Myth Buster: Detox Diets. You should “Detox” regularly!

Detox diets and forms of have been around for years and different companies and schemes seem to be popping up every 5 mins claiming that their products are a must have for health!

Such diets commonly limit foods to plant-based juices, milkshakes and various other alternatives that are sometimes seasoned with a supplement. After a few days of that regimen, you’re supposed to be cleansed of...what? What exactly are we being cleansed of?

What I find interesting, is that 10 detox companies were investigated back in 2009 and not one single company could name a single toxin that their product helped to eliminate!!

Toxins are usually classed as plant or animal based toxins that are poisonous to human beings. BUT to the so called ‘guru’s’, these toxins also include heavy metals, everything synthetic as well as toxicants which are your man made poisons such as pollutants and pesticides!

Unfortunately, even if a substance is harmful, detox diets won’t help! Acute toxicity would more than likely be a medical emergency, whereas chronic/long term toxicity would respond better to a well-fed body not one weakened by an ultra low calorie, liquid based, detox diet!!

We have certain organs with the main function being to detoxify our bodies. Your liver, kidneys, lungs, and other organs work around the clock to remove harmful substances and excrete the waste products of metabolism. By reducing your intake of the nutrients that those organs need to perform these functions, a detox diet can hinder your body’s natural detoxification process.

I personally would steer anyone away from this option. However, if you wish to improve your body’s ability to detox, your best bet is to load up with various nutritious foods that can help your organs to work optimally, such as cruciferous and other fibrous veggies.

Detox diets are can also be harmful! Every now and again you hear of a case reporting of the potential risks, such as kidney damage from green smoothies or liver failure from detox teas!

So after all of this, why are these detox diets so popular and why are so many companies making so much money from them? The simple answer is quick weight loss, or a quick fix is attractive and sells! What people do not realise is that the weight that they lose is nearly ALL water weight!

These types of diets deprive your body of carbs and you can literally exhaust your glycogen stores in as little as 24 hours. The resulting loss of several pounds can convince you that the diet has had a positive effect. However, when the diet ends and you resume your regular eating habits, the glycogen and associated water come flooding back along with all of those pounds that you previously had lost.

For each gram of carbs stored in your muscles as glycogen, it will combine with 3x the amount of water! So when people feel better from a detox diet, is this pure placebo effect?

The answer to this, surprisingly, is not always.

People are usually in that ‘healthy’ eating mindset and are pretty focused at eliminating all the ‘bad’ foods from their diet. Along with a reduced calorie intake they usually increase their fruit and vegetable consumption which in turn increases the amount of vitamins and minerals they are taking in.

So again, it comes down to the fact that there is no quick fix. These diets are totally needless as a form of detox and as previously mentioned, we have organs that are detoxing our bodies on a daily basis already!

In terms of weight loss, we encourage you to make small, sustainable changes and concentrate on turning them into habits. Focus on eating more fruit and veg and maybe even track your food and calories for a period of time to better understand your diet. Create a calorie deficit and combine this with moving more and exercise regularly :)