Detox diets, for some reason, have amassed a massive amount of attention and have thus become a health trend.
If you have pondered the idea of opting for a detox diet after months or possibly years of suffering the consequences of poor eating habits, it will befit you to get a grip on the basics of detox diets.
What are Detox Diets?
Detox diets, in a nutshell, are short-term dietary adjustments meant to remove toxins from your body.
A detox diet generally involves a period of fasting, which is then followed by a stringent diet of fruits, vegetables, juices, and water. Some detox diets also include herbs, teas, and supplements.
The purpose of a detox diet is to stimulate your liver to get rid of toxins, promote toxin removal, improve circulation, and provide your body with essential nutrients.
Types of Body Toxins
Undigested food residue
This refers to toxins that result from a heavy diet or poor digestion. While toxins are non-reactive in this stage, they can cause blockages and impair circulation.
Symptoms of this include white coating on the tongue, bad breath, mucus in the throat or sinuses, fatigue, and lack of taste sensations.
Reactive undigested food residue
These are endogenous toxins that are formed within the body. They can cause different inflammatory reactions and diseases.
As the name suggests, these are external toxins that we accumulate from the environment around us.
Air and water pollution, cigarette smoke, alcohol, medications, chemicals in processed foods, pesticides, and so on are a lethal source of environmental toxins.
Environmental toxins are acidic and need to be eliminated cautiously.
Ways to Detox
Detox diets can be implemented in a variety of ways. You can start with simple diet modifications or go ahead with a complete overhaul. However, commonly opted for detox diets involve some of the following:
- Drink juices made from fresh fruits and vegetables, smoothies, water, and tea
- Fasting for 1 to 3 days.
- Avoiding foods that contain copious amounts of contaminants, heavy metals, and allergens
- Drinking only specific liquids, such as salted water or lemon juice.
- Consuming supplements and herbs
- Making use of laxatives, and colon cleanses
- Regular exercise
- Avoiding alcohol, coffee, cigarettes, and refined sugar altogether
Potential Benefits of Detox Diets
People have claimed to have experienced the following benefits from detox diets.
Improvement in Skin Health
It is no secret that your diet and environment have an enormous impact on your skin. Eliminating toxins will keep your skin healthy.
Aids Digestion and Weight Management
Detox diets can catalyze long-term weight management by ridding you of the toxins that tend to obstruct proper metabolic functions.
Strong Immune System
Detox diets supposedly help your body have better digestive and lymphatic functions, both of which are instrumental in maintaining a healthy and balanced immune system.
Reduction in Inflammation
Diet plays a crucial role in the process of detoxification. Eating nutrient-rich whole foods will help you reduce inflammation.
A Boost in Energy Levels
An excess of toxins can cause you to be sluggish. Getting rid of these toxins can accelerate your energy levels.
Are Detox Diets Effective?
This seems to be the central question whenever detox diets are mentioned. Detox practitioners claim to have experienced the benefits mentioned above. However, the experts say that there is no credible evidence to support the role of detox diets in the same.
In any case, let us take a look at these diets have on weight loss.
Not many scientific studies have studied the effects of detox diets on weight loss. People who opted for this diet claimed to have lost a few pounds. However, this seems to be due to the loss of carbs and not fat. In other words, this weight is usually recovered after the detox diet.
A study showed that overweight Korean women who adopted the lemon detox diet, which limits you to a mixture of organic maple or palm syrups and lemon juice for a week, reduced their body weight, BMI and fat percentage significantly.
A severe calorie restriction is bound to result in weight loss, but the role of detox diets themselves is still questionable, especially in the long-term. Several detox diets may exhibit the same effects as those of intermittent fasting. However, short-term fasting does not affect everyone the same way.
Studies in women report that a 48-hour fast, as well as three weeks of reduced calorie intake, may increase stress hormone levels.
Ultimately, as tempting as they are, detox diets may not be the best option for you, especially in the long run. The benefits that these diets supposedly entail often have very little to do with eradicating toxins but have more to do with cutting down on unhealthy foods for an extended period.
What can you do instead?
Eat healthily. There are several nutrition tips that are backed by evidence that you can consider.
Eat enough Protein
Protein is known to play a crucial role in weight loss. Protein leaves you satiated, which in turn, prevents you from eating anything else immediately. Protein can also significantly boost your metabolism and reduce your blood sugar and pressure levels.
Reduce your sugar intake
Added sugars have proven to affect your metabolic health adversely
High sugar intake is associated with a multitude of ailments that include obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and several forms of cancer.
Avoid Alcohol and Drugs
Limiting your alcohol and drug intake is bound to yield positive results. Be sure to take care of this before you move on to diet and weight loss exercises.