Ah detox diets… I’ve wanted to talk about these “diets” for quite some time now.
It seems as though every other week a celebrity, trainer, or dietician is pushing some new miracle home brewed or premade liquid concoction that is supposed to “clean” your body out and rid you of toxins. Hmm, I feel an Angry Trainer Rant coming on.
The word detox stems from detoxification, and is most associated with the beginning of a drug rehabilitation program, in which people that have drug, alcohol, or other chemical addictions, undergo a withdrawal to rid their body of high levels of toxins associated with their addiction. In those cases, a detox is truly needed.
But what does detox mean now? It’s simple, people go on vacation, have a weekend of partying and rich food, and think that by drinking a mix of lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and some sugar, that they’ll clean out the pipes, rid their body of harmful substances, and be healthy and as good as new. Guess what… it doesn’t work like that!
Most of the famous detox diets are liquid based, require massive calorie cutting, and are essentially nothing more than fasts. I’ve given one example for a home made version, but a quick search on Google and you’ll find thousands of different recipes. To me they all sound the same. Some say the diets claim to stimulate bowel movements, which in turn help you get of rid excess bad stuff. Others even claim that environmental toxins can be removed by following one of these plans, which generally last about 3 days (though some can go as long as a week)
There are fruit and vegetable detox plans that also emphasize drinking lots of water, (I know – groundbreaking!) a raw food detox, and a diuretic detox that contains herbs to make your body shed water. And they make some hefty claims; the maple sugar variety apparently regulates the release of toxins and stored fats for energy. The fruit detox claims to stabilize your body’s PH level and regulate sugar levels, and the diuretic version claims that body fat will be lost.
They sound great right? Almost like natural healers and wonder plans. But is a detox plan right for you?
Seriously, I’ve had enough of this detox crap!
I’ve been asked about these insanely unhealthy plans for years. They’re just ludicrous in my opinion. And I couldn’t find one valid, legitimate study or research paper that even remotely backed some of the supposed benefits. Even if these plans did what they claimed (which they don’t) how much can really be done in 3 days? How much cleansing is actually going to happen? Are you going to undo years of bad eating in half a week? The claims of fat loss, regulation of this and that, ridding your body of “harmful substances”, balancing PH and sugar levels….what a load!
I have a great idea – ready? Grab a pencil and some paper. How about you just eat healthy? A healthy and nutritious eating plan is the ultimate detox diet and provides you with all of the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, nutrients and other amazing compounds that protect your body and give it what it needs to regulate itself.
Many of these detoxes are basically starvation plans, that leave people feeling nauseous, with headaches and diarrhea, feeling lethargic and a whole host of symptoms. Sure they’ll be lighter in a few days – from not freakin’ eating any real food! That hardly makes these diets a success. What do you think happens when you start eating again? All that water you lost comes right back. I know people that seem to be detoxing every other week!
Listen, you should be eating a healthy, nutritious diet all the time, with only occasional indulgence, not the other way around. And if you do lead a healthy lifestyle, then you’ve got nothing to worry about and can forget detoxes. If you pig out, eat an entire pizza or tub of ice cream, or have an alcohol binge filled weekend there is no need to clean anything out, or starve yourself for days. Get back on track with healthy eating and let your body detoxify with what you feed it. After all, that’s what your liver is for!