The truth is that scientists do not yet have enough evidence to indicate that detox diets actually work.
After a period of food excess, detoxification diets are back in the spotlight. Those who feel they have eaten too much and now want to lose weight quickly or "cleanse" their body of toxins put all their best hopes in a detox diet, fresh juices that promise "miracles", supplements that sell fast results and other traps like these.
"The basic idea behind all detox diets is to temporarily eliminate certain foods or food groups, or to consume a specific food or supplement, to help cleanse toxins that accumulate in the body, toxins taken from our environment, due to our diet and lifestyle. This supposedly helps a person to lose weight and feel healthier”, Anna Dedenham, a practicing dietitian accredited by The Biting Truth, told The Huffington Post Australia.
"Because detox diets are very restrictive, people lose weight very easily. This leads them to believe that detox diets work, when in fact the results are simply due to a restriction in general energy consumption or the fact that they eliminated junk food and alcohol", says Alexandra Parker, another practicing dietitian accredited by The Biting Truth.
In reality, the human body is the only expert you can rely on when it comes to cleansing the body and removing toxins from the system. There are four main organs that deal with filtering toxins from the body and all four of them work perfectly for anyone who is in good health:
- Liver - filters toxic substances from food and prevents them from entering the bloodstream;
- Kidneys - constantly filter the blood and help you eliminate toxins from the body through urine;
- Lungs - by breathing, it helps you eliminate toxins from the body that enter it through viral channels;
- Colon - contains bacteria that can produce both healthy and unhealthy substances, so it is important to keep your digestive system in perfect condition to eliminate toxins in time by defecation.
3 reasons why the detox diet does not work
1) The human body has its own detoxification mechanisms
It is important to know that the sensations of bloating, fatigue, headaches and weight gain that you feel especially after the winter holidays or other extended parties, are not due to the accumulation of toxins, but rather to excessive alcohol consumption, high-fat foods or sugars, as well as reduced physical activity or lack of sleep, which are all very specific to these periods.
But the body has its own ways of cleansing accumulated toxins from pollutants, chemical additives and pesticides, and they are much more powerful than any supplements, cures or diets you might follow. As long as your kidneys, liver, lungs and digestive system are working well, you don't have to worry about accumulating toxins.
2) Detox diets produce a yo-yo effect
Such restrictive diets lead to rapid weight loss, but they come with some side effects that you should be aware of: the loss of a large amount of water in the body, and in the long run, the loss of muscle mass.
Detox diets do not provide enough calories and proteins for the body. The body learns to adapt to the new lifestyle: it reduces the metabolic rate, meaning that it begins to use fewer calories in rest mode, in order to maintain its vital functions, such as regulating temperature or breathing.
If you follow detox diets for too long, you will lose muscle mass, which again leads to a reduction in the metabolic rate. When you start eating as usual, you regain lost water, but now your body uses much less energy, which will bring you excess calories, which leads to an unwanted weight gain. This process is called the yo-yo effect.
3) It does not help you to acquire healthy eating habits in the long run
It is difficult to follow long-term detox diets for a number of reasons:
- they do not provide enough calories, proteins or fibers;
- they do not provide sufficient food variety;
- you do not feel pleasure in eating;
- you always feel hungry and lacking in energy;
- you can get vitamin deficiencies;
- you feel weak, dizzy, disoriented;
- you will feel nauseous.
In short, it is useless to try to lose weight temporarily, only to return to the old unhealthy eating habits after a certain period. It is best to change your eating regimen altogether to a proper one, and - even if it takes a while - the long-term results will be worth the effort.
The conclusion? The only diet worth investing money, time and energy in is a balanced diet: reduce the consumption of junk food, increase the intake of whole foods, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and make sure you exercise as often as possible.