Diet Detoxes: Fact vs Fiction
'Detox' is a buzz word in the dieting world! The idea behind it is that we need to periodically detox to clear 'toxins' from our body to stay healthy. Detox diets can involve fasting, juice based diets, eating only fruit and vegetables or cutting out wheat and dairy. With so much talk in the media,
Fiction - liver detoxes are a healthy way to lose weight
Fact - Detox plans are often sold as weight loss plans, however, there is little scientific evidence to back up these claims. They may even prevent weight loss, as consuming too few calories can trigger your body to go into starvation mode meaning that it is even harder to lose weight.
Fiction - following a detox diet will help to reduce toxins in the body
Fact - If your body had lots of toxins in it, you would feel very ill, so your body is doing a good job of getting rid of toxins on its own. In actual fact, if you do a detox and restrict your calories too far, your body starts to produce chemicals called ketones which, in extreme cases, can cause nausea, weakness, light-headedness, and irritability.
Fiction - following a fruit and veg 'only' diet is good for you
Fact - Detox diets often claim that eating only fruit and veg will help cleanse your body. Of course, fruit and vegetables are an important part of a balanced diet and we should all eat at least five portions a day - with meals, as snacks and for desserts. They provide vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and dietary fibre, but not one fruit or vegetable can provide nutritional nirvana - it's the variety that counts and it would not be healthy to eat fruit and veg alone.
Fiction – In order to detox you need to cut out dairy and wheat
Fact - Those promoting detox diets often claim that to 'detoxify', the body needs to exclude foods such as wheat and dairy products. The reality is that these foods provide us with important nutrients. It is unnecessary and potentially harmful to exclude them from your diet. If you suspect you have a true allergy to milk, wheat, or any other food, the condition should be diagnosed by a qualified medical practitioner.
Fiction - a juice cleanse is a healthy way to reset your body
Fact - A juice cleanse, where you drink only juice for a number of days, is a common detox trend. However, it is not as healthy as some of these companies make out. Sugar in a liquid form tends to enter the bloodstream more quickly, so drinking a fruit juice actually raises your blood sugar more than eating the fruit itself!
Fiction - you need to buy detox products after over-indulging
Fact - There is no evidence that cleansing products can undo any damage that is caused by overindulging. While staying away from alcohol and following a healthy lifestyle can make us feel better, we don't need to buy any 'miracle' supplements to help with this.
FACT – There is no scientific evidence that suggests we need to detox
Of course, it makes sense to avoid excessive intakes of caffeine, alcohol and high-fat, high-sugar foods. However, if you want to maintain optimal health then the best approach is a balanced diet, with at least five portions of different fruit and vegetables a day; plenty of wholegrain cereals; lean meat, fish and alternatives and low fat dairy products. If you are looking to lose weight then consider reducing portion sizes, and don't forget to take plenty of exercise.
So in summary, there is no need to detox your body. Your body already has everything that it needs to detox: liver, gut, kidney, lungs, and skin. Your organs will do a better job of detoxing your body than any juice or supplement you can buy! Detox diets are marketing myths rather than nutritional reality. They sound like a great concept and it would be fabulous if they really delivered all that they promised! Unfortunately, many of the claims made by detox diet promoters are wild and exaggerated - it's best to stick to the sound, sensible, nutrition-based advice you will always get from qualified, registered nutritionists, like the team at Jane Plan.