Debunking Detox Diets
While the idea of purifying or cleansing your body may have a powerful appeal, there is very little evidence that detox diets remove toxins from your body or improve your health.
Detox diets are regimens or products that claim to remove toxins from your body. They are often marketed as cleanses or flushes that can also help you lose weight. Detox diets can take many forms, but they often include some of these activities:
- Drinking only juices or other liquids for a few days.
- Taking detox supplements.
- Drinking detox teas.
- Using laxatives.
- Severely restricting the types of foods you eat.
- Severely limiting calorie intake.
Detox diets that severely restrict the types of foods you’re eating do not lead to lasting weight loss. Instead, they may slow your metabolism, which can make it more difficult to lose weight.
Additionally, detox diets can lead to many side effects that can negatively impact your health. Possible side effects of detox diets include:
Luckily, our bodies already come with a built-in detox system! Your liver, kidneys, digestive tract and lungs all work together to effectively remove toxins from your body. You can help keep these organs healthy by avoiding highly-processed foods with solid fats and added sugars. Instead, choose foods with healthy fats (such as nuts, seeds, fish) and drink plenty of water.
It’s also a good idea to avoid toxins in the first place! If you drink alcohol, do so moderately, and avoid tobacco.
Finally, keep in mind that detox diets are not a good solution for long-term weight loss. Save yourself the trouble of going on a detox starvation plan - instead, focus on drinking plenty of water and eating well-balanced meals with fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. Your body will thank you!
About the Author
Kate Watts, MS, RDN, LDN is a Dietician with the Cone Health Nutrition and Diabetes Management Center