Many celebrities tout the mega benefits of doing a detox diet. But are they really a good idea? While the creators of such diets proclaim their many benefits, medical professionals remain skeptical about how they affect overall health.
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Of course, the choice to follow the demands of a detox are entirely yours, it’s a good idea to understand what you’re getting in to as well as discussing the program with your doctor before going forward. This way you can get the most out of the diet without jeopardizing your health.
Here’s everything you need to know about doing a detox.
A detox is defined as a diet meant to flush toxins from your system. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Not so fast, say doctors. According to the experts at the Mayo Clinic, there is very little evidence that detox diets are effective or that they do what they claim to do.
For most people, the kidneys are perfectly able to flush toxins from the body and don’t require any assistance from special concoctions.
How They Work
Most detox diets work by aiding the body in the elimination of toxins. According to Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD, the diets generally involve a regimen of liquids or fasting. Some promote eating only certain foods, such as fruits and vegetables and little else.
The idea is that these natural and healthy foods will give the body a jump start in refreshing itself and creating a clean slate going forward. A detox is generally short-term and only lasts for a couple of days. This is because the programs severely restrict calorie and food intake, which makes them very difficult to stick with.
There are several risks that can arise when you follow a detox diet. Zelman says that you will eat only a limited number of foods for the duration of the program and that you might also have to purchase powders, supplements or other items to complete the detox.
The diets can be dangerous for people with certain health conditions, including heart disease and diabetes. In an NBC news report, experts warn that detox diets can lead to muscle breakdown and nutrient deficiencies. You might also experience diarrhea, stomach cramps, dizziness and other unpleasant effects caused by severe calorie restriction.
Most experts say that you might drop a few pounds on a detox diet, but they will likely come right back once you return to your normal eating pattern. A once in a while detox isn’t likely to cause you any harm as long as you are otherwise healthy. However, repeated detox programs can lead to health issues.
To be successful on your detox, make sure you follow the directions and get the approval of your doctor before getting started. If you ever feel like the detox is compromising your health, stop the program and speak to your doctor. It’s also important to understand that following a detox diet isn’t necessary to clear out the body.
However, it can help you get into the habit of making healthy eating choices since most of the programs encourage eating fresh, healthy foods that aren’t packaged or processed.
The bottom line is that a detox diet isn’t going to revolutionize your health or cause a dramatic weight loss. However, it can be a great way to jump start healthy eating and lifestyle choices.
Learning how to fuel your body with nutritious foods is something that will serve you well for many years to come. The United States Department of Agriculture recommends eating a variety of foods from each food group and limiting fast food, soda, candy and other foods high in fat, calories and sugar. If a detox diet teaches you to do this, it may just the thing you need.