It’s hard not to be tempted by chips and donuts in the grocery store, or an easy, cheesy pizza for dinner. Before too long, unfortunately, your body will feel the effects of those tasty indulgences. Your waistline might suffer, and your insides may not be too happy either.
Detoxification and cleanse diets have become popular as a way to address unhealthy eating. The goal of these diets is to get rid of toxins in the body, and possibly lose some weight in the process. But do these programs really work?
Here are a few things to know:
Detox diets can vary quite a bit in what kinds of foods are allowed. A detox diet might involve fasting or drinking only liquids, or it might cut out processed foods and certain food groups. Research on the effectiveness of these diets for weight loss is slim, but one study using a lemon detox program found participants had lower body fat and insulin resistance after the 11-day period. Studies have found that dieters can easily regain weight when they begin eating and drinking normally again, so it is important to develop a healthy diet plan to follow after the detox diet has concluded.
“While detox diets can be helpful at first, the benefits may not last long if you can’t stick to a healthy lifestyle,” says nutritionist Emily Woll. “A long-term approach consisting of a healthy diet and regular exercise can have more lasting results.”
Detox and cleansing programs are touted for their ability to remove toxins from the body, both from external sources and those produced during metabolism. There isn’t much data to support the theory that these restrictive diets actually detox or cleanse the body. The kidneys, liver and immune system, along with other organs, naturally rid the body of toxins. Staying hydrated and eating lots of fruits, vegetables and lean protein can help support these systems while they do their work.
You can do a detox safely, but there can also be several aspects of a detox diet that put your health at risk. It is important to research your diet plan before you get started. Some detox or cleansing products may contain harmful ingredients or make false claims. Electrolyte imbalances and dehydration can also occur, and these conditions can be dangerous if they aren’t addressed.
A detox or cleanse could help you embark on a more healthy lifestyle, but it can be a risky endeavor. Talk to your doctor and do your research to ensure that whatever program you choose is safe and effective.
A version of this article was published by The Daily Herald. It has been republished here with permission.