As the holidays come to and end and the new year begins, so do all our renewed promises of becoming healthy, wealthy and wise. In a bid to begin on a healthy note most resort to detox diets to purge their system of weeks of partying. What most of us are unaware of is that unless you are a heroin addict, you don’t really need to go on a detox diet.
Detox diets come in many forms depending on your end goal. Some require you to completely eliminate certain food groups, some ask to stay only on fruits and vegetables and certain recommended the use of supplements and enemas. The goal is to eliminate all the built up toxins inside our bodies and give you a sense of renewed health and vigour. They help in weight loss, solving digestive problems and are said to increase vitality.
The truth is our body is a wonderful mechanism and has an in-built waste disposing system. It does not need the help of fad diets to do its job. The liver, kidney, digestive system and skin to name a few, are adept at expunging anything ‘toxic’ we might consume with regard to food. Taking nutritional supplements, vitamin tablets or giving yourself an enema without the recommendation of doctors can cause bloating, cramping and even nausea.
No detox diet can or should be continued for a sustained period of time. Doing so leads to numerous side effects including loss of muscle mass and energy, nutrition deficiencies and fatigue. Further, all the weight lost during the diet, which is mostly in the form of water, glycogen and waste, returns once you go back to a normal eating pattern. Also, these diets don’t allow you to include some form of exercise as you are consuming very little calories. Refraining from regular exercise can have a dire impact on your mental and physical well being.
There is no scientific proof that detox diets are good for you or have lasting effects. The key to remaining healthy or ensuring you don’t put too many toxins into your body is to find a way to consume as many whole foods as you can while limiting if not eliminating highly processed food from your diet. The trick is not is reaching out for a temporary extreme to restore balance but in taking measured but steady steps towards better food habits.