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Detox Diets: Healthy Choice or Hype?


A detoxification or detox diet might be a great way to kick-start healthier lifestyle choices, but there is little scientific evidence these diets eliminate toxins from the body.

Detox diets vary, but generally begin with a period of fasting, followed by a disciplined intake of fruit, fruit juices, raw veggies, and/or water. Some require ingesting specific herbs or other supplements, and might involve enemas (colon cleansing).

There are many advocates of detoxification, some are well respected, but other medical professionals point out that our body already has two organs designed to filter out most ingested toxins, our liver and kidneys.

About Detoxing

So, if you are interested is trying a detox diet, be wise and do a bit of research first, and keep the following in mind:

  • Detox diets are not recommended for people with symptoms of an eating disorder. If you are thinking about detoxing to lose weight, consider this motive a red flag warning you away from the diet.
  • Get an nod from your physician before going through a detox regimen because there may be side effects. Since these diets usually limit protein intake and might require fasting, fatigue may become severe, and vitamin or mineral deficiencies can occur. If you are taking medications you will need to understand how the diet might alter their effectiveness.
  • A colon cleanse - frequently part of detox plans - can cause bloating, cramping, nausea, and vomiting. Dehydration can also occur.
  • It is possible that many people feel better after detoxing because they have stopped consuming highly processed, sugary, and fatty foods. Limiting or eliminating processed foods is one of the best longterm choices people can make to create better health.
  • If you frequently eat seafood, become a savvy shopper to avoid buying fish likely to be loaded with toxins, including heavy metals.

Be aware that not everyone promoting detoxification, and detox products, has your best interest in mind. Read up on detox diets from reputable sources before trying one—so you can make an informed, intelligent choice.

Source: Mayo Clinic
Photo credit: bertholf