Extremely popular with the younger lot, detox diets are the new cool! But are they really beneficial or is it all hype? Even though no health benefits of detox diets have been proven scientifically, people these days prefer these over the regular diets. What happens is that a period of fasting is followed by a diet of fruits, raw vegetables, fruit juice, and water. This has to be followed very particularly for proper detoxification. Moreover, some detox diets also use herbs and supplements with colon purifying enemas in order to flush the toxins out of the intestines.
A detox diet is best at removing highly processed foods that constitute of solid fats and sugar from the body. But this can also be done by simply avoiding the high-calorie foods for some days. Following a different diet altogether that does not really have additional benefits can also backfire. Some detox diets include fasting wherein only drinking liquids is allowed. While others do allow some specific fruits and vegetables.
Why Do We Need Detox Diets
Consuming toxics is a very normal thing considering the environment we live in and the lifestyle we have these days. Detox diets can come to your rescue by fighting the harmful effects of the environment. The toxins that enter our bodies include heavy metals, pollutants and synthetic chemicals among other things.
A strict detox diet can do the following:
- Improve circulation within the body.
- Use fasting to give organs of the body a rest.
- Supply the body with healthy nutrients.
- Facilitate the elimination of toxins through sweat, urine, and feces.
- Cause liver stimulation, thereby helping to remove the toxins out of the body.
Going by the claims, it is said that detox diets provide relief from various health issues like:
- Chronic fatigue
- Digestive issues
- Autoimmune diseases
However, one cannot ignore the fact that there is no conclusive evidence in favor of the detox diets. They may help to reach short-term goals but are also deemed unnecessary by doctors.
Do Detox Diets Help Remove Toxins and Aid in Weight Loss
The fact is that our bodies remove the toxins on their own. The liver is the organ that helps release toxins from the body. Even though it is an organic process, the body does find it difficult to get rid of chemicals like heavy metals, BPA, phthalates, and organic pollutants. They have a tendency to get accumulated in the blood tissues and if they do, it can take years to remove them from the body.
In a situation like this, detox diets come in handy. A lot of people have shared their stories of the positive impact that detox diets have had on them like, they have claimed to feel more focused and energetic.
But there has been no research and scientific evidence to prove the effectiveness of detox diets. A few studies, however, have revealed that they do help with weight loss. The lemon detox diet is said to have helped enormously with weight loss. Consuming maple syrups and lemon juice for a week showed results. There was a glaring reduction in body fat, body weight, waist size, body mass index, and body fat percentage. Detox diets also reduce the major fat hormone leptin and insulin resistance.
If a detox diet operates on the restriction of calorie, then it will result in weight loss. But the fact remains that it will not help in the long term if your lifestyle is the same.
Some Detox Strategies
Basically, all kinds of detox diets contain one of the following things:
- Workout regimen
- Drinking tea, water, smoothies, vegetable juices, and fresh fruit
- Fasting for a period of one to three days
- The use of enemas, colon cleanses or laxatives
- Consuming herbs or supplements
- The removal of foods that contain heavy metals
- The absolute removal of sugar, cigarettes, coffee, and alcohol.
- Abstaining from allergenic foods and gradual starting with them.
- Drinking only lemon juice, water, and other fluids.
It is to be noted that the duration and intensity of various detox diets can vary depending on what they advocate to eat/drink and what to cut down.
It is only wise to first consider the side effects before starting with the detox diet.
The detox diets that call for an extreme reduction of calories can cause irritability, fatigue and bad breath. Long-term fasting also has side effects like mineral deficiencies and electrolyte imbalance. Colon cleansing techniques can lead to nausea, bloating, vomiting, cramping, and dehydration.
Some detox diets can make you take a higher than usual dose of diuretics, laxatives, and supplements. This can be dangerous.
Not good in some conditions
Those suffering from diabetes should steer clear of detox diets. They can be harmful as it can lead to low blood sugar levels in case you take medicines for diabetes.
Who should Avoid Detoxification Diets
- Pregnant women
- People who are malnourished
- People who have medical conditions
Some say it is not the best way to remove toxins, but to undermine the popularity of detox diets among the youth will be to harbor ignorance. Barring extreme circumstances, your body does not really need help in flushing the toxins out. However, they can be helpful if you have been indulging in smoking and drinking. They can be of some use but even that is not validated by researches. But the accounts given by people speak for themselves. Our suggestion? Go for it when all other means have failed, otherwise, let it pass.