Detox diets, also referred to as cleanses, claim that toxins from food need to be eliminated routinely from our digestive systems. Most detox diets are meant for short-term use to flush or cleanse your system.
Detox diets may involve periods of fasting, only drinking fluids, eliminating certain foods, herbal supplements, or even the use of enemas to cleanse your colon. Some last one day, while others last for weeks.
Some people report feeling more focused and energetic during and after detox diets. This may be due to the fact that a detox diet usually eliminates highly processed foods that have solid fats and added sugar.
Often detox diets have a placebo effect where you might feel better because you think you’re doing something healthy, but avoiding high-calorie, low-nutrition foods for a few days may be part of the improved feeling.
Several detox diets claim to be a jump start to weight loss. Because of the drastic reduction in calories during detox, rapid weight loss can occur.
But colon cleansing, which is often part of a detox plan, can cause cramping, bloating, nausea and vomiting. Dehydration also can be a concern. And most people will rapidly regain any lost weight once the diet is over.
One of the biggest concerns of a detox diet is that it can result in vitamin and mineral deficiencies that alter the body’s natural balance, especially with electrolytes such as sodium and potassium, which can have long-term negative effects.
There is no real evidence that a detox diet is any better at getting rid of toxins than your body’s own natural defense mechanisms. The best path to health and wellness is still to eat a diet based on fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean sources of protein.
Anyone considering a detox diet should contact his or her physician first.