Read This Before Starting a Detox or Cleanse

As much as people welcome warmer weather and the chance to be outdoors with fewer layers, the summer months may also cause anxiety for those who may have gained the “quarantine fifteen” and have yet to shed any added weight.  But before shelling out top dollar for detox or cleanse systems that promise weight loss, boundless energy, or clearer skin, it’s important to separate fact from fiction. 

According to a recent Cleveland Clinic Health Essentials post, our own bodies do a great job of breaking down toxins through the liver, kidneys, lungs, and gastrointestinal tract and eliminating them from the body.  The idea behind a detox or cleanse is to give the digestive system a break from breaking down solid foods, allowing it to heal and be better able to absorb nutrients when a regular diet is resumed.  But unless you have a medically diagnosed digestive disorder like Crohn’s disease, there is not enough evidence to suggest that a cleanse or a detox involving drinks like fruit and vegetable juices, soups or teas are beneficial. 

A detox diet may be low in calories and can result in decreased energy, gastrointestinal upset, and may disrupt blood glucose levels or metabolic rate.  If you decided to try a “detox” diet, talk with your doctor first and only do a short two or three-day program during a period of time when physical demands will be limited. 

While juicing may initially lead to weight loss due to calorie restriction, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, there is no compelling research to support the use of detox diets for weight loss or to eliminate toxins from the body.   They may even lead to weight gain once a person resumes their regular diet.   Learn more by following this link to the National Institutes of Health. 

A better approach to “cleansing” one’s digestive system may be to steer away from processed, high sugar, or fried foods and limiting alcohol and caffeine.  Focusing on healthy eating habits that are sustainable will lead to long-term health benefits that a detox can’t provide.  Nutritionists suggest eating a nutrient-rich diet that includes plenty of whole grains, fruits and vegetables as well as water as the beverage of choice.   Staying active, stopping smoking, and getting enough sleep can also help the body function at its best and over time, keep off unhealthy added weight.