Detox diets are baaack!

I dunno, I guess I don’t get this diet trend. My colon, clean or not, is doing just fine…thanks. And yet, since ancient times, people have followed colon-cleansing and “detoxifying” diets to lose weight and/or gain health. According to Andrea Giancoli, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, “These types of detox diets really aren’t necessary, and there really isn’t any scientific basis behind them to prove any kind of necessity.” – Phew! She goes on to explain, “In a healthy individual, we already have several detoxing mechanisms in place that are fantastic: Our liver, our kidneys, our digestive system, our lungs, etc., are our natural detoxifiers, so we don’t really need a so-called detox diet” [1].
Dr. Julie Temes Ellisa, an internist with Associates in Internal Medicine in Louisville agrees. While bowel regularity is extremely important, there are ways to alter the diet to achieve desired results. Adding more fiber and drinking more water come to mind (duh) [1].
As for weight loss, don’t let Beyonce be your guide. After following a cleansing diet consisting of fresh lemon juice, organic maple syrup, cayenne pepper, and water, the star boasts a 20-pound weight-loss. Just like the infamous “grapefruit diet” and “cabbage soup diet” — one will lose weight. That weight-loss, however, is only sustained if a normal intake is not re-initiated [1].
If not for weight loss, many seek colon-cleansing and detoxification to rid of gut bacteria. McClave explains that gut bacteria are important and beneficial for optimal health. He explains that without helpful gut bacteria, bad bacteria such as pseudomonas can cause illness. For those that believe colon-cleansing regimens to rid of stored alcohol and caffeine, do your research. Caffeine nor alcohol are stored in the body so there’s no need to “rid” of them [1].
And if you’re thinking, “I’ll give it a shot, what’s the worst that can happen?” — keep reading. Bowel-cleansing can result in electrolyte imbalance and put people at risk for cardiac dysrhythmias, muscle cramping, and dehydration. Further, many of these detox diets are very low-calorie diets (~600-800 calories/day) which can result in not only macronutrient deficiency, but micronutrient deficiency. Therefore, medical supervision is required when undertaking such regimens [1].
The DL on “MODERATE” Fasting.
There is researching showing that intermittent or moderate fasting (i.e. 1 day per week) can be beneficial. How? The body’s hunger cycle can be adjusted, the body can be made to be more insulin sensitive, and there can be an overall disease risk reduction.
But of course, if you’re serious about healthy living and weight loss/weight management, steer in the direction of balanced eating, portion control, and increasing exercise. Consumers should always be skeptical of regimens promising rapid results or easy weight loss. A safe weight loss is approximately 1 to 2 pounds per week.
Always remember, “If it sounds too good to be true, chances are it is.” – My Mama
Side note: I guess I need to get over myself, huh!? 😉 Or is the quiz broken and you all really think he’s a jerk to be traded in? ; ) Happy Friday, all!
[1]. Carter, Darla. Coming Clean: Detox Diets Are Back. Courier Journal. August 21, 2009.
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3 Comments

  1. Gina
    August 28, 2009 / 2:29 pm

    Thanks so much for this post. PEople ask me about detox diets a lot, and I always tell them that they are pointless, but never really have any proof to back it up. This post was very informative, and now I feel more confident with my answers. Thanks!

  2. eatingRD
    August 28, 2009 / 7:57 pm

    THANK YOU! I myself despise the word 'detox' and if I hear it one more time . . . haha It's just amazing to me what some people believe. Especially with the colon cleansing, it's like well if you want to flush out what you can just poop out yourself, along with the other risks involved, well be my guest. Thanks what an awesome post, I'm going to have to reference this one 🙂 happy friday!-kristen

  3. Kelly
    August 29, 2009 / 7:54 pm

    I used to hate it when people would come into the grocery store that I used to work at talking about their detox diet. We would always go through a TON of lemons in the spring. I would just smile and nod at them when they would tell me how fabulous it was and how it worked (none of which I asked hehe), but in my head I would think that is the stupidest thing I've ever heard.

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