Detox diet fans believe that detox will help them to lose weight, get rid of cellulite and make their skin glow. They believe that our bodies are overloaded with toxins and therefore may cause problems like weight gain, energy loss and dull skin in long term. These toxins come from air pollution, caffeine, alcohol and processed foods. While the result is still lack of any concrete evidence, the diet is gaining ground, partly due to the marketing campaign initiated by the manufacturers in this multi-million dollar industry. Let’s look at whether detox is a marketing myth or a nutritional reality.
- Detox diet significantly restrict many foods and reduce the amount of food intake. They include wheat, dairy products, fish, meat, eggs, alcohol, caffeine, and processed foods. In detox diet, normally, several foods are allowed. Fruit, vegetables, beans, seeds, herbal teas and massive amounts of water are encouraged. Most encourages drinking of two to three liter of water a day. In market, many types of detox diets are available, from some which only allow juice intake to those do not allow chewing of food; some lasted for few days to two weeks; some also incorporate massage and aromatherapy.
- Most people claimed that they feel much better after being “detoxified”. However, it is not because that they have got rid of excessive toxin, but because of the change of lousy diet to a diet packed with mainly fruit, vegetables and water. Also, it can happen because of placebo effect.
- Believers say that fruits and vegetables are low in toxin while fish and meat has more accumulated harmful toxin. While I am not certain that claim is true, but I believe that even vegetables such as spinach, cabbage or onions may be high with toxin too because of the use of pesticide?
- BBC UK actually done a simple experiment. It brought ten late night party lovers to a country cottage retreat. The group was divided into two – one group was put on a balanced diet whereas the other group was on strict detox diet. After a week, testings were done on kidney and liver to measure the toxicity level (based on antioxidant and aluminum levels in their blood), surprisingly, no differences were found between the group. The experiment proves that human body has its own way of regulating toxins without the need of flushes or cleanses.
- People suffering from constipation may find detox diet helpful. Some proponents believe that our colons need to be flushed out periodically. While I agree healthy digestive system is important, adequate fiber and water can be included in our daily diet too and does not have to rely on detox diet.
- As for the claims of losing weight, the truth is that detox diet makes you go to toilet a lot – pee and poop. So, it is water and waste you are losing. So, it is common people put weight back on once they are no longer on detox diet. Just remember that rapid weight loss through detox diet does not boost your metabolism. In fact, the diet stifles it.
- People who are on detox diet for more than a week may feel fatigue or having headache. Without a balanced diet, they are lack of certain nutrients and may have lost electrolytes. In fact, detox diet is not for people suffering from diabetes or liver problem and definitely not meant for pregnant woman.
Until today, detox products, be it pill, juice, tea or oil does not have scientific foundation for the claims of detoxifying effect in expelling unwanted toxins. My stand on detox client is that – if it helps change your bad eating habits and teach you more about food, go ahead and try it. If you want to start on a cleansing detox diet, go for those which allow you to actually eat. However, I still believe that we need to eat a balanced diet to get all the required nutrients. There is no such thing that one diet plan fits all. The best diet plan is the one you can safely and realistically stick with for long term. Not forget also regular exercise and good sleeping habit.
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