promising to detox your body, rejuvenate its health, and flush toxins out of your system.
But in reality, our bodies already contain an effective detox system: liver, kidneys, lungs and skin all work to flush toxins out. That’s why many believe that skipping meals or taking detox elixirs will help their bodies cleanse.
But detox diets and cleanses rely on extreme short-term dietary restrictions that may lower your metabolism over time, increasing your susceptibility to obesity and diabetes. They may also leave you hungry, fatigued, and craving sweets – making it hard to stick with for the long haul.
They Can Be Healthy
Detox diets and cleanses can be healthy if conducted the right way; that means following a nutrient-rich diet while cutting back on unhealthy foods that interfere with the natural detoxification processes in your body.
Dieting for detoxing purposes involves eating real, unprocessed food without too much added processing or high fructose corn syrup, which has been found to cause inflammation and increase oxidative stress levels in your body.
Cleanses may help you gain more of an awareness of hunger signals, helping you shed weight more efficiently and sustainably. But they may also leave you feeling exhausted due to an inadequate supply of energy and nutrients in the body.
Detoxes and juice cleanses involve restricting calories for extended periods, which may prove challenging. Once your plan ends, it’s likely you will regain some of the weight you lost – likely even more so if it involves fasting.