Have you ever been on a detox diet to “cleanse” your liver, improve overall health or lose that unwanted weight gain? Detox diets have been around for many years, heavily promoted by influential people such as Hollywood celebrities. It’s the rage on social media channels! – claiming to be the solution towards achieving “easy” and “effective” weight loss or even “ridding the body of toxins”.
However do these products actually work? Does our body require a detox diet? The “dirty truth” will be revealed….
What is in a detox diet?
Before we can uncover the real truths, we need to understand what makes up a detox diet. Detox diets can vary from consuming raw vegetables and unprocessed foods, with a strong emphasis on eliminating sugar, alcohol and caffeine.
Or go to another extreme of intense starvation and only drinking juices. Many detox products on the market advertise that they contain superior blends of ingredients. Some ingredients include silybin (milk thistle extract), green tea, laxatives, caffeine and antioxidant derivatives.
Detox diets and “cleansing” the body:
There is a strong misconception around “cleansing” the body through following a detox diet. In fact, no scientific evidence supports the notion that our bodies require a specific diet to eliminate toxins.
The human body has many efficient systems for waste removal – our lungs, kidneys, liver and gastrointestinal tract remove toxic substances. Think of the liver as the primary waste disposal unit. Our liver plays an important role in metabolising substances from food, then eliminating any toxic by-products through bodily systems.
Detox diets and weight loss:
Let’s not also forget the proclamations that following a detox diet results in feeling more energised, and provides effective weight loss. A detox diet generally restricts kilojoule intake, thereby placing our body in a state of starvation. During this time, carbohydrate stores in the muscle and liver become depleted.
The “rapid” weight loss that people experience over such a short period is mostly attributed to loss of water and carbohydrate stores. So when a person resumes a normal eating pattern, the weight is regained instantly. Definitely not a sustainable and long-term approach.
A popular, trending product which has been around for decades is the Lemon Detox diet. To know more about its downfalls and fallacies visit “Latest diet trends uncovered”.
The true way towards feeling more energised and healthy
We as individuals have to be mindful that a detox diet does not instil or teach important principles of well-balanced eating. Instead of people addressing the underlying cause of their poor health behaviours, detoxing is just another “quick fix” band aid solution.
The key towards feeling more energised and healthy is not a detox, however adopting positive health behaviours:
- Consume plenty of nutritious foods each day such as fresh fruit and vegetables, wholegrains and dairy which are preferably low GI.
- Limit the intake of nutrient-poor foods which contribute towards fatigue and weight gain – alcohol, refined sugars, as well as fatty and fried foods high in saturated fats.
- Reduce cigarette smoking and getting a good nights sleep (average 6-8 hours/night), to ensure optional function throughout the day.
So ditch the detox, and consider practical solutions which will be a greater investment for your health.
- Crowe, T. Thinking of Detoxing? The pros and cons of Detox Diets. 2011, Oct 12. Available from: http://www.thinkingnutrition.com.au/detox-diets-pros-cons/
- Fuller, N. The secret to a healthy liver isn’t through a “detox” diet. 2016 May 23. Available from: http://www.businessinsider.com.au/the-secret-to-a-healthy-liver-isnt-through-a-detox-diet-2016-5
- Dalley, E. Do diet products work? Tempted by detox-in-a-box? 2016, Oct 4. Available from: https://www.choice.com.au/health-and-body/diet-and-fitness/weight-loss/articles/do-detox-products-work
- Dietitians’ Association of Australia. I’m tired all the time, should I try a detox diet? 2017. Available from: https://daa.asn.au/smart-eating-for-you/smart-eating-fast-facts/healthy-eating/im-tired-all-the-time-should-i-try-a-detox-diet/