Detox cleanses! We have all heard of them, and some of us have even tried them. Fasting, juices and elimination of certain foods are all part of the detox diet. But can a detox cleanse really do what is claims to or are we being sucked into another gimmick?
What is a cleanse?
A cleanse or a detox is a short-term diet that claims to rid your body of harmful toxins. There are many different types of cleanses on the market today, although they are all designed to do the same thing and work in much the same way. They usually consist of a short time fasting followed by slowly introducing juices, fruits and other foods to fully rid your body of specific toxins. Some detox diets may include a tea, enema or herbal supplements. A detox diet claims to allow your organs to rest, rids toxins from the liver, promotes toxin removal through urine, faeces and sweat, improves circulation and gives the body the nutrients it really needs.
Common detox diets
There are so any ways to detox your body these days these include:
- Drinking only certain beverages
- Eliminating sugar, caffeine, alcohol and cigarettes
- Drinking and eating only fresh fruits and juices
- Taking supplements or herbs
- Avoiding allergic foods and slowly reintroducing them
- Regular exercise
Why would you do a detox?
Many people would perform a detox diet if they are exposed to pollution, heavy metals, chemicals or if they wish to eliminate a certain health concerns such as obesity, allergies, chronic fatigue, inflammation, digestive issues and autoimmune diseases.
Do they actually work?
At the present time, there is very little evidence to say that detox diets actually work, however there are many people out there that will claim that they do. The main goal of a detox diet is to rid your body of harmful toxins but most of these diets don’t actually tell you what toxins they are actually trying to eliminate. In fact, there is very little scientific evidence that proves these diets even work or that our bodies even need detoxifying. Our bodies and livers are actually very capable of removing harmful toxins itself, the liver performs this important action on a daily basis, another reason we may not really need to detox. A lot of people do say that after a detox they feel more energised and focused, this is more likely due to the fact that they are eliminating junk food, cigarettes, alcohol and other harmful substances from entering our bodies, rather than from the diet itself. There can be some detoxes that may actually do more harm than good such as overdosing on laxatives, diuretics and even water while some diets cause us to fast for too long of a period. There are also certain people who should stay clear of detox cleanses such as children, the elderly, pregnant or lactating women, people with blood sugar issues and medical conditions.
What should we be doing instead?
Since a detox is essentially removing harmful substances from the body such as refined sugars, alcohol, cigarettes and chemicals, avoiding or limiting these substances in the first place is really your best bet. You don’t have to completely eliminate these this but as always moderation is the key. Eating a well-balanced diet, quitting smoking, getting regular exercise and using precaution when dealing with chemicals and fumes are all important aspects too keeping your body healthy.
A detox can be a good way to help you to eliminate certain things from your diet, but don’t expect the diet to do exactly what it says it will. Most detoxes are not harmful to the body and if you want to it won’t hurt to give them a try. Until there is further evidence though, I will be sticking to my healthy eating and exercise routine.