A detox diet is meant to strengthen the organs involved in the detox : your skin, intestines, liver, lungs, kidneys and lymphatic system. Because of the nature of the detoxification process, it is also believed to promote the excretion of stored toxins within these organs as well. Advocates of the detox diet recommend many methods (many of which are very pleasant) to help you detoxify your system.
Types of Detox Diets
Colonic irrigation, bowel enemas, fasting, saunas, massages, and body brushing are all types of detoxes. Herbal supplements such as milk thistle, detox drinks, and liver tonics are recommended, as well as dietary changes, can also help promote cleansing toxins.
Advocates of the detox diet list many benefits. One of the main benefits is the thought that it prevents chronic diseases, such as arthritis, heart disease, and cancer. People who have tried the detox diet say that it improved former symptoms such as fatigue, joint pain, headache, unhealthy skin, poor concentration, anxiety, colds, heartburn, and gas. However, scientific evidence to support these claims are hard to find. Usually detox diets are recommended are part of a supervised treatment program for chronic diseases such as autoimmune deficiency, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, heart disease, and arthritis.
Again, there are many ways to help you detox. These range from the mild and pleasurable activities like saunas, massages and body brushing to the extreme and potentially unpleasant such as colonic irrigation, bowel enemas and fasting. Herbal supplements like milk thistle, detox drinks and ‘liver’ tonics are often recommended.
Dietary Changes to promote detoxification
Making dietary changes is a big part of most detox plans. The foods allowed in detox diet programs can vary widely between participants, but generally fruit, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, herbal teas, and lots of water is allowed. Usually foods such as wheat, dairy, meat, fish, eggs, caffeine, alcohol, salt, sugar, and processed foods aren’t allowed.
With these diets, there really is no scientific evidence to support that our bodies need help to remove waste products from our bodies if we’re healthy; furthermore, there’s even less evidence that the diets work. Most nutritionists and doctors maintain that our bodies are completely able to rid our bodies of waste without ‘detox-ing’. (After all, that’s what many of our organs such as the liver, kidneys, and skin are designed to do!)
In addition, following a detox diet for a prolonged amount of time can actually lead to nutrient deficiencies and other health problems. By eliminating dairy products from your diet, you’re removing a vast amount of calcium intake, and therefore can lead to osteoporosis or brittle bone disease later in life.
While these diets can help you lose weight it is usually because the calorie intake associated with such diets are very low. By cutting out major food groups you’ll dramatically reduce the number of calories while using liquids to replace those calories. While this can be a quick and relatively painless way to lose weight, prolonged use of this diet can lead to several complications due to dietary restrictions later in life, and that’s why it’s best to consult with a doctor or dietician before beginning a detox diet (or any diet) to make sure it’s safe.