Detox diets or ‘Cleanses’ they can often be termed as are designed to remove harmful substances from the body with the intention of leaving it purer and healthier.
They are usually a combination of supplements and if you’re lucky some food, they generally place people on excessively low calories for a short period of time.
Foods such as fruits and juices, vegetables or herbs are usually combined to make up these detox diets.
They claim to help your immune system, promote fat loss and generally improve your health by removing these so say harmful toxins we encounter in everyday life and from other foods we eat.
So does our body need cleansing?
In short, no.
Klein and Kiat (2014) stated, ‘Although the detox industry is booming, there is very little clinical evidence to support the use of these diets.’
So why are they so popular?
- They are sold by uneducated or moral-less fitness professionals or sometimes even the general population as selling weight loss is a big money making market.
- People do actually lose weight if they stick to them. Due to the nature of these detoxes and the amount of calories restricted, anyone who sticks to these detoxes will lose weight. its just a shame that weight loss isn’t always an indicator of Fat Loss. and weight lost will be water. Glycogen stores are easily depleted in 24–48 hours if the body isn’t getting enough calories, particularly carbohydrates, which results in a weight loss of several pounds. Once a regular eating schedule is resumed, however, the glycogen and water come rushing back. This weight loss is what individuals contribute to the better health obtained via completing the detox.
Our bodies have there own detoxification system. Organs such as, the kidneys, liver, lungs etc all work to remove waste products from the body, they do not require aid of any pills, shakes or juices. In fact excessively reducing calories is a more likely way to detriment health than to enhance it.
If our bodies were in fact harmed via toxins it would be a medical issue, a reduction in calories and a few tablets will have zero impact.
To summarise, Patel (2016) puts it into perfect perspective,
“People eating a healthy, balanced diet comprised mainly of whole foods with minimal processing don’t need to completely avoid certain foods or restaurants. They definitely don’t need to buy into a cleanse after consuming foods that may contain unwanted additives. The evidence in support of detox diets or products just isn’t there. Until it is, you (and your wallet) are better off allowing your all-natural detoxification system to deal with the “toxins”.