Ever noticed that after festive periods in the year - Christmas, Diwali, New Year - there is often a slew of diet recommendations in your inbox or in your browser?  One of the most popular is a "detox diet" or a "vegetable/ fruit juice cleanse", supposedly to help your liver and body cleanse itself of all the accumulated toxins from the excesses that you may have indulged in, and help you lose weight too.

Want the truth about detox diets?

Detox diets commonly limit foods to plant-based juices, sometimes seasoned with a supplement. After a few days of that regimen, you’re supposed to be cleansed.

Of what? Good question.  Well, in turns out that even detox diet companies don’t really know. An investigation of ten companies found that they couldn’t name a single “toxin” eliminated by any of their fifteen products — let alone prove that their products worked.

Detox diets are not necessarily safe, either.  Every now and then a case report emerges about potential risks, such as kidney damage from green smoothies or liver failure from detox teas.

But, we haven't answered the big question - do you need to 'detox'? We have one question for you first:

Do you have a functioning liver & kidney?

Yes.

Congratulations! You've been detoxed.

Your liver, kidneys, lungs, and other organs work around the clock to remove harmful substances and excrete the waste products of metabolism, i.e. they 'detox' all the time! So you don't need to 'detox', instead focus on eating better most of the time.

Why it 'feels' like detoxes work

One answer is: Spectacular weight loss, in a short period of time.

Why does this happen?

Because you deprive your body of food. And you feel better, that’s because of the increased vegetable and fruit intake, not because any form of detoxification is taking place.

Remember - cleanses/detoxes are short term, so people never get to see them fail. All they see is the spectacular weight loss; they feel better because of it, and they attribute both their weight loss and perceived better health to their 'cleanse'. And they still do when they resume eating normally and most of the weight they lost comes rushing back.

Don't fall for internet diets (or expensive detox scams)

Misinformation is rampant, difficult to identify, and unfortunately spreads much faster than facts.  And really, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Because we all want to get fitter, it’s easy to fall for health myths.

We bust many myths in the FLC and show D9'ers what to focus on so that they can see real changes. Here's what Mandothari Saravanan had to say about her FLC experience:

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References:

  1. "Green Smoothie Cleanse" Causing Acute Oxalate Nephropathy
  2. Yogi Detox Tea: A Potential Cause of Acute Liver Failure
  3. The Detox Dossier by The Voice of Young Science Network
  4. Images from Examine.com
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