If you live for your next juice cleanse or love how you feel after you detox, you’re not going to like this (but we’re going to say it anyway)…
A detox diet is nothing more than a fad.
Don’t believe us? Well, get this: None of the detox companies in a 2009 investigation could provide proof that their programs were safe or effective.
But, you might say, I feel great after a detox — lighter, less bloated, and I’ve lost a good chunk of weight too!
To this, we say, of course you feel lighter! And sure, your jeans may feel a little looser. But the reasoning is simple: When you detox, you’re not consuming enough calories to maintain your current weight.
Plus, you are losing more fluids (due to low carb intake) and are further emptying your body due to one of the less pleasant side effects: more frequent runs (no pun intended) to the washroom.
And all that weight you lost? Studies have shown that you’ll gain it back rather quickly once you begin eating and drinking normally.
“There isn’t any convincing evidence that detox or cleansing programs actually remove toxins from your body or improve your health.” (Source: National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
Our bodies are designed to detox
When you participate in a cleanse or detox, you are essentially fasting. And considering you aren’t eating enough variety (if eating at all) to get the nutrients your body needs to perform at its optimal level, you aren’t allowing your body’s natural detoxification process to occur.
Yes, you read that right. Due to the extreme deprivation your body is experiencing during a cleanse or detox, the results of your “detox” are quite the opposite.
Consider this: Many detox diets are low in fiber, protein, and calories, all of which are necessary to detox naturally. That’s because our bodies need:
- Fiber to maintain a functioning GI tract (our body’s “natural cleaning crew”),
- A good amount of protein to maintain the right level of glutathione (the body’s “master detoxification enzyme”) to eliminate toxins,
- And enough calories to keep our metabolic processes functioning at a healthy rate.
“Detoxification is a process that the body performs around the clock utilizing important nutrients from the diet. It’s the process that transforms molecules that need to be removed from the body, or “toxins.” (Source: EatRight)
That’s right, our bodies are designed to detox. In fact, our major organs are hard at work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We probably wouldn’t be around very long without these 6 key detoxing machines.
1. Our immune system recognizes foreign substances and works to eliminate them
2. The lymph nodes in our small intestine work to filter out parasites and toxins
3. Our kidneys keep busy eliminating waste substances from our body.
4. Our liver is home to a group of enzymes that defend our bodies against toxins and harmful chemicals
5. Our respiratory system employs the fine hairs inside of our nose to trap toxic particles. If any get by (and are inhaled), they are expelled from our lungs via mucus
6. Our skin provides a barrier against harmful substances, including toxins
How to support your body’s natural ability to self-detox
Okay, so now you know you can practically detox for free. Just let your body do what it was designed to do… with a little bit of help from these natural friends:
Make sure you’re properly hydrated to ensure regularity.
2. Fruits and veggies
Build your meal around plant-based foods, rather than making the meat the star of the show. Consuming fruit and vegetables helps our bodies deal with incoming chemicals. Plus, they are less likely to have additives and hormones, like processed foods or meats.
See above. Help keep your body’s “natural cleaning crew” happy by regularly eating nuts, seeds, vegetables and whole grains.
As noted above, you need protein to detox. Period. So make sure you’re eating healthy proteins, like chicken breasts, eggs, fish, lentils, tree nuts, yogurt and more!
5. Naturally fermented foods
Foods like kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut and yogurt help keep your gut healthy, which in turns, helps manage toxins.
For an extra bonus, incorporate foods and drinks that support detoxification into your diet. These include artichokes, berries, cruciferous vegetables, garlic, lemon, onions, and green tea.
Ready to jump off the detox bandwagon and support your body’s natural ability to eliminate toxins? The solution is simple: Eat a well-rounded diet.