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To Detox or Not to Detox?

Updated: May 17, 2023

New Year, New You!

I congratulate all of you that have set behavior goals to better yourself in the new year. Frequently, self-improvement focuses on improving health. This can make crash diets and “detoxification” sound appealing, to achieve health goals faster. Who doesn’t want to cross the finish line the fastest? These diets are marketed to help use lose weight faster, or “cleanse” our bodies. Unfortunately, when it comes to health, fastest is not always the best way to achieve our goals.

Why are Detox and crash diets unhealth?

These diets severely reduce calories, energy provided by food that allows our bodies to function. While this may promote weight loss in the short term, it is unsustainable as reducing the amount of calories reduces our energy too. Then, weight gain will happen when you start to provide adequate calories again. This then becomes a never-ending cycle of weight loss and gain and creates an unhealthy relationship with food. Not to mention, these diets can be unhealthy for your wallet-you will have to shell out extra money for unnecessary products!

Where’s the evidence?

The review of literature found that there have been no proven effects of detox diets working effectively in the body (1). The review concluded that research done on detox diets is flawed in methods and are only tested in small amounts of people. Additionally, other reviewed studies of detox diets and found that weight loss happened through caloric restriction and people gained the weight back once an adequate number of calories were incorporated again! (2)

How will my body detox if I don’t follow a diet?

Your body has its own natural detoxification process assisted by your organs. Just to list a few, the heart and kidneys work together by pumping the blood and filtering out waste products (3). The liver is another key player and changes the makeup of the toxins to make them harmless to the body and helps to balance the blood (4). Other key players include your lungs, lymphatic system, colon, and skin.

The Bottom Line

Be good to your body and it will be good to you! It is unnecessary to cut your body off from nutrients it needs, even if it is in the short term. Your body needs adequate nutrition to fuel all processes, including its own natural detoxification process. If you are looking for guidance in achieving your health goals this year, a Registered Dietitian is a great resource that can help you stay on track. Best Wishes to everyone in the new year!

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