Hyped as a means to remove harmful pollutants from the body and lose weight, cleanse and detox diets are all the rage. But despite their popularity, research has revealed that cleansing – especially via restricting intake and fasting – brings about unwanted side effects and weight re-gain after restoring a normal diet. These cleanses can be relatively healthy if approached cautiously, such as simply incorporating more fruits and vegetables into the diet. On the other hand, they can be darn right dangerous. Always bear in mind that most cleanses are dreamed up by individuals lacking nutrition credentials – and therefore should be reviewed carefully before trying.
Here are a few things to think about with cleansing:
- Excess energy intake – juice is a high caloric drink often incorporating much more fruit and vegetables than one could consume in whole form.
- Liquid meals cause lazy guts. Our gastrointestinal tract needs solid foods including those with fiber and protein to stay healthy and maintain integrity.
- Decreased satiety, liquid meals take longer for you to feel full causing cravings earlier, not to mention irritability from blood sugar spikes and falls.
- Our bodies remove toxins; it’s how we’ve survived for thousands of years. So there’s really not much of an incentive to detox via dieting.
The bottom line: There is no evidence that any of these “cleanse” diets enhance the bodies own detox mechanisms. Concentrate on fueling your body right, hydrating appropriately with low-sugar drinks, getting good sleep, and staying active. Take a moment to appreciate the remarkable way the body protects and cleanses itself safely and naturally, without any help from the outside.
By Liz Schneider, guest blogger and nutritionist