What Is a Detox? | Demystifying the Detox Myth!
What Is a Detox?
Detox diets promise to make us feel better by cutting out supposed ‘toxins’. Nutritionist Kerry Torrens discusses the pros and cons of drastic diets… Thanks to celebrity endorsements and promises of a quick fix, detox diets have quite a following. Fans believe we need a break from the overload of toxins that engulf our everyday lives and that includes processed and junk food, alcohol, caffeine, sugar as well as cigarette smoke and pollution. The reason typically given for a detox is to support the body’s perceived inability to manage this overload, which detox supporters suggest might otherwise lead to weight gain, cellulite, bloating, fatigue and ill health.
Is Detox Good?
Not only are detox diets not good for people with certain medical conditions, they could be harmful. There is no research showing they improve blood pressure or cholesterol or have a positive effect on the heart . For people with diabetes , they may be quite dangerous. Any diet that severely restricts what you eat could lead to dangerously low blood sugar if you take medicine for diabetes The exception would be a detox diet that just focuses on clean eating. This approach could be great for anyone living with high cholesterol high blood pressure , diabetes, and even heart disease The Final Word We’ve heard a great deal about detox diets in recent years. But it’s all hype with no health benefits. There are many ways to get your body clean and healthy. This isn’t one of them.
What Is a Detox?
Detox diets are generally short-term dietary interventions designed to eliminate toxins from your body.
A typical detox diet involves a period of fasting, followed by a strict diet of fruit, vegetables, fruit juices, and water. Sometimes a detox also includes herbs, teas, supplements, and colon cleanses or enemas.
This is claimed to:
- Rest your organs by fasting
- Stimulate your liver to get rid of toxins
- Promote toxin elimination through feces, urine, and sweat Improve circulation
- Provide your body with healthy nutrients
Detox therapies are most commonly recommended because of potential exposure to toxic chemicals in the environment or your diet. These include pollutants, synthetic chemicals, heavy metals, and other harmful compounds.
These diets are also claimed to help with various health problems, including obesity , digestive issues, autoimmune diseases, inflammation, allergies, bloating, and chronic fatigue.
Which Toxins Are Eliminated?
Detox diets rarely identify the specific toxins they aim to remove. The mechanisms by which they work are also unclear.
In fact, there is little to no evidence that detox diets remove any toxins from your body.
Detox diets rarely identify the specific toxins they’re claimed to remove, and evidence that they remove toxins at all is lacking. Your body can clear itself of most toxins through the liver, feces, urine, and sweat.
Yogi Tea Detox: Fact or Fiction?
Medically reviewed by the Healthline Medical Team Herbal detoxes like the Yogi Tea detox are unlikely to be harmful, but your body does a pretty good job on its own.
Apple Cider Vinegar Detox: Does It Work?
- It may curb appetite. The acidic properties of apple cider vinegar—specifically acetic acid—may lead to feelings of fullness, registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Amy Kimberlain, RDN, says. It does this by reducing the absorption of starches and delaying gastric emptying (aka slowing down digestion). This is why proponents of ACV commonly suggest drinking it before or with a meal rather than after.
- It might be good for the gut. – Since apple cider vinegar is fermented, it contains gut-friendly bacteria. Eating fermented foods has been shown to enhance digestion and support a healthy and balanced microbiome. However, functional medicine doctor Amy Shah, M.D., tells mbg, “ACV can cause problems for digestion if you overuse it.”
Apple cider vinegar has been used medicinally for centuries and does have observed health benefits, including gut-friendly properties and antioxidants. Despite anecdotal claims about detoxifying and weight loss benefits, there’s little science to back it up. If someone is choosing to add ACV to their diet, it’s important that they dilute it with water and consider consulting a doctor if they have preexisting health conditions.
Epsom Salt Detox: What Are the Benefits?
Beyond “detoxing,” Epsom salt soaks have long been touted for their muscle-relaxing and sleep-inducing abilities, because of their high magnesium content. While there is a slew of scientific and FDA-approved uses for Epsom salts (for example, they’re ingestible for a laxative effect), there is almost no science that confirms Epsom salts-or specifically the magnesium found in them-aid in these kinds of home remedies.
Do detox diets offer any health benefits?
Detoxification (detox) diets are popular, but there is little evidence that they eliminate toxins from your body.
Specific detox diets vary but typically a period of fasting is followed by a strict diet of raw vegetables, fruit and fruit juices, and water. In addition, some detox diets advocate using herbs and other supplements along with colon cleansing (enemas) to empty the intestines.
Some people report feeling more focused and energetic during and after detox diets. However, there’s little evidence that detox diets actually remove toxins from the body. Indeed, the kidneys and liver are generally quite effective at filtering and eliminating most ingested toxins.
So why do so many people claim to feel better after detoxification? It may be due in part to the fact that a detox diet eliminates highly processed foods that have solid fats and added sugar. Simply avoiding these high-calorie low-nutrition foods for a few days may be part of why people feel better.
If you’re considering a detox diet, get the OK from your doctor first. It’s also important to consider possible side effects. Detox diets that severely limit protein or that require fasting, for example, can result in fatigue. Long-term fasting can result in vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Colon cleansing, which is often recommended as part of a detox plan, can cause cramping, bloating, nausea and vomiting. Dehydration also can be a concern.
Finally, keep in mind that fad diets aren’t a good long-term solution. For lasting results, your best bet is to eat a healthy diet based on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean sources of protein.
If you do choose to do a detox diet, you may want to use it as a way to jump-start making healthier food choices going forward every day.
What Experts Say
A detox diet is touted to remove toxins from the body. Experts agree that caring for our bodies with a balanced approach to food, along with adequate sleep and movement, supports our natural detoxification systems. Most often, detox diets are restrictive fad diets that can promote food fear.
They’re popular, but they aren’t proven to do what they say they’ll do: flush toxins out of your system. In fact, they may be risky and even backfire.