Detoxifying and cleansing diets full of myths

Detoxifying and cleansing diets full of myths

Detoxifying and cleansing diets full of myths

For many, the new year means it is time to “cleanse” and “detox.”

But what does that mean?

Some plans involve fasting or living on fluids, while others add more fruits and vegetables to your diet. The most extreme may require taking herbs and supplements while cleansing the colon (with enemas).

Despite the popularity of these plans, there is very little scientific evidence to support the need to give your organs a digestive vacation.

In fact, detoxifying in this way can deprive your organs of vital nutrients. So before you ditch the fork, consider these 5 detox myths:

  • Myth No. 1: You will lose weight. Sure, a detox might help you lose a few pounds because you’re consuming so few calories, but once you resume your normal diet, the weight will return.
  • Myth No. 2: You will rid your body of harmful toxins. Our livers, kidneys, and colon are extraordinarily effective at eliminating toxins, no matter what we eat, drink, or breathe. Ironically, most detox diets restrict the nutrients your organs need to do their job.
  • Myth No. 3: Any symptoms you experience mean that the detox is working. Detoxifiers often experience headaches, fatigue, nausea, dizziness, and bad breath. The creators of detox diets will say that those symptoms are a sign that toxins are disappearing. More exactly, they are what happens when you don’t eat and drink enough calories. Specifically, ketosis (when our body uses fat for energy instead of carbohydrates) can cause bad breath, and your headache could be due to caffeine withdrawal.
  • Myth No. 4: You will feel better / have more energy. Since detox diets generally reject processed foods laden with sugar and fats, it makes sense that some people feel better during a “cleanse.” The problem is that a few days of fasting up the ante for nutritional deficiencies, which could lead to dizziness and fatigue. A Better Approach: Limit high-calorie, low-nutrient foods for life, not just during a 7-day detox.
  • Myth No. 5: You will reverse a chronic disease. While most people can safely handle a short-term fast, detox diets can be harmful for people with certain medical conditions. In people with diabetes, for example, they can cause dangerously low blood sugar levels.

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