Chances are, you’ve heard about detox diets, those special dietary regimens that promise to cleanse out your system and help you lose weight at the same time. Many of these diets are touted by celebrities and are popular on social media.
Are detox diets like the “Master Cleanse” helpful, or are the touted benefits just marketing hype? Most medical experts believe that virtually all of these diets are inadvisable. Here’s why:
- There’s no need to cleanse your colon. The body does not store toxic substances in the colon that lead to ill health and need to be cleaned out. This is a myth. The only time you need to clean out your colon is before a colonoscopy exam.
- Drinking too much liquid can be dangerous. There is no medical evidence that drinking excess fluids helps the body “flush out” toxins. In fact, if you drink too much water, it can interfere with the ability of your kidneys to properly balance the electrolytes in your body, which regulate nerve and muscle function. This can cause very dangerous problems including cardiac arrhythmias.
- The body already does a great job of eliminating toxins. Your liver and kidneys work constantly to eliminate waste and toxins from your body. It’s a well-developed system that is remarkably sophisticated and doesn’t require any outside help.
- Gas, diarrhea and lightheadedness are not healthy signs. Many people who undertake a “cleanse” or detox diet report disturbing symptoms. These are signs that the body is in distress, not getting healthier. Eating a varied, well-balanced diet every day is the best way to encourage better health.
- Detox diets lack critical nutrients. Your body needs a combination of fat, protein and carbohydrates to function properly. Going on a liquid diet, such as a juice cleanse, will starve your body of essential nutrients. It can also cause your metabolism to slow down. This is exactly the opposite of what you want when you are trying to lose weight.
If you really want to lose a few pounds and improve your health, there are better health options. Instead of fasting, try cleansing your diet of sugar-laden processed foods, unhealthy fats, fried foods, alcohol and other unhealthy choices, and replacing them with fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and lean protein. It’s a better way to lose weight and feel healthier overall. And unlike the latest fad diet, this strategy has been proven to work.
About Karen Fleming, NP
A graduate of Framingham State College and the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Karen Fleming has been involved in medicine for over 24 years and has been a Nurse Practitioner since 1995. Practicing in the department of Internal Medicine in Auburn, she works with a team of doctors and nurses helping patients with their urgent and chronic healthcare needs. She has enjoyed working in this role for over 12 years. One of the things Karen...View profile View posts by this doctor