Detox Diets – Do They Exist?
Hollywood and Bollywood stars have been long propagating “Detox Diets” in their routine and have been reporting wonderful effects from them. Today, it is the people around us who are talking about these diets. The internet has been flooded with articles on how “Detox Diets” work from weight loss to flushing out the body toxins to improving your energy levels. But wait? Is this just another one of the fad diets or it is a diet that actually does what it claims to do.
So, let’s start with what “Detox Diets” claim to do. They claim to flush out the “toxins” of your system. These diets take various forms. They involve consuming certain foods, special juices, consuming detox teas and other liquids and many propagate just fasting. Colon cleansing is also a part of “Detox Diets” to empty the intestines. Toxins according to the Merriam-Webster definition states:
“A toxin is a poisonous substance that is a specific product of the metabolic activities of a living organism and is usually very unstable, notably toxic when introduced into the tissues, and typically capable of inducing antibody formation.”
This means a toxin is a harmful substance and the body needs to eliminate to avoid harm to our bodies. If the toxins build up instead of being excreted you would be needing medical intervention urgently. But, in most of the cases – especially in healthy individuals there is no build up of toxins as our body has a built – in detox system. The kidneys, liver, skin and even the lungs are working overtime to eliminate them from our bodies.
So, how do people feel good as they claim after a “Detox Diet”? Detox diets promote natural foods – no processed and packaged foods high in saturated fats, sugars and salt. It also advocates the intake of fresh juices (vegetable and fruit). One ends up drinking more water and less or no caffeine or alcohol. These changes are generally good for the body and thus help in feeling better. And also since one has eliminated the intake of high calorie foods there is bound to be weight loss in an individual doing this diet. But, again this weight loss is temporary. This weight loss is mostly water loss and stored glycogen loss and it will be regained once one starts eating normally. So, it’s only the huffing and puffing along with clean eating habits that is going to be long term in terms of weight loss.
OUR VIEW: Dramatically limiting food intake through fasting or eliminating food groups can put the body under a lot of stress. Such diets result in nutrient deficiencies and give rise to many health problems. For example when macronutrients like carbohydrates, proteins and fats are missing one may feel dizzy, light headed or nauseated. Blood sugar levels may drop and body is fatigued. These diets may also trigger unhealthy eating behavior in young adults which can impact their long term health and well-being.
So, there is no scientific evidence to support the body’s need for detox through diet as the body is designed to detox, repair and regenerate on its own. Organs like liver, kidney, lungs, digestive system as well as the enzymes in the cells work towards eliminating the toxins from the body. By cutting back on key nutrients you may hamper the body’s natural process and harm the body instead. If one is looking to lose weight then detox is not the solution.